Shakshuka (Eggs In Hell)

Breakfast + Savory
January 25, 2016
Breakfast + Savory
January 25, 2016

Shakshuka (Eggs In Hell)

What is shakshuka? When I was 20, I worked at a Turkish-inspired restaurant right outside of Boston. It was there that I

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Shakshuka (Eggs In Hell)

shakshuka (eggs in hell) in a cast iron skillet

What is shakshuka?

When I was 20, I worked at a Turkish-inspired restaurant right outside of Boston. It was there that I learned my love of spices. Specifically, Middle-Eastern spices. Paprika, cumin, sumac, and cardamom. Aleppo,  cinnamon, sesame, and baharat. Each different in its flavor and intensity, but each equally delicious.

Though I love more simplistic dishes, for me these spices bring a plate to the next level. They taste like they’re deeply rooted in the past — to a culture that existed thousands of years before now. One dish that I especially fell in love with was shakshuka, a Turkish breakfast of eggs poached in a spiced tomato sauce. The sauce is flavorful enough to eat on its own, spiced with cumin, paprika, and red pepper.

The restaurant I worked at served it with zhoug, a sort of Middle-Eastern pesto made with cilantro, parsley, and green chili. It was the perfect accompaniment to the warm flavors of the shakshuka. I decided to make my version of shakshuka with fresh Sunset Campari tomatoes. They add a wonderful freshness, as well as a gorgeous red color, to the dish. They’re really such a versatile tomato — you can really do anything with them!

shakshuka (eggs in hell) in a cast iron skillet

How to make shakshuka

Shakshuka is one of those dishes that looks super fancy, but it’s actually insanely easy to make. It takes a little under an hour to make, but that’s because you have to bake the eggs in the oven! To make shakshuka, you have to:

Peel the tomatoes — The trick to peeling canned whole tomatoes is to drop them into a pot of boiling water. The water will loosen the skins, and you’ll be able to remove them easily with a fork. Be careful not to burn yourself while doing this!

Make the spiced tomato sauce — To make the tomato sauce base, you have to sauté onion, garlic, Turkish seasoning, paprika, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper until golden brown. Then, squeeze the tomatoes with your hands and add them into the skillet (this feels oddly therapeutic to me). Cook the mixture for 10 minutes, and then transfer everything to a blender and blend until smooth.

Bake the eggs — Pour the pureed tomato sauce into a cast iron skillet, and then use a spoon to make three wells in the sauce. Crack an egg into each well, then bake until the egg whites are fully cooked (the yolks should still be fairly runny).

Top with homemade zhoug — Technically, the zhoug is optional, but it really transforms the shakshuka! To make the zhoug, toss everything into the blender you used before and puree until smooth. Once you pull your Eggs in Hell out of the oven, drizzle the zhoug on top and dig in! shakshuka (eggs in hell) in a cast iron skillet with bread slices

As for the alternative name “eggs in hell,” how fun is that? I like a little danger with my food 🙂

Happy Monday!


Shakshuka {Eggs In Hell}

4 from 1 review


For the shakshuka

  • 1.5 pounds Campari tomatoes
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Turkish seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • pinch black pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 slices toast, for serving

For the zhoug

  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon zatar
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste


  1. Heat water in a medium pot over high heat so it boils. Wash the tomatoes and score the bottoms with a small ‘x’. Place the tomatoes 4-5 at a time into the boiling water for 15-20 seconds, then remove immediately and peel off the tomato skins (they should come right off). Repeat with remaining tomatoes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Sautee the onion, garlic, Turkish seasoning, paprika, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper until golden brown. Using your hands, squeeze the tomatoes into the sauce, breaking them apart. Cook everything for 10 minutes over medium low heat.
  4. Once cooked, place the mixture into a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Pour into a medium caste iron skillet.
  5. Make three indentations in the tomato mixture with the back of a spoon, then crack eggs into the holes. Place the skillet into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the egg whites are fully white.
  6. While the eggs are baking, make the zhoug. Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth.
  7. Once the eggs are cooked, top with zhoug and serve with toast!

This post has been graciously sponsored by Sunset Grown. All opinions are 100% my own!

More Middle Eastern recipes from Broma Bakery:

Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread 

Hazelnut Chocolate Baklava 

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip) 

Persian Love Cake (Cardamom, Rose & Almond Cake) 

Homemade Chocolate Babka

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  1. Shakshuka has been on my list to make for the longest time, and I keep not getting round to it! This week will be the week – after seeing this I can’t wait any longer haha! We have an abundance of fresh tomatoes around here at the moment so this recipe is perfect. I am totally with you on the spices – we went to Turkey last year and the spice markets were just INSANE – I absolutely loved it and can’t go past middle-eastern food. Love the zhoug that you added to your shakshuka too!

  2. Since my grocery store is lacking in the spices department and I’m too late to order from Penzey’s like I normally do- do you have a recommended substitute or spices I should look for to mix together for the Turkish seasoning in case they don’t stock it?