As someone who grew up in Israel, Ksenia often prepares Middle Eastern-Israeli cuisine such as hummus, pizza-malawah and shashouka. “Between us, it’s also much easier to prepare,” Ksenia says with a smile.
Ingredients for Eggplant Shakshouka
- 1 eggplant medium-sized, cut into ½-inch (1 cm) cubes
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion large, finely chopped
- 4 tomatoes large, or 28-ounce/ 800 gram can of tomatoes, cut into ½-inch (1cm) cubes
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon Salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried chili pepper or ½ fresh jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
- 4 egg
- ½ lemon juiced
- handfull parsley finely chopped (or to taste)
1. Place diced eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let it drain for 15 minutes. Rinse lightly and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Heat a large deep skillet over a medium heat, preferably non-stick or enamel-coated. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and the chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes. reduce to medium-low heat and cook for 5 minutes, until golden.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and the diced eggplant and fry for several minutes, until all the oil has been soaked up. Make sure they’re not over-crowded in the skillet, which will result in an uneven browning. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and toss the eggplant to coat. Fry until golden brown, occasionally stirring, for about 10 minutes.
4. Add the diced tomatoes and cook over medium heat while occasionally stirring, until the tomatoes have broken down into a chunky sauce about 15 - 25 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, salt, sugar, and spices and mix well.
5. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, create wells for the eggs in the sauce. Pour the eggs, one into each nest (as is or lightly scrambled), cover and cook over medium heat 8- 10 minutes. Test for doneness after 8 minutes: the shakshuka is ready when the egg whites are set and the yolk is still a little jiggly.
6. Add the lemon juice, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve immediately along with plain yogurt and crusty bread. Don't forget to sop up the sauce when you're done.
Tips and variations:
Traditionally, eggs are simply poured into the shakshuka sauce, one egg in each well, but some people, included Ksenia, prefer the eggs scrambled separately, and then lightly mixed with sauce in their little nests. “If you’re unsure of your preference, I recommend trying both methods”, says Ksenia.
For a vegan option: substitute the eggs with extra firm tofu diced into 1-inch (2½ cm) cubes, then crumbled with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir the tofu crumbles into the sauce as you would the eggs.