Hindu Metroplus , As you like it

When hunger pangs strike ,eggs are an ingredient that is quick to cook and tastes great with the addition of a few basic flavour additions. An egg and tomato meal for me is an all time winner because the acidity of a roasted tomato really cuts through the richness of the egg yolk.

So many of the breakfast dishes comprising eggs are so delicious that they are perfect for just about any time of day.In fact there are restaurants that serve popular breakfast dishes from around the world for lunch and dinner as well. At the Wild honey chain of restaurants at Singapore, diners can choose from poached eggs in hollandaise, New York style scrambled eggs, a decadent French toast made with brioche ,to delicious versions of the Shakshuka and so much more.An all day breakfast menu doesn’t get any better than this in terms of the huge variety of international egg dishes.

The Shakshuka which is a mouth watering one dish meal of Mediterranean origin ,made with finely chopped onions,peppers,garlic and tomatoes and cooked until the tomatoes turn pulpy with the addition of cayenne pepper or paprika, cumin powder and lots of fresh herbs like parsley and coriander would definitely fit in the ‘comfort foods’ category.

Long before I knew the name of this dish,we’ve been cooking it at home,not often for breakfast but mostly at dinner time.I don’t remember if I came across the recipe or if it was my own version of the huevos rancheros minus the refried beans.

What’s special about this particular egg dish is undoubtedly it’s versatility.My original recipe uses dried thyme and red chilli powder as flavouring which imparts a most unusual taste to the pulpy tomatoes and egg.Of late depending on what’s available we change it by adding home grown basil ,fresh coriander or even some feta or hung curd. And the accompaniments that have been served with this dish have been just as eclectic as the flavour combinations. When eaten for breakfast,the best option would be to serve with some nice crusty bread.But for dinner,we’ve experimented with couscous, garlic noodles, flavoured rice and of course a good baguette.Whatever side we choose, this particular meal never fails to hit the spot.

On her instagram page,Oprah Winfrey had actually posted her chef’s take on Shakshuka which is what he made for her when she asked for a simple boiled egg for breakfast. It was light ,healthy and packed with great ingredients.On a bed of tomato ceviche,lay the perfectly cooked egg, surrounded by crispy kale and served with a flourish ! I’m thinking the talk show host will not be asking for ‘just a boiled egg breakfast’ again 😉

Tomatoes and eggs as I mentioned before are such a no fail combination that one can feel free to experiment with this dish based on their favourite flavours. Olives, jalapenos, green chillies, chorizo sausage, county corn kernels etc are some of the many endless options.The deliciousness is in the coming together of the tomatoes and spices and also in the manner in which the eggs are cooked. After being covered and left to poach in the tomato mixture,they taste best when the white has turned opaque and the yolks are beginning to thicken while still soft.

We love it when the thin film of poached egg white breaks away to reveal an oozy golden egg yolk. Using free range eggs really brings out the taste of this dish.( Farm made free range eggs ) As the molten yellow goo flows over the spiced tomato base,it adds a rich creaminess which then balances out the taste and texture.We love to cook it in an iron skillet because of the natural health benefits and also because it cooks evenly not to mention visually most appealing.

This is also a great meal which can be made for as large a gathering as 12, depending on the size of the pan or even just for one person. The best way to enjoy this dish with the fingers is to dunk the corner of the bread into the centre of the warm egg yolk and scoop it up along with a helping of the pulpy red base. A warm tortilla would work just as well. Make mini individual versions of the Shakshuka using quail eggs,they are great for a party.

This time of year which still has that slight nip in the air is great to cosy around the table sharing a comforting Shakshuka meal with the special folk who make our lives worth celebrating!

Here’s wishing you all wonderful happenings in 2019 ! Happy New Year.

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