Shaskuska – Persian Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Delicate, rich in flavours, a wonderful dish ready in minutes. The beauty of this recipe is there is enough sauce, for another meal. We usually have it for lunch two days in a row… How wonderful is that !
Once the tomato sauce is cooked and thick enough, you simply crack the eggs and insert them in the sauce.
The secret is cook the onions and red peppers until very tender. The second secret is to saute the spices with the vegetables so they can impart their wonderful aromas and flavours in the dish.
An easy mise-en-place for the dish. Pre-cut the vegetables and get everything ready to start your dish.

We first tried this dish at Ottolenghi in Notting Hill and what a discovery this was.
An elegant dish with so many complex flavours. The addition of Cumin and Paprika elevate the tomato sauce to another level. For us, it is one of the best Brunch dishes, to serve a crowd.

For the sauce –
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Medium size onion diced
1 Medium size red pepper, seeded and diced
1 Garlic Clove minced
1 Teaspoon ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon sweet Paprika
1 Teaspoon Korean Chilli Flakes – if not, a mild chilli powder will do
2 Small cans of chopped tomatoes
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 fresh eggs

Using a heavy base pot with a lid, heat the oil and saute the onion, until they become translucent. Add the red peppers and cook them until they are soft and start to brown. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes more. Add the cumin, paprika and chilli powder and saute for a minute.
Add the 2 cans of tomatoes plus the equivalent of a can of water.
Add the sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the sauce at medium heat for about 20 minutes, until it has reduced and thicken considerably.
After 20 minutes, create 4 indentations in the sauce and crack a fresh egg in each one.
Cover the pot with a lid and cook for another 6-7 minutes, if you wish for soft egg yolks. You can cook for 10 minutes for hard egg yolks. I prefer to have mine with running yolks so you can dunk a nice piece of bread in the sauce.
Serve with a piece of baguette and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp Chablis.

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