The Maghreb region incorporates the northwest portion of Africa—Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Algeria and Mauritania. Shakshouka is a mainstay of the region—baked eggs over an onion and tomato sauce that's eaten for breakfast or supper—and has even made its way to Israel, where it's an extremely popular dish. The main ingredients for the dish are tomatoes, onions, garlic and eggs, and it differs from country to country, city to city, family to family. It can be as simple or extravagant as you like—I tailored this version to my tastes, but feel free to make it your own way!

Serves 4 to 6


  • 3/4 tsp. white cumin seeds
  • 1 link fresh chorizo, cut into a fine dice
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 red peppers, mix of hot and small sweet, or 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 whole large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. bread crumbs
  • Thick-cut toast, for serving


Preheat the broiler and place the oven rack on the second rung from the top.

Heat a 13-inch cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and dry toast until fragrant and a bit deeper in color. Add chorizo, bump the heat up a notch and lightly brown for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, sliced onions, peppers, saffron and paprika and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic, thyme and bay leaves and sauté another minute or 2, until the garlic is fragrant. Add in the thyme stems whole, let the leaves fall off and pull out the stems later. If you want to remove the leaves from the stems before adding, feel free to do so.

Now, add in the roughly chopped tomatoes (seeds and all!) and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened, much of the liquid has evaporated and the dish has taken on a thick, saucelike consistency.

Remove the thyme stems, if left in, and bay leaves. Add the chopped cilantro, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish; add back in the chorizo and adjust seasoning.

Carefully crack the eggs over the sauce so that the eggs are distributed evenly across the surface. Sprinkle the tops of the eggs with a bit of salt. In a small bowl, toss together bread crumbs and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle over the tomato and egg mixture. Cover the dish with foil and place under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove foil and place under broiler for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the bread crumbs are lightly toasted.

Garnish with remaining chopped cilantro and serve hot with thick-cut pieces of toast.

From Exotic Table: Flavors, Inspiration, and Recipes from Around the World—to Your Kitchen (Adams Media) by Aliya LeeKong.


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