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Halloumi & Aubergine Shakshouka

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

As a chef, I highly recommend trying my delicious version of Shakshouka. Traditionally a North African and Middle Eastern dish, my recipe swaps eggs for halloumi cheese and adds grilled vegetables marinated in the delicious Ras el Hanout spice blend. The light and flavourful result is perfect for a main course with your choice of flatbread. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you. So, why not enjoy cooking and give it a go?

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Halloumi Shakshouka, overhead photography, cast iron dish

What is Shakshouka?

Shakshouka is a classic North African and Middle Eastern dish that has become increasingly popular worldwide. It's a simple yet delicious dish consisting of eggs poached in a rich, spicy tomato sauce, often served with crusty bread or pita.

The exact origins of Shakshouka are unclear, but it's believed to have originated in Tunisia, and from there, it spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East. It's a dish that has been enjoyed for generations, with each family having their unique take on the recipe.

One of the beautiful things about Shakshouka is its versatility. There are many variations of the dish, with different regions adding their unique twists. For example, in Tunisia, the dish is often made with merguez sausage, while in Egypt, it's served with fava beans. In Israel, the dish is traditionally eaten for breakfast, and it's often topped with feta cheese.

There are also many variations of Shakshouka based on the level of spiciness. Some versions are mild and flavourful, while others are spicy and intense. The spice level can be adjusted according to individual taste preferences, making it a dish that can be enjoyed by all.

If you're looking to try something new, I highly recommend giving Shakshouka a try. It's a dish that's easy to prepare, yet bursting with flavour and nutrients. The combination of protein from the eggs and the vitamins and minerals from the tomato sauce makes it a healthy and satisfying meal.

Don't be afraid to experiment with the recipe and add your unique twist. You can use different spices, vegetables, and even meats to create a dish that's tailored to your taste buds. With Shakshouka, the possibilities are endless!

This recipe makes: 4 portions

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients for Shakshouka Sauce:

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 14.1oz of Halloumi cheese, diced (400g)

  • 1 bell pepper, diced (yellow or red)

  • 1 aubergine, diced

  • 1 medium sized red onion, diced

  • 2tbsp of olive oil

  • 1tsp paprika

  • 1tsp turmeric

  • 1tbsp Ras el Hanout spice blend

  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1tbsp honey

  • 1tsp of salt

  • parsley for garnish

  • flatbread to serve

How to prepare Halloumi & Aubergine Shakshouka:

1. Cut the Halloumi cheese into cubes and put them in a bowl. Pour enough water to completely cover the cheese, and soak it for 20 minutes to reduce the saltiness and change the texture of the cheese. When it's ready, remove it from the water and mix it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, paprika, and turmeric.

2. For the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds and cook until fragrant, then add sliced garlic and diced onion. Cook until the onions are softened, then add paprika and harissa paste. Cook for another minute and add chopped tomatoes, honey, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. If the sauce seems too thick, add water. Cook for 10 minutes.

3. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 220°C fan and prepare the vegetables for roasting. Place the diced aubergine in a bowl and marinate it with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and Ras el Hanout spice blend. Mix well, then add peppers and onions and mix again. The aubergine's spongy texture will soak up all the flavours. Place the vegetables on a tray and roast in the oven for around 20 minutes (Don't overcrowd the vegetables on the roasting tray. Spread them out in a single layer so that they cook evenly and roast to perfection, use two trays if necessary).

4. When the sauce is ready, you can blend it or leave it as is. Transfer it to a cast iron pan or other baking dish, add the roasted vegetables to the sauce, and top with the halloumi cheese. Place it in the oven and change the setting to the 220°C grill. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the halloumi cheese starts to brown (Be careful not to overcook the Halloumi cheese. It only needs a few minutes under the grill to brown and become crispy. Keep an eye on it and remove it from the oven as soon as it reaches your desired level of doneness).

5. Remove from the oven, garnish with parsley or cilantro, and enjoy with your favourite flatbread!

Halloumi Shakshouka served on a flatbread, side photography

From the Chef

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Variations for this recipe:

  • Add meat - If you're not a vegetarian, you can add some cooked lamb or chicken to the dish. Simply cook the meat separately and add it to the sauce before baking. It will go perfectly well with homemade Lamb Koftas.

  • Use different vegetables - You can use different vegetables in this dish depending on what you have on hand. Try adding zucchini, mushrooms, or cherry tomato.

  • Change up the spices - Feel free to experiment with different spices to create different flavour profiles. Try adding cinnamon or smoked paprika.

  • Make it spicier - If you like your food spicy, add more harissa paste or cayenne chilli powder to the sauce.

  • Change the cheese - If you're not a fan of halloumi cheese, try using feta or paneer cheese instead. You can also prepare Vegan version with chickpeas.

  • Serve with eggs - If you prefer the traditional Shakshouka with eggs, simply poach a few eggs in the sauce before baking.

Halloumi Shakshouka, macro photography

Check out my other recipes:

  • Greek Flatbread - I am excited to share with you a delicious recipe that will elevate your baking game. This easy-to-make Greek flatbread is the perfect addition to your summer meals, especially when paired with Halloumi & Aubergine Shakshouka.

  • Chicken Shawarma - Indulge in the flavours of the Middle East with my mouth-watering Chicken Shawarma served with the soft and fluffy Laffa Flatbread.

  • Lamb Kofta - Get ready for a delicious Lamb Kofta on Kisir with yogurt drizzle, a traditional Turkish salad made with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, pomegranate, parsley, and lemon.

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