The REAL Shakshuka


Thank you everyone for the kind words regarding my recent misfortune. You know what else? My sister got robbed today too – in a completely different part of town. She stepped out to see a movie (she has a newborn and it was the first time she actually had some time for herself). When she got back 2 hours later, her place had been ransacked – the diamond tennis bracelet I bought her for her wedding had been stolen along with other Jewelry. I got off relatively easy but today was not a banner day for the ck clan.

Anyhow, here’s a proper shakshuka recipe, the way my Mom Brakha makes it. So forget perfect measurements – be prepared to fly by the seat of your pants….

First, proper shakshuka is a pain in the ass to make, so if you’re going to make it, make a bunch. Take whatever’s extra and freeze it – it keeps really well in an airtight container. Now, I start off with a 4 quart saucepan, something like this. Shoshi loved shakshuka, so she would start off with an 8 quart saucepan. Whatever the case may be, fill it up 3/4 full with whole canned tomatoes – not diced, not pureed but whole. Pretentious cooks will tell you to start with fresh tomatoes, but that’s crap. This is peasant food, leave your pretentions at the door – you’re going to cook these babies to within an inch of their lives, no need to bother with fancy shmancy fresh tomatoes – unless of course tomatoes are cheap and in season. Then just dip them in boiling water to remove the skin. A standard 4 quart saucepan would require like 5-6 cans of tomatoes, or 15-20 fresh tomatoes to fill 3/4 of the way.

You need to drain most of the liquid from the tomatoes or else you’ll be cooking forever – watery shakshuka sucks, so don’t forget to drain! Once the drained tomatoes are in the saucepan, wash your hands and then squish all the tomatoes so that you are left with a pot full of uneven tomato chunks. The uneveness is what gives it its modest charm. Again, try to drain most, but not all of the excess liquid.

Now get a whole mess of fresh garlic cloves – remember the cardinal rule – there is no such thing as too much garlic. 2 whole cloves per quart ought to be fine. Peel the cloves and slice them into chunks. Don’t be a smart ass and try to use your garlic press – remember, chunks of garlic, not crushed garlic. And do not get anything other than fresh garlic – none of that stupid pre-peeled marinated garlic in Brakha’s kitchen…. Throw the garlic into the pot.

Hot!Next we need to add roasted peppers. See the pepper pictured here? I don’t know what kind it is, but that’s the kind you ought to get. If you’re a little wuss you may be tempted to substitute this pepper with green bell peppers. Don’t. Anyhow, you need about 1.5 peppers per quart so for a 4 quart saucepan, use 6 peppers. Place the peppers on a medium fire (electric elements works too) and turn it around untill it has flattened and lost its form, and the outside skin is darkened. Take the peppers and put them in a paper bag for like 20-30 minutes. Remove from the bag and carefully peel off what’s left of the outer skin. The bag thing makes this tedious process a little easier. Use a good German paring knife for best results.

Once the skin is peeled, scrape away as many of the seeds and stems as neccessary. The seeds and stems are what make the shakshuka hot and too many will overwhelm the delicate shakshuka yumminess, not enough and your shakshuka will be boring. Cut the peppers into strips 3/4 of an inch long and half an inch(ish) wide. Dump all the peppers into the pot.

Now add some olive oil. Remember, the shakshuka has to be shiny so be generous, but don’t go overboard. Do not bother with cold pressed extra virgin overpriced bullshit Spanish Italian olive oil – it would be wasted here. Finally, add salt and sweet paprika to taste and start cooking. Keep the fire at a medium heat and cook for several hours until most of the remaining liquid is gone. Don’t let it boil too much because it will splatter and make a mess. Brakha hates a mess.

Now you have the shakshuka base. We call it Salade Cuite (cooked salad). You take this enormous salade cuite and eat it with yummy challah during shabat. Cover the pot and refrigerate when not being eaten. Come Sunday morning, take what’s left and freeze some of it for later. Now, with what remains (still in the original pot it was made in, drop in a mess of eggs. Make sure not to break the yolk! Let the pot simmer under medium heat until the yolks start to lose a bit of their color and whiten at the edges. I like my shakshuka yolk a little runny but how runny is up to you – definitely do not overcook it. That’s yucky and boring. Once cooked, put the pot on the table and serve for brunch.

The whole shabbat thing is important because shakshuka is better if the salade cuite base is one or two days old. In that respect it ages well. Please note, one does not add pepper to salade cuite although you may add pepper to your shakshuka egg if you insist. Also note – no onions are used in this recipe. NO ONIONS!

That’s it. Brakha’s most excellent monster salade cuite. Enjoy, let me know how it turned out.

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ck

Publisher at Jewlicious
Founder of Jewlicious? Publisher? Man I hate titles. I coined the name Jewlicious and I slave over the site. I live in Jerusalem and I need to get some breakfast.
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52 Comments

  1. Kosher Eucharist » No dice, CK.

    11/1/2004 at 2:54 am

    [...] ive as a million hits, we’re not letting you in the door unless you bring us some of your mom’s shakshuka… Comments (0) Comments RSS feed for comments [...]

  2. Tiff

    10/28/2004 at 10:04 am

    Mom does NOT squish the tomatoes with her hands!!!! Also, i’m pretty sure that she doesn’t peel the chilli peppers but just slices them up real small. Most importantly, you forgot to tell people to wash their hands with loads of soap after handling the peppers….
    But whatever they’re probably using wussy bell peppers anyways….

    • Tig

      4/10/2011 at 9:38 pm

      LMAO Great post, Tiff!

    • ck

      4/11/2011 at 6:45 am

      she grills the peppers. No need to peel much, per se…

  3. Michael

    10/28/2004 at 10:10 am

    If both you and your sister got robbed, maybe it’s one of those cosmic things…still sucks, though.

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m totally making it once I have access to a kitchen where I don’t have to battle the red ants and inch-long roaches for dominance.

    And really, it’s true, there is no such thing as too much garlic. It reminds me of a funny story with my mom, actually. She had just made aliyah from the Soviet Union and was going to school at the Hebrew U. One of her roommates was a super JAP-y Southern California girl. One day my mom was cooking and chopping up garlic. The JAP comes in and goes, “Ooh, what’s that?” My mom says, “Garlic.” The JAP looks alarmed and says, “That’s not garlic!” My mom figures she could have been wrong since her English isn’t perfect, so she goes and looks it up in her dictionary. Sure enough, it was indeed garlic, and she reported back to the JAP. The JAP sniffed haughtily and said, “I know that’s not garlic, because garlic comes in a powder.”

    So, um, yes. Garlic rules.

  4. Velvel

    10/28/2004 at 11:00 am

    I saw Alton Brown’s episode of Good Eats that was about peppers. (Alton Brown is a mad-scientist guru chef who has a very entertaining TV show on the Food Network)

    The seeds may be hot, but all the heat comes from the membrane. That’s the white-ish parts that holds the seeds. The seeds should come out purely because they taste bitter. If you want less heat out of a hot pepper, scrape the membrane off.

  5. D'vorah

    10/28/2004 at 1:09 pm

    I have experienced the impossible! There actually is such a thing as too much garlic. (Is this a sign the world’s coming to an end?)

    My mom made a batch of babaganoush that had so much garlic it burned my mouth when I ate it… not that it stopped me from eating it – you can’t waste babaganoush…. but wow were my eyes watering and I didn’t go near anyone for a day after.

  6. T_M

    10/28/2004 at 1:23 pm

    D’vorah, you are right, and don’t let the people with bad breath tell you otherwise.

  7. ck

    10/28/2004 at 1:24 pm

    Tiff wrote: “Mom does NOT squish the tomatoes with her hands!!!!”
    -True, that’s an enhancement I came up with. You could alternatively poke the tomatoes with a wooden spoon – not as much fun though.

    And mom no longer peels the peppers now that I do not live at home because she doesn’t love you guys as much as me. When I was there, she peeled the peppers.

    Michael: You’re too funny

    Velvel: Thanks for the info!

    D’vorah: I am so glad you didn’t waste that Babaganoush ….

  8. D'vorah

    10/28/2004 at 1:34 pm

    A trick for the tomatoes… dump them from the can into a strainer to get rid of the main juice then pierce and press them lightly. Do this before putting them in the pot. Makes getting rid of the extra juice a lot easier.

    Worked that one out when I used to make the pasta sauce at my family’s restaurant.

  9. Janice

    10/28/2004 at 9:01 pm

    So sorry to hear that your sister got robbed also. Especially when she finally got out of the house where I’m sure she was going crazy from ongoing baby care. Been there.

    But please tell me, what is the relationship between a shakshuka and getting robbed? How did you make that segue? My only guess is that shakshuka is a kind of comfort food for you, and your sister too. So of course you should both have some!

    But ck, gotta get Mom to make it for you. It will be more effective in helping your recovery. :-)

  10. ck

    10/28/2004 at 11:29 pm

    You are so wise and insiteful Janice. Really.

  11. ck

    10/31/2004 at 2:36 am

    Oh… D’vorah – I just realized – your Mom’s babaganoush may have been wicked garlicy because she crushed the garlic. Something happens to garlic when it’s crushed – releases its flavor, or I don’t know what… but if you slice it and don’t crush it, you can definitely eat more and you seem to be spared the err… odiferous after effects of garlic consumption.

  12. D'vorah

    11/1/2004 at 1:53 pm

    CK… yah… if you crush/puree the garlic it will release it’s oils more readily into the dip… however, in this case, it was quantity. I did the same thing recently. Added enough garlic for double the amount of babaganoush I made.

    Oh well… I bought eggplant last night and I’m making a batch tonight… this time I’ll add garlic as I go instead of right at the beginning… anyone have fresh lavash?

  13. ck

    11/5/2004 at 2:05 pm

    Should be fine. Works well with most peppers.

  14. T_M

    11/5/2004 at 1:43 pm

    Okay, I went out and bought some peppers.

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  16. Seth

    3/13/2006 at 11:23 pm

    That’s an Anaheim pepper, one of the milder types. I mention it only for the benefit of other cooks who come upon this entry belatedly, as I did. Quite a resemblance to the Tex-Mex dish “Ox Eyes” or “Eggs in Hell”, but then again, there WOULD be a heavy Sephardi influence on Tex-Mex cooking, wouldn’t there?

  17. ck

    7/31/2006 at 7:58 pm

    Made a mess of shakshuka this shabbat and I used fresh tomatoes peeled by dipping in boiling water. This is a suitable alternative when tomatoes are in season and cheap. Just so y’all know.

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  21. anne greenberg

    2/9/2008 at 5:34 pm

    I was surfing the net trying to find a recipe for salade cuite when I came across your recipe. I have never had so much fun reading a recipe before. I’m going to tell all my friends about it so they can enjoy it too. I’m even going to try your reicpe even though that isn’t the one I was looking for. Thanks!

  22. Danielle

    2/19/2008 at 10:58 pm

    I LOVED reading your column about shakshuka! I am israeli, but a spoiled one… my mom always made shakshuka for me, or we just ate it in the army, or in the streets. Now that I live in Texas, i forgot how to make it until one day i had a yearning for it and couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to make it. You should write more recipes, i like your writing style. How about cheesecake next? Or rogalach?
    Sorry about getting robbed, although it was two years ago…

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  24. Eva Shamah

    6/1/2008 at 2:56 pm

    That is the best shakshuka. My family said it was up there with the best we had in Israel. Now can you come up with the recipe for the terrific Kosher le Pesach bread we had with it? I was told it was made with potato flour. I would love to reproduce that. Thanks for sharing and making it sound like so much fun.

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  26. Xzeyzqae

    7/6/2008 at 5:33 am

    good work man

  27. Ashley

    7/13/2008 at 4:06 am

    So, I lost my recipe for shakshuka – it was inside a cd cover (one of those world music specials that I had bought to conjure some of what I remember of Israel – while rehearsing a play about a couple in Meah Shearim). Seems the recipe is a moveable feast: my co-star is Israeli and USES ONIONS! Anyway, great fun reading your own version. While I write this mine is bubbling away WITH ONIONS and red pepers and jalapenos. My co-star said: ‘Only FRESH TOMOTOES!’ So, the RYE BREAD is waiting patiently, the family is still surfacing Sunday morning, and I have to get the table ready. Tw sows last night, so what a great recipe to wind down with.

  28. Ashley

    7/13/2008 at 4:07 am

    Ooops! That should have read: Two shows – not Tw Sows. And on a good Jewish blog…

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  32. Susan Conner

    4/4/2010 at 9:36 am

    Hi.
    I was just about to make shukshuka for my family, friends and husband. I haven’t made it in years. I learned from the cooks at the Hebrew University’s little restaurant as a student in the early 80′s. I also learned that on Kibbutz they called it Budgie and I was the Fish Pond Boy’s cook for about a year, and regularly made it for the guys.
    So….I will probably try your version, but in my traditional version, we used fresh tomatos, fresh green and red peppers, onions, and only powdered garlic, never fresh.

    As a person who loves fresh garlic, I look forward to testing your version. As a habit in our family, when there are two ways to make a delicious meal, I often make both and have every one taste test it for future reference.

    If you would like to know the results, I will let you know. I was invited to a Mayday celebration, so I will cook two pots up and see which goes faster!
    Thanks for your recipe.
    S.C.

  33. Aga

    4/9/2010 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks, I made it today and was delicious! :)

  34. Diana

    8/20/2010 at 2:44 am

    Here is a very recommended shakshuka recipe
    You must try this one!

    shakshuka.net/...

    • ck

      8/20/2010 at 4:59 am

      No offense Diana, but the recipe you linked to is terrible! It calls for tomato concentrate? Soup powder?? Sweet red peppers?? ONIONS!!?? That’s just spaghetti sauce with eggs in it. It’s not even spicy. I wouldn’t even serve that to Ashkenazim.

  35. Keli

    10/21/2010 at 5:25 am

    After spending 16 days in Israel this summer trying shakshuka first in a Cafe Cafe along the Dead Sea coast, and then everywhere else I could ending at Dr Shakshuka’s in Jafo, I came away with a craving for this dish. I spent 3 hours making your version last night and the smell through the house was heavenly. The taste is as good as my favourite version…it is now in the fridge awaiting weekend brunch where I will introduce my family to one of my fondest food memories.

  36. ck

    10/21/2010 at 6:22 am

    Thanks Kelli! I’m glad you are enjoying the yummy taste of authentic Shakshuka. As for the 3 hour process, well, I promise it gets easier. No way Brakha spends 3 hours making this AND all the other stuff she prepares for Shabbat!

  37. Pingback: I love you, Shakshuka

  38. madjya

    9/28/2011 at 11:28 pm

    Killer dish, havent had it since my great auntie used to make it ( more peppers less garlic LOTS of vodka to go with) looooooove your version THANKYOU!!!

  39. Matt

    12/29/2011 at 10:13 pm

    I loved this article and I cannot wait to try this dish prepared EXACTLY as you have outlined.

  40. Amy Plá

    2/21/2012 at 11:45 pm

    CK, love your style and humor. I can’t wait to try this and share it with my son. We love spicy food and I’m sure these ingredients will be superb! I’ll be sure to give you my feedback once I make this dish!

    Please keep cooking, testing and sharing your recipes.

  41. Joanna R

    6/11/2012 at 8:05 am

    CK you are so hysterical…You have the best sense of humor…Sarcasm! I am a huge foodie. Went to Israel for the 1st time for 40 days, and found the food to be some of the best in the world. I still crave the tahina and warm bread and amazing Abu Lafia and falafel. Oh my god, my mouth is watering now. So now I live in Thailand and will make this recipe this week. Can’t wait! By the way I work in a bakery here in Phuket, and the Thai people I work with love love love the rugelach I make. It’s so funny!

  42. Pingback: Israeli Shakshouka « miss meze

  43. required

    12/29/2012 at 10:31 am

    no, salt no , pepper, no cumin , no spices at all?

  44. Jessica

    2/6/2013 at 12:19 pm

    Hilariously written recipe! I am going to try to make this because I LOVE SHAKSHUKA! and this article. I especially appreciate humorous chefs like you, Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown!

  45. Dolsa

    2/24/2013 at 3:35 pm

    Juat came back from Israel where we had Shakshuka several times and many variations. One taste brought me back to my Sephardic childhood home and the early years of marriage. With a large group At “Hamotzi” in Jeruselem we ordered a version made with spinach – delish! Have not made this in tooooo many years. Will try your recipe – love your humor and writing style.

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  47. John Wayne

    8/31/2014 at 1:07 pm

    This is quite possibly the worst Shakshuka recipe ever. The author doesn’t even know what type of Peppers to use? Let me help you out there, they’re called Anaheim Peppers. If you’re going to make Shakshuka, don’t use this recipe. Try this instead: saveur.com/art...

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