No, I am not about to discuss world politics or diplomatic relations. The other day, I found out that something I routinely make in my kitchen has its roots spread from India to Israel to Morocco to name a few. Only, I knew it as the simple Tomato-Egg Curry. It is also known as Bachelor Curry–apparently because this one pot meal is so easy to make that even bachelors, presumably with no cooking skills required, can make it with perfection! I cannot vouch for the etymology here, but really this is so simple that you can’t go wrong, even if you wanted to. And I was pleasantly surprised to know that something very similar to this called Shakshouka is a staple in Israel, Morocco and many other countries. Don’t you love the dishes with many avatars? …that are comfortable with their original identity that they can adapt with ease to become local favorites. Swap cilantro with parsley; ginger-garlic paste with sliced garlic; green chillies with any mild peppers you transform an Indian Tomato-Egg curry into Israeli Shakshouka. Its a swap from everyday fare to an international affair. Its a swap from comfort food to exotic meal (oh yes, it is on a weekday after work!) Shakshouka is traditionally made with no onions or parsley and served with pita. But I add onions to give body and sweetness, and serve it with rice–white or brown. Just try it and you will discover your own flair for this recipe!
Here is my take on this (to serve 4):
Tomatoes (preferably Roma)-4
Green chillies/Anaheim peppers-2
Cumin powder-1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder-1 teaspoon
Salt-1 teaspoon or to taste
Heat a pan with 2 tbsp of oil and while that is heating chop the onions and chillies. Add the onion and chillies to the pan. Sauté them until they turn translucent. Grate ginger and garlic into the pan and sauté until fragrant. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, chili powder, paprika, cumin powder, water and cover to cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat. Then crack one egg in a small bowl (to avoid any egg shells). Make a depression with your spoon in tomato-onion mixture and drop the egg in that depression. This is to make sure that the eggs do not spread all over, but remain in one spot so that it will be easy to scoop (or not fight) when serving. Repeat the same for the rest of the eggs. Cover the lid, reducing it to simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes until the yolks are firm. If you prefer the yolks runny, cook for only 5 minutes or until the whites just firm up. I prefer the yolks fully cooked, especially when serving with rice. Before serving sprinkle the chopped cilantro or parsley.
You can get even more creative by adding a pinch of Garam Masala or Za’atar spice on top of the eggs after cooked, or adding a combination of herbs for garnish. Mint might work quite well here.