Sunday, October 10, 2010

North African Shakshuka and Colombian arepas

I think I am becoming obsessed with Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi (and his crew). Every time I cook one of his recipes it turns out amazing, often leaving me confused as to how everyday ingredients can make something that tastes so good.

Today I decided to cook an exciting breakfast for us and my parents, who came to stay for the weekend. This resulted in the four of us sitting at the dinner table discussing how amazing and interesting Ottolenghi is.

The dish I went for was Shakshuka - a North African dish of onions, peppers, tomatoes and eggs with herbs and cayenne pepper, accompanied by arepas - Colombian maize patties.

The Shakshuka was really easy to make in one frying pan and it didn't seem to matter that I left the vegetables unattended for ages while I went and got changed. It was also really fun to make little wells in the vegetable mixture to break the eggs into before watching them slowly go white.

I predicted that arepas would be the perfect accompaniment to the Shakshuka. Me and Bailey have them almost every Saturday - they are really easy to make, the perfect hangover cure and really amazing with egg dishes. You can buy the "Areparina" arepa flour from Las Iguanas for £2 a bag and then you just have to add water, salt and pepper before forming into patties and sticking under the grill until toasty.

The final dish was absolutely scrumptious anyway. As usual with Ottolenghi stuff I couldn't believe how flavoursome the Shakshuka was, with a cayenne pepper kick to start the day out right, and the arepas were lovely with a few of the peppers and onions on top.

Recipe as I made it today (a couple of ingredients missing from the original, sorry Ottolenghi!):
Half a teaspoon of cumin seeds
90ml of oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced
1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 bayleaf
1 tablespoon of thyme
1 tablespoon of parsley
3 tomatoes
Half a tablespoon of cayenne pepper
A smallish glass of water
4 large eggs

Dry roast the cumin in a frying pan for 2 minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes. Add the peppers, sugar, bayleaf and herbs and cook on a high heat to get a nice colour. Add the tomatoes, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes, adding water to make it a saucy consistency. Taste it, and if it tastes awesome, then you are doing OK! Make four little spaces in the mixture and crack the eggs into the holes. Cover the pan and cook until the eggs are cooked. Serve immediately with delicious warm arepas.


  1. Ooh, I love arepas!! I've never had shakshuka before, but it looks like it goes perfectly with the arepas. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. Thanks kitchenkate! Yes it was really yummy and went perfectly with the arepa. It's super easy to make too.

  3. Ooh, we stayed in a guest-house on an island in Laos where they did amazing shakshuka about two years ago, i must have ate it four times a day for about a week, but never got it right when i came home. Will have to give this one a go.

  4. Hey Brian, it's a great recipe, good old Ottolenghi! Sounds like a good holiday if you get to eat Shakshuka every day!


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