I love one-pot meals. And I love brunch-ey meals. I wait for weekends for 2 things. More sleep and slightly- more-elaborate-than-cereal brunch or breakfast. Shubha, one our partners in crime when it comes to food and eating out kept mentioning Shakshouka to A and me every time we spoke of food. Which is everytime we meet :) She went to Turkey on a holiday and came back with more Shakshouka stories. I kept thinking that we should make it and postponed it quite a bit until I found a stunning recipe (In fact, the pictures were so inspiring. Go to her blog and see why ;)) at the Sassy Earl Grey blog. That. Was. It.
It's been raining gloriously in Bangalore this month. Rain makes me really, really happy. I love eating traditional, warm, spicy food during winters and the rain. And this recipe seemed to fit into our lives at the right time - a cloudy morning in July. Some of my best memories of my relationship with A have been around food. Sitting with him after a round of elaborate cooking and digging into hot food together.
A and I've totally lost the interest in setting up props and taking pictures and processing them and then posting them on the blog. We've been bitten by the Instagram and Twitter bug. We take pictures on our phones and post it on these social networks and get done with it. A lot of the times, we have people asking us for those recipes (I know, so celebrity-like :D) and we keep promising to write back. You know how that goes, don't you? So, we are making a conscious attempt to get back to everyone who's asked us for recipes. This happened via email for the last couple of weeks, and then I thought I should put it down here going forward. All over again, yes.
So, here it goes :)
Apart from what she asked, we had some cooked white beans that we added. I personally didn't like that too much. It interfered with everything else, I thought. But A seemed to be okay with it. We also didn't have tomato juice or Worcestershire sauce, so subbed it with home-made Marinara sauce. Worked beautifully! To make it heartier, maybe, I could add some greens or mushrooms to this mix. But I'm most keen on making this with Labneh. While I like Ricotta, it isn't easily available in India and I don't believe in buying imported cheeses all the time (+ not going to take the trouble to make it!) I've also realised that I love smooth, creamy cheeses as opposed to something slightly grainy like the Ricotta. As I write this, it strikes me that creamy Feta might be a good substitute too.
The dish looked SO beautiful that I didn't want to break those sunny eggs and ruin the look. I'm a huge fan of anything with tomatoes. Also a huge egg lover. This works well at so many levels. We didn't have bread to eat it with, but it works quite well without! I also took it to lunch a day later and I think it tasted way better. The tomatoes' sourness had mellowed down, the corn got sweeter and the Chipotle really kicked in.
Next experiment with the Shakshouka: use Mediterranean flavours. I'm sure a little Zatar here, a little Sumac there and lots of creamy Labneh will keep me and Shubha happy :) I think that's what makes this dish a winner - you can adapt, it's a one pot meal with one pot to wash and tastes better the next day! And can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The other big thing next time I make it is going to have friends around. People we love, lots of bread and a pot of Shakshouka to dig into. Nothing else spells comfort better than that for A and me.