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

Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎, Hebrew: שקשוקה‎, also spelled shakshuka, chakchouka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, commonly spiced with cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. Although the dish has existed in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, its more recent egg and vegetable-based form originated in Tunisia.[1][2][3]


The word "Shakshouka" (Arabic: شَكْشُوكَةٌ‎) means "a mixture" in Arabic slang[2][4][5][6] specifically in Tunisian Arabic.[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 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 pepper were introduced to the dish later and meatless variations evolved. Jewish communities in the Ottoman Maghreb served a parve 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, while others think it originated in Morocco. A third theory is that it hails from Yemen, where it is served with sahawiq, a hot green paste.[10]

Although the dish is not native to the Levant, it was brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews as part of the mass Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim lands, where it has become a staple due to large Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan communities. In Israel, shakshouka is made with eggs which are commonly poached but can also be scrambled like the Turkish menemen.[11][9]

Shakshouka is a staple of Arab cuisine (Libyan, Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan, Egyptian, Saudi, and Levantine) and is traditionally served in a cast iron pan or tajine as in Morocco.


Some variations of shakshouka can be made with lamb mince, toasted whole spices, yogurt and fresh herbs.[12] Others may include salty cheeses such as feta.[13][14] Spices can include ground coriander, caraway, paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper.[15][14]

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.[16]

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,[13] and may challenge hummus and falafel as a national favourite, especially in the winter.[10]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Jakob, Ben. "How Shakshuka,, Took the World By Storm". Culture Trip. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  7. ^ 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.
  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. ^ a b 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.
  11. ^ Artzeinu: An Israel Encounter, By Joel Lurie Grishaver, 2008
  12. ^ Gordon, Peter (2018-06-03). "Peter Gordon's lamb shakshouka recipe". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ a b Clark, Melissa. "Shakshuka With Feta Recipe". NYT Cooking. Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  15. ^ "Shakshouka Recipe - Tunisian Recipes". PBS Food. 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  16. ^ 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.