Craving something spicy? This easy Spicy Shakshuka recipe will hit the spot every time!
Everyone knows Shakshuka, but of course I have to add my own spin to mine – with a deliciously rich, sambal sauce! If you love eggs, tomatoes and all things spicy, then this Spicy Shakshuka recipe is for you.
What is Shakshuka
Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish that is delicious and easy-to-prepare. It’s a meal that is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is typically made with a base of tomato sauce, onions, bell peppers, and seasoned with spices such as cumin and paprika. Eggs are then cracked into the sauce and cooked until they are set to preference. A serving of bread is usually served for dipping.
Why will you LOVE this Spicy Shakshuka recipe?
- EASY & QUICK TO PREPARE, perfect for busy weeknights
- SPICY KICK adds excitement to the taste
- RICH IN FLAVOUR: Sure, you can add more chilli powder or paprika for heat, but using sambal or dried chilli paste instead will add such a deep, rich layer of spice to the dish
- COMFORT FOOD that can be enjoyed any time of day
- HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS with protein from eggs and vitamins from tomato sauce and veggies
What is Sambal?
Sambal is a spicy sauce that is a staple in Southeast Asia, namely in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. There are many variations of sambal, but what we’re used to here in Singapore and Malaysia are versions made with a base paste of dried chillies. To learn more about dried chilli paste and the basics of how to make it (it’s easier than you think!), make sure to bookmark my post on how to make dried chilli paste here.
The sambal dried chilli paste is made with dried chili peppers, and commonly ground or blended with alliums such as onions, garlic and ginger. There are many different variations of sambal, and it can be used as a condiment, or a cooking ingredient.
Alternatives to Sambal or Dried Chilli Paste
In this recipe, I used dried chilli paste, which is the raw form of sambal. Sambal refers to the final sauce product. You can easily find ready-made sambals in supermarkets these days and YES! you can most definitely use those instead. Some sambals may be labelled as sambal oelek, or sambal belacan. These will all work, but do not the ultimate flavour of the Shakshuka depends on the taste of the sambal too. If you’ve made some sambal at home (you really need to try my recipe for it), you can most certainly use those too.
Other rich spicy alternatives would be chilli oil or harissa. Otherwise, you can also just use chilli flakes, gochugaru, cayenne pepper or paprika. Not a fan of the spice at all? Then omit this ingredient!
Ingredients to make Spicy Shakshuka
- Olive oil
- Dried Chilli Paste or Sambal
- Red bell pepper (or capsicum): I consider this equally, if not a MORE important component of Shakshuka! Shakshuka just doesn’t taste right to me if there’s no added sweetness and flavour of the red capsicums.
- Garlic, minced
- Chilli Powder: This adds a lovely smoky flavour to the Shakshuka. You can also use smoked paprika or cayenne powder. Korean gochugaru chilli powder will work great too.
- Turmeric (optional)
- Canned tomatoes: I used canned chopped tomatoes, if using whole tomatoes, crush with hands before adding to the pan.
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Sugar: Sugar helps to cut on any tartness of the canned tomatoes and on any intense spice. I do not usually add sugar to my Shakshuka to cut down on sugar use overall. I also find the sweetness of the bell peppers are enough.
- Fresh herbs, chopped for garnish: I used some basil, freshly plucked from my garden. You can also use parsley or cilantro.
- Bread, for serving
Note: Always adjust the amounts of each ingredient to suit your personal preferences!
How to make Spicy Shakshuka
1. Stir Fry Sambal or Dried Chili Paste
In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the dried chilli paste and stir fry until fragrant and the paste has developed a deeper colour. The paste should also have emulsified, and is floating above the oil. This is also known as the oil-splitting process.
If using ready-made sambal, chilli oil, harissa, or any of your spicy sauce of choice, skip the oil splitting step, and immediately move on to the next step.
2. Make the Shakshuka Sauce
Add the onion and red bell pepper, and sauté until the onions has softened and turned translucent.
Add the tomato sauce, garlic, your spice combination of choice: I’m using cumin, chilli powder and turmeric. Stir until fragrant for about 30 seconds to allow the spices to bloom.
Add the crushed tomatoes next and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer the tomato sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened, or until it has your preferred consistency! I prefer to let it simmer for as long as I can (I would go clean up, do the dishes, prepare the serve ware meanwhile), for a richer sauce. The longer you let the tomatoes simmer, the richer the flavours will be. Optional, but I prefer a saucier sauce! I would add a cup of water or stock as well.
3. Poach the Eggs
Once you’re happy with the sauce, carefully create a well with your spatula in the sauce. Pour in the egg into the well. Use your spatula to keep the egg whites within the well if it’s overrunning into the rest of the sauce. Repeat for the rest of the eggs.
Cover the skillet and let the eggs cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
4. Serve with bread and EAT!
I kept my shakshuka simple by garnishing with some fresh basil, plucked from my garden. You can also use parsley or cilantro, or your fresh herb of choice.
To level this up even more, top with crumbled feta cheese or avocado.
Serve with bread, and eat!
What to Serve Spicy Shakshuka with?
Shakshuka is often served with some bread! Crusty bread, such as a baguette or sourdough, is the usual go-to, perfect for dipping into the shakshuka sauce and runny egg yolks. Other options include pita bread, naan, or even tortillas.
How to Air Fry Sliced Breadsticks?
I don’t always have fancy crusty bread, so I just use sliced bread! Want to make it crusty? Give it a quick toast, or toss it in the air fryer for a delicious crisp. The temperature and timing depends on the air fryer, personally I use and love this Air Fryer.
- Slice the bread into strips.
- Lay the strips in your air fryer basket. Air fry for 5 minutes at 160°C, or until preferred crisp.
More Recipes Like This
- Sambal Telur Pecah | Sunny Side Up Eggs Sambal
- Sambal Prawns
- Easy One-Pan Lasagna
- Spicy Bolognese Udon
Spicy Shakshuka (with sambal)Course: Recipes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried chilli paste/sambal
1 onion, chopped
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
400g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1-2 stalks of parsley, cilantro or basil, to garnish
bread of choice, to serve
- In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the dried chilli paste and stir fry until fragrant and the oil has split, or developed a deeper colour. If using ready-made sambal, chilli oil, or harissa, skip the oil splitting step, and immediately move to the next step.
- Add the onion and red bell pepper, and sauté until softened.
- Add the tomato sauce, garlic, cumin, chilli powder, turmeric smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer the tomato sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened, or until it has your preferred consistency.
- Create wells in the sauce and pour eggs individually into each well. Cover the skillet and let the eggs cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
- Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro and serve with crusty bread.