My love for spices and inclination to Mediterranean cuisine will be very notable among the dishes that I’m going to share with you. There is something about the aroma of middle eastern spices that opens up the senses and the flavourful taste that it gives taking your imagination to the middle eastern local market setting.
As my first entry for Summayah’s Kitchen, I’m sharing with you one of my family’s favourite breakfast dish — the Chakchouka. This traditional northern African dish is staple in Algeria, Libya, Israel, Morocco and Tunisia and can simply be described as eggs pouched on top of a thick, rich, spiced stewed tomatoes. It was believed that from the latter is where this dish originated. I prefer the Tunisian version of Chakchouka for it’s simple, easy to grab ingredients, and of course, those green, red and yellow (when available) sweet peppers. I personally like sweet peppers (meaty ones in particular). They have this flavour that blends very well with Arabic spices. If you can spare more time in preparing this dish, I would highly recommend that you roast the peppers till the skin is totally burned, discard the skin and just use the meat. The smoky taste of the roasted peppers makes a wonder of difference in this already flavourful dish.
However, since most moms doesn’t have much of a luxury when it comes to time when prepping for the family’s first meal of the day, here now is my basic recipe for this colourful, appetizing, hearty breakfast dish:
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium size white onion – diced
1 large red sweet pepper / capsicum – julienned (preferably sliced a half-inch width)
1 large green sweet pepper / capsicum – julienned (preferably sliced a half-inch width)
1 large yellow sweet pepper / capsicum – julienned (preferably sliced a half-inch width) *optional
3 cloves of garlic – crushed, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon spanish paprika
400g canned chopped tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, make sure to use red, juicy ripe ones and allow more time simmering, gently pressing out the juice from the tomatoes, and gradually adding vegetable or chicken stock to make sure the sauce doesn’t dry out)
4 free range / organic eggs
Freshly baked Baguets or Toast
Heat the frying pan and add the oil over a medium heat and cook the onion for 2 minutes. Add the red, green (and yellow when available) peppers, garlic, and chili, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the tomatoes, cumin, paprika and salt. Mix well and simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes until thickened. Using the back of a spoon, make four indentations in the mixture and crack one egg into each. Cover the pan and simmer for five minutes in low heat until the eggs are set.
SERVE with crusty bread or lightly buttered whole grain toast on the side. Enjoy!