Chekchouka (Algerian Ratatouille)

Shakshouka

Chekchouka which means a mixture is a kind of tomatoey-egg ratatouille. It is a beloved summer dish in Algeria. As always, there are many variations of this dish not only in each region of Algeria but also in the neighboring countries, Morocco and Libya. But chekchouka actually originated in Tunisia, and has spread far wide to many countries in the maghreb region and even farther to Turkey, Israel and Yemen!

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 bell peppers sliced thick
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 4 garlic cloves diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large pan heat olive oil over medium high heat, and add bell peppers skin down. You want to char the skin so it will be easy to peel off. (This step can be skipped, but peeling the skin by charring gives the dish a smoother and smoky taste.)
  2. Once the bell peppers have charred enough (3-5 minutes) remove and let cool. Then gently remove the skin with a knife by scraping.
  3. Heat a bit more olive oil again to the pan over medium heat and saute the onions. Add a teaspoon of salt to help sweat the onions.
  4. When the tomatoes have sweated transparent add in the garlic, making sure the garlic does not brown as it would result in a bitter aftertaste.
  5. Add tomatoes to create a sauce. Then once the tomatoes have been broken down add back in the bell peppers.
  6. At this time you will begin to spice the mixture with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. Adjust at will, my husband likes it a deep red in color and spicy, so please add more or less.
  7. Mix and continue cooking for 35-45 minutes. Simmer over medium-low heat.
  8. Crack open eggs over mixture, salt eggs lightly and cover.
  9. Once the eggs have been poached thoroughly serve with warm bread.

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