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Shakshouka with five cooked eggs on top of tomato sauce in cast iron skillet

Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎, also spelled shakshuka or chakchouka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and garlic, and commonly spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. The dish has existed in Mediterranean and the Maghreb for centuries.[1][2][3]


The word "Shakshouka" (Arabic: شَكْشُوكَةٌ‎) is Arabic slang (specifically Tunisian Arabic)[4] for "a mixture".[2][5][6][7] The word is derived from the Arabic verb شَكَّ translit. shakka, meaning "stick together, clump together, adhere or cohere".[8]


Individual portion of shakshouka
Tunisian Shakshouka served in a pan

Tomato-based stews were common throughout the Yemen, Ottoman Empire in Egypt, Syria, the Balkans and the Maghreb. These stews were called shakshouka in the Maghreb. The Ottoman dish şakşuka was originally a dish of cooked vegetables with minced meat or liver (ciġer). Tomato and chili peppers hot/sweet were introduced to the dish much later both having their origin to the Americas and meatless variations evolved. Jews in the Ottoman Maghreb served a pareve vegetarian variation and Tunisian Jews were known for creating spicy versions of egg shakshouka.[9]

The exact origins of the dish are disputed. According to The Jewish Chronicle, some food historians believe the dish spread to Spain and the greater Middle East from Ottoman Turkey.


Some variations of shakshouka can be made with lamb mince, toasted whole spices, yogurt and fresh herbs.[10] Others may include salty cheeses such as feta.[11][12] Spices can include ground coriander, caraway, paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper.[13][12]

In Israel, shakshouka is made with eggs which are commonly poached but can also be scrambled like the Turkish menemen.[14][9] A 1979 Israeli cookbook Bishul la-Gever ha-Meshuhrar includes a recipe for "Lufgania Shakshuka". This is shakshouka made with a kosher version of Spam (called loof) that was added to IDF army rations in the 1950s.[15]

According to food writer Claudia Roden, Tunisian cooks added artichoke hearts, potatoes and broad beans to the dish. Because eggs are the main ingredient, it is often on breakfast menus, but in Israel, it is also a popular evening meal,[11] and like hummus and falafel, is a national favorite.[16]

In Naples Italy, a variation of this dish is known as Uova in Purgatorio or "Eggs in Purgatory". "Taking its inspiration from Il culto delle anime del Purgatorio, the cult of the Souls of Purgatory...the eggs play the role of souls seeking purification, the sauce, that of the flames of purgatory." [17]

See also


  1. ^ Roden, Claudia (2008). The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 168. ISBN 9780307558565.
  2. ^ a b Ly, Linda (2015-03-20). The CSA Cookbook: No-Waste Recipes for Cooking Your Way Through a Community Supported Agriculture Box, Farmers' Market, Or Backyard Bounty. Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760347294. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  3. ^ Stafford, Alexandra (2017-04-04). Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves & Meals to Savor Every Slice. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. ISBN 9780553459845. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  4. ^ Ellis, Robin (2016-03-03). Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics: Delicious Dishes to Control or Avoid Diabetes. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 9781472136381. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  5. ^ Planet, Lonely (2017-03-01). The World's Best Superfoods. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781787010369. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  6. ^ Bilderback, Leslie (2015-09-01). Mug Meals: More Than 100 No-Fuss Ways to Make a Delicious Microwave Meal in Minutes. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781466875210. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  7. ^ Jakob, Ben. "How Shakshuka,, Took the World By Storm". Culture Trip. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  8. ^ Team, Almaany. "Translation and Meaning of Shakshouka In Arabic, English-Arabic Dictionary of  terms Page 1". (in Arabic). Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 17 Nov 2010, By Gil Marks
  10. ^ Gordon, Peter (2018-06-03). "Peter Gordon's lamb shakshouka recipe". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  11. ^ a b Clifford-smith, Stephanie (2011-06-07). "Three of a kind ... shakshouka". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  12. ^ a b Clark, Melissa. "Shakshuka With Feta Recipe". NYT Cooking. Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  13. ^ "Shakshouka Recipe - Tunisian Recipes". PBS Food. 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  14. ^ Artzeinu: An Israel Encounter, By Joel Lurie Grishaver, 2008
  15. ^ Raviv, Yael (November 2015). Falafel Nation: Cuisine and the Making of National Identity in Israel. University of Nebraska Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-8032-9023-5.
  16. ^ Josephs, Bernard (2009-10-08). "Shakshuka: Israel's hottest breakfast dish". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  17. ^ Topo, Giuseppe (2012-11-16). "Uova in Purgatorio". Napoli Unplugged. Retrieved 2019-04-23.