Shakshouka means "a mixture" in Tunisian Arabic or other Maghrebi Arabic dialects. It is likely that it was first known as chakchouka, a Berber word meaning a vegetable ragout, although "shakshek" means "to shake", in Tunisian Arabic, Berber and Hebrew, giving a possible punic origin to the name of the dish.
Chakchouk is also a very common surname in Tunisia 
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. It has been said to challenge hummus and falafel as a national favourite, especially in the winter. According to some food historians, the dish was invented in the Ottoman Empire, spreading throughout the Middle East and Spain, where it is often served with spicy sausage. Another belief is that it hails from Yemen, where it is served with zhug, a hot green paste. Some versions include salty cheeses but traditional recipes are very basic, consisting merely of crushed tomatoes, hot peppers, garlic, salt, paprika, olive oil and poached eggs.
Shakshouka is similar to the Turkish dish menemen, and the Mexican breakfast dish huevos rancheros. Turkish cuisine has a similar dish with the same name, spelled şakşuka, which is more like a ratatouille. Shakshouka is also similar to Spanish pisto manchego, a traditional La Mancha dish from southeast Spain, usually also accompanied by a fried egg.