This North African egg dish seems to be the one that most people conjure up when they think of a Middle Eastern breakfast. The appeal is obvious: fiery tomato sauce with eggs poached in it, the whites just set and the yolks still runny, oozing into the sauce as you pierce them with or spoon or better yet, with a piece of bread.

Serves 4 for breakfast

  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (or a touch more, if spicy is your thing)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2½ tsp caraway seeds, roughly ground or chopped 
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 15 cloves of garlic (this is no mistake, I do mean 15), crushed
  • 200g tomato purée
  • 50g/ml lemon juice (juice of 1 large lemon)
  • 550g/ml water
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 small bunch of coriander, chopped
  • Some bread to serve


Mix the spices together in a small bowl. Put the oil and crushed garlic in a large, wide frying pan, set on a high heat and fry the garlic, stirring constantly, until a fragrant smell emerges. This will take about 2 minutes. Add the spices, mix well and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato purée and continue stirring as it cooks for 2 minutes or until the purée starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the lemon juice in one go; it will sizzle a little, so watch out. Stir to combine and then add the water. Stir again and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes before mixing in the salt and sugar. Taste to see if you want to add another pinch of cayenne pepper or a little squeeze of lemon – this sauce should hit all the right notes: sweet, sour, salty and spicy.

Once you are happy with the sauce, break the eggs directly into it, leaving a little space between each one, so that you can later pick out one egg at a time without breaking the yolk of any of the others. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and leave to cook for 3 minutes until the whites are fully set but the yolks are still runny and soft. Remove the lid, sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with the bread.

You can make shakshuka for a smaller number if you are feeding one, two or three. We always allow two eggs per person. You can also make the sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. It freezes well too, so you could make a large batch and freeze it for future use; just remember to re-boil the sauce before you add the eggs.


This recipe can be found in our book Honey & Co The Baking Book



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