North African food: Chakchouka


Writing about North African food a few weeks ago made me hungry.



So I made chakchouka. And it was delicious.



Here’s my speeded-up American version of the Tunisian recipe:



  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan.

  • Add chopped sweet peppers, onion, tomato, etc.: about two or three cups’ worth. Also some garlic. Also some salt and pepper. Also something hot: a can of chopped green chilies, a finely diced jalapeno pepper, or (if you have some) a teaspoon of Tunisian harissa. (Actually, Partner and I have been using Ro-Tel tomatoes lately, and I have to say that they’re pretty good, so you could add a can of those.)  Lacking any of the above, add a tablespoon or so of goyishe hot sauce.

  • Saute the above for about five minutes, until the onions are translucent.

  • Add about a cup of storebought marinara sauce, or a small can of tomato sauce, and allow to cook for about another five minutes.

  • Now: carefully break three eggs into the simmering sauce. Don’t mix them in; just let them insinuate themselves into the mixture.

  • Reduce the heat, cover, and let the eggs poach in the vegetable/sauce mixture for about ten minutes. Check from time to time for over/undercooking. Spoon a little of the sauce onto the eggs. Try not to break the yolks, but it’s okay if you do.

  • Prepare and eat a green salad while you’re waiting for the eggs to poach. (This is a very civilized recipe; it allows you to dine while cooking.)

  • When the eggs are cooked, serve your chakchouka piping hot, with a fresh loaf of French or Italian bread for dunking.  (In North Africa, the bread is actually the eating utensil.)



See how nice?



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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