My shakshuka is very non-traditional. I’m not even sure I can call it a shakshuka.
I am on the Wahls Protocol as I feel it’s the best way to manage my condition. The recipes below are based on the principals recommended in the book.
The shakshuka I make has a variety of fresh vegetables in it to get a lot of good nutrients in there. I make it using whatever I have available. It doesn’t always taste the same. It’s sort of an improvisational thing and that seems to work out as I’m consistent with the preparation.
Shakshuka – A Brief Background
A shakshuka is a dish native to North Africa and Israel (that I first heard of on ‘In Search Of Israeli Cuisine’).
Traditionally a shakshuka consists of eggs poached in a spicy sauce of tomatoes and other vegetables.
Improvising On A Shakshuka
I think as long as we keep some basic principals in mind, we can ad-lib.
#1: It should be a little spicy.
#2: It should contain poached eggs.
#3: Ideally, we should use tomatoes. If none are available, keep in mind that we’ll have to add some liquid so stuff doesn’t burn. This will also allow us to poach the eggs properly.
Beyond these 3 basic ideas, I improvise based on what I have around. I get my vegetables delivered from Mama Earth supplemented with deliveries from Instacart. Sometimes, however, I find myself without all the right ingredients.
My Best Shakshuka
If I have tomatoes, this is what I make. If you know me, you know I’m too lazy to follow a recipe. Measurements are approximate. You may have to make adjustments based on your tastes.
3 tbsps. coconut oil
2 tsps. paprika (smoke paprika preferred)
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. turmeric
2 cups sulfur rich veg. (garlic, red onions, shallots, mushrooms)
2 c. spinach
1 c. tomatoes (red beefsteak preferred)
1 c. coloured veg. (carrots, beets, cabbage, broccoli)
4 large eggs
To save from fumbling around as I tend to do if I’m rushed, I quickly prepare the ingredients (if they haven’t already been prepped and stored in the fridge).
I usually start by washing the spinach. I put it to strain while I go ahead with the rest.
Crack the eggs and put them in a bowl. Remember, you will be poaching these so you want the yolks intact. With my manual dexterity issues, I find cracking them on my cutting board or on the flat counter gives me the best control and I rarely break the yolk.
Chop the tomatoes (into quarters if they’re big enough).
I put the garlic, onions, and mushrooms into a bowl.
I have a small bowl where I put the spices and mix them. If you have your spice pre-made, that would be ideal.
Put a stainless steel/cast iron skillet on low and put in your coconut oil. As my prep work is done, I tend to do some clean up while I let the pan warm up.
Toss in the garlic, onions, and mushrooms, stir and let those caramelize which may take 30 seconds to a minute.
Add in your spices. Stir to coat your ingredients.
Put in your tomatoes and cover. Let condensation do its thing. The tomatoes have a lot of juice in them with will help add lots of liquid to the dish. This usually takes about 15 minutes for the tomatoes to cook down. You want to wait until they’re pretty much just skins and you have plenty of liquid in there.
Add in your spinach, mix, and cover. Let this cooked for 30 seconds to a minute. You want the spinach green, but not soggy and limp.
Get a spoon, and make a pocket. Drop 1 egg yolk in there with some albumen (egg white). Repeat this process for as many eggs as you have. You want the eggs spread out, so try and space the pockets out evenly.
Cover. Let the eggs poach. This takes 2 to 4 minutes, but it depends on how you like your eggs.
That’s it! I find this usually gets me through 2 meals.
Substitutions And Other Options
I love to experiment as I get different vegetables every week. Here are my favourite optional ingredients.
If I don’t have tomatoes (or if you don’t eat them), I just double up on my coloured vegetables. I may add spaghetti squash (which is a bit watery and works well).
As for greens, spinach is my preference, but kale works great too as do collard greens. Beet greens and swiss chard can be used, but these will change the flavour a bit and you may have to add more spice (or not).
Recently, I stumbled on a cool trick. Before I put in my eggs, I add in the juice of one lime (about 1/2 c.). If you think your dish may be too spicy, this is a great way to balance things out.
Go ahead and try this out and let me know what you come up with! Are you on the Wahls Protocol too? Let me know how it’s going.