Shakshuka is a staple dish in Israel that can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The meal is healthy and light, but somehow is also one of the greatest comfort foods in the world. This flavorful, easy-to-make dish has a tomato sauce base that can be tailored to any personal taste with eggs stewed right in the sauce. It can be topped with any mixture of cheeses, spices and fresh herbs, or just left plain. It should always be served with thick slices of fresh bread or pita for dipping. The flavorful sauce combines with the rich egg yolk to create a truly special dish.
Preparing shakshuka as a group made for the perfect event at the University of Rhode Island Hillel. The recent event began with the community Israeli emissary (shilchah), Tslil Reichman, sharing her favorite recipe for shakshuka, which included fresh onions, garlic, tomatoes and sweet red bell peppers combined with a mixture of spices, tomato paste and of course, eggs.
Right away, students jumped in and began chopping, sautéing, and cracking eggs to help out and create the meal we would all share. Jewish and non-Jewish students from all different walks of life came together in the Hillel kitchen to create something delicious to enjoy together. Everyone completed one small task that was vital to the success of the dish. Students who had never met before worked side by side and quickly became friends as they shared stories and laughed at their poor knife skills. Jokes were shared along with laughs and smiles.
Hillel is a place on campus where all students can feel safe, where they can enjoy new people, form new relationships and share cultures. Looking around the room, smelling the delicious shakshuka stewing away and listening to the sound of bubbly and excited conversation, my appreciation for Hillel and the community it fosters was once again renewed.
Everyone really enjoyed eating the finished product, but I think most of all, everyone enjoyed being a part of creating something with new people. New friendships were formed and students from different majors, pasts and backgrounds came together as a community to share and learn about the culture that brings us all together.
This is Tslil’s recipe:
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
½ cup water
1 can tomato paste
Basic spices (salt, pepper, cumin)
Hot sauce (optional)
Heat a medium pan with the oil in it.
Add the onion, chopped into very small pieces, to the hot pan along with the chopped garlic.
Add the chopped tomatoes to the onions, once the onions have turned golden. If you want the shakshuka to be spicy, add your favorite hot sauce or chili powder. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the hot water, tomato paste and spices. Cover pan and cook between 10 and 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add the eggs on top of the sauce and cover pan again. As soon as the egg whites turn white, the shakshuka is ready. Serve straight from the pan. You can add more ingredients for more people.
If you are interested in hosting a shakshuka evening in your home or for your organization, contact the Israeli emissary Tslil Reichman for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org
JOSEPHINE MAIDA a senior studying public relations and communication studies at the University of Rhode Island. The New Jersey native is the PR intern at Hillel.