Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة, also spelled shakshuka, chakchouka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin. Although the dish has existed in some form or another in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, its more recent egg and vegetable-based form originated in Tunisia. It is popular in the Middle East and North Africa. A version of the dish without egg, known as galayet bandora, is very popular in Jordan and Israel. Gelayat bandora originated in Jordan, specifically in the Ghor al-Safi agricultural region surrounding the Dead Sea.
The word Shakshouka (Arabic: شَكْشُوكَةٌ) means "a mixture" in Arabic slang specifically in Tunisian Arabic. The word is derived from the Arabic verb شَكَّ translit. shakka, meaning "stick together, clump together, adhere or cohere".
Shakshouka is a staple of Arab cuisine (Libyan, Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan, Egyptian, Saudi, Levantine) and Israeli cuisines, traditionally served in a cast iron pan or tajine as in Morocco with bread to sop up the tomato sauce.
Although the dish is not native to the Levant, it was brought to Israel by Maghrebi Jews as part of the mass Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim lands, where it has become a staple due to Israel's large Tunisian Jewish, Algerian Jewish and Moroccan Jewish communities.
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, and may 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 Sahawiq, 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.
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