Turkish eggs

There are some dishes that many countries consider their own, and this is reflected in the name. For example, my favourite cake—one I have yet to attempt to make—is known as Međimurska gibanica in Croatia; the name loosely translates to “cake from Međimurje,” and Međimurje is a region in Croatia. Across the border, in Slovenia, it is known as Prekmurska gibanica; the name translates to “cake from Prekmurje,” and Prekmurje is a region in Slovenia. Same cake, different name.

The dish I made tonight is similarly confused about its identity: I found it in an Australian cookbook under the name Turkish eggs; virtually the same dish is called Shakshouka in an Israeli cookbook I own; my Greek friend also knows it, presumably under a different name.

But let us be pragmatic.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

This is an egg-based dish, and as with all good dishes, two points are important: 1) the devil is in the detail (i.e., spices) and 2) the dish needs time for the flavours to mingle.

The recipe is adapted from the Women’s weekly cookbook Fast Fresh Vegetarian (a very nice cookbook, by the way).

Ingredients (serves 6 to 8)

Tomato sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
5 small onions, sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 dried tomatoes
2 red peppers, sliced thinly
1 chilli pepper, including the seeds
2 cans of diced tomato
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
8 large eggs

Yogurt sauce

2 tubs greek yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
parsley and pomegranate seeds, for decoration

Bread, to serve

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat; add the onion and a good pinch of salt, and cook for about 5 min, or until onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Make a small well in the centre and add the garlic. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and fry the garlic for a couple of minutes, being careful that it does not burn. Mix the garlic with the onions.
  3. Make a small well in the centre and add the tomato paste. Fry for a couple of minutes and mix with the onion and garlic.
  4. Add the dried tomatoes, red peppers, chilli, and the spices and fry for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes and season to taste. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the flavours had a chance to mingle.
  6. For the yogurt sauce, combine yogurt and garlic in a small bowl; season to taste.
  7. Make eight small indents in the tomato mixture with the back of a spoon. Slide one egg into each indent. Cook, covered, over medium heat 6 minutes or until the egg whites are set.
  8. Serve with garlic yogurt and bread.

Not the sexiest dish to take a photo, but very tasty.

The pomegranate seeds look like little jewels.

The pomegranate seeds look like little jewels.

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