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Shakshouka with five cooked eggs on top of tomato sauce in cast iron skillet

Shakshouka or shakshuka (Tunisian Arabic: شكشوكة‎) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin.[1][2]


Shakshouka means "a mixture" in Tunisian Arabic or other Maghrebi Arabic dialects.[3] It is likely that it was first known as chakchouka, a Berber word meaning a vegetable ragout,[3] although "shakshek" means "to shake", in Tunisian Arabic, Berber and Hebrew, giving a possible punic origin to the name of the dish.[4]

Chakchouk is also a very common surname in Tunisia [5]


Individual portion of shakshouka
Tunisian Shakshouka served in a pan

Shakshouka is a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, Moroccan, and Egyptian cuisines, traditionally served in a cast iron pan or tajine with bread to mop up the sauce. It is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews and Maghrebi Jews, hundreds of thousands of whom immigrated to Israel during the 1950s.[4]

According to food writer Claudia Roden, Tunisian cooks added artichoke hearts, potatoes and broad beans to the dish. Because eggs are the main ingredient, it is often on breakfast menus, but in Israel, it is also a popular evening meal.[6] It has been said to challenge hummus and falafel as a national favourite, especially in the winter.[3] According to some food historians, the dish was invented in the Ottoman Empire, spreading throughout the Middle East and Spain, where it is often served with spicy sausage. Another belief is that it hails from Yemen, where it is served with zhug, a hot green paste.[3] Some versions include salty cheeses[6] but traditional recipes are very basic, consisting merely of crushed tomatoes, hot peppers, garlic, salt, paprika, olive oil and poached eggs.[7]

Similar dishes

Shakshouka is similar to the Turkish dish menemen, and the Mexican breakfast dish huevos rancheros. Turkish cuisine has another dish with a similar name, spelled şakşuka, which is more like a ratatouille. Shakshouka is also similar to Spanish pisto manchego, a traditional La Mancha dish from southeast Spain, sometimes also accompanied by a fried egg.

See also


  1. Roden, Claudia (2000). The New Book of Middle Eastern Food - Revised Edition. Knopf. p. 168. ISBN 0-375-40506-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. International Inner Wheel Sfax, Nos recettes de tous les jours et jours de fêtes, p115.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Josephs, Bernard (October 8, 2009). "Shakshuka: Israel's hottest breakfast dish". The Jewish Chronicle.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gur, Janna (2008). The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey. Schocken. pp. 80–82. ISBN 0-8052-1224-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Chakchouk, Family Name (2013-01-24). "Myheritage Tunisian Surname 737.974 documents". Myheritage.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Clifford-smith, Stephanie (June 7, 2011). "Three of a kind: Shakshouka". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2011-08-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Abitbol, David (October 28, 2004). "The REAL Shakshuka". Jewlicious.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>