Shakshuka (also known as Shakshouka or Chakchouka) is a dish that has deep roots in Arabian and Mediterranean cuisine. It is quite simply eggs that are poached in a fragrant thick sauce of tomatoes and peppers, spiced according to regional or personal preferences.
Shakshuka is often a dish that is prepared in a large cast iron skillet. Using an Instant Pot to make the Shakshuka may not be the traditional method, but it does have some advantages. It’s always nice to be able to cook vegetables under pressure, breaking them down quickly while not having to stand over the stove.
However, if you don’t have an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, simply follow the directions as written, but use a deep wide, heavy bottomed skillet. The sauce should be cooked for a minimum of 15 minutes on the stovetop.
Another great feature of this dish is that you can make the sauce ahead of time. You can either bring the sauce up to temperature and then follow the remaining steps of poaching the eggs inside the thick sauce. If using and Instant Pot, the eggs can be poached separately using oven-proof dishes or silicon molds. Using this method, the eggs aren’t poached in the tomato sauce, but the flavor is still wonderful and it makes putting the dish together and serving for a crowd (such as a mother’s day brunch or Easter) really quick and easy.
I won’t leave directions for poaching eggs in an Instant Pot, as each pot has different settings and cooking times. Consult your user manual for directions to make perfect poached eggs. For the version in this recipe, the eggs are cooked directly in the Instant Pot.
In this Shakshuka recipe I use Harissa. It is a spicy North African paste made from peppers and spiced with additional ingredients such as garlic, cumin, caraway seeds and lemon. If you can’t find it, simply substitute with another thick hot sauce, such as Sriracha along with some ground caraway seeds or ground anise (see recipe notes).
I also use Smoked Paprika in the recipe. It gives the tomato sauce a deep smoky flavor. If you haven’t used this spice previously, try using a little at first, or substitute with a Sweet Paprika instead.
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Here are some additional Instant Pot recipes you might enjoy!
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, Diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, Seeded and Diced
- 6 Roma Tomatoes, Diced
- 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika*
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Harissa** see notes
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Parsley or Cilantro, Coarsely Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Feta Cheese, Crumbled
- Ground Sumac as a garnish (optional)
- Toasted Bread, such as pita or French Baguette
- Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and press "Saute."
- Once the pot beeps and indicates that it is "Hot" add the onions. Sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and garlic, paprika, cumin, harissa (or hot sauce) and salt. Continue to sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Seal the lid, set the pot to "Manual" and make sure the value is set to "Sealing."
- Set the time for 12 minutes.
- After the cooking time is complete, immediately release the steam.
- Remove the lid and stir the sauce. It should be relatively thick so it will be able to suspend the eggs. If the sauce needs additional thickening (which will depend on the water content of the tomatoes used) just set the pot to "Sauté" and allow the sauce to cook down for a few minutes.
- Turn the Instant Pot off and allow the sauce to cool enough so that it is no longer boiling.
- Crack each egg into a small dish and slide it carefully on top of the tomato sauce (this will make it less likely that the yolk will break).
- Turn the Instant Pot onto "Sauté" and adjust the heat to "Low."
- Cover the pot and allow the eggs to cook until they reach your desired doneness (about 5 minutes +). I prefer eggs where the yolk is runny and can be stirred into the sauce and soaked up with bread.
- Carefully scoop the eggs out into individual bowls and top with parsley or cilantro and sprinkle liberally with feta.
- Serve immediately with toasted bread.
*Smoked Paprika, as the name implies, will add a distinct smoky flavor to the dish. If you aren't typically a fan of smoky flavors you can add less to start or substitute with Sweet Paprika.
**Harissa is a hot paste made with chile peppers, cumin, caraway seeds and often a hint of lemon. You can substitute with another hot sauce, such as Sriracha along with 1/4 tsp of ground caraway seeds or ground star anise, or omit if you don't enjoy spicy dishes. If you don't enjoy spicy dishes, I still suggest adding the ground spices, which will result in a more fragrant sauce.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 251Total Fat: 16.5gSaturated Fat: 5.4gCholesterol: 203mgSodium: 882mgCarbohydrates: 16.9gFiber: 3.7gSugar: 10.7gProtein: 11.8g