Shakshouka, by Cynthia Graber, inspired by and adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem recipe

4 eggs/dinner for two

This recipe is made in about a 10-inch cast iron or carbon steel pan on the stove. It can easily be scaled up to six eggs, or to eight, just by increasing the ingredients and cooking it in a 12-inch pan instead. If you do increase it, make sure to use two cans of tomatoes so that there’s enough liquid in the sauce that it doesn’t burn while you’re cooking the eggs.


  • Olive oil

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced

  • 1 tsp cumin (powdered or, if Burlap and Barrel, whole small seeds)

  • 2 tsp coriander powder (or, if you’re like me and love it, closer to 3 tsp/1 Tbsp)

  • 1 tsp of harissa paste (more or less, depending on how spicy your particular harissa is and how spicy you like things)

    *One note about the harissa: the sauce will taste a bit spicier than the final dish, because it’ll get somewhat muted by the egg.

  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional)

  • 1 14-oz can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes

  • 4 eggs

  • Salt

  • Feta or labneh as an accompaniment, optional


Put the stove on medium.

Pour a good-sized glug of olive oil in the pan (1-2 tbps), and fry the onion for about 10 minutes until it’s soft and starts to brown.

Add the chopped garlic and sliced red peppers, and sauté for about 5 more minutes until the peppers are soft and also start to char.

Add the cumin and coriander and fry with the vegetables for about a minute.

Add the tomato paste, the harissa, and the can of tomatoes. Make sure everything is well mixed,  and bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste.

When it starts to boil and you’ve adjusted the taste, press the back of spoons to create four divots for the eggs (don’t worry if they overflow the divots, which they will, it just helps keep the yolks separate). Crack the eggs and pour one into each divot. There will be egg white all around the top of the dish, but do try to keep the sauce high on the sides so you don’t end up with too much egg against the side of the pan.

Cover the pan, ideally with a glass top so you can keep close watch on the egg.

This is the more challenging part—it should take about 5 minutes for the eggs to set but the yolks to still be runny. Many stovetops and pans have hot spots and cooler spots, so you might see one egg cooking faster than another. If so, move the pan around to make sure they’re cooking evenly.

When the whites are set, spoon one or two eggs with plenty of sauce onto each plate. Pass around crumbled feta or labneh if you want a topping (I usually don’t bother, but they’re lovely to have). Toast a piece of bread for each person. Add more salt at the table if necessary, and enjoy!

(If you have leftover sauce, just put it in the fridge and enjoy it another day over grains, maybe with some beans or a fried egg!)