Sep 14, 2015

Shakshuka Recipe with Halloumi

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
This shakshuka recipe is made with poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce spiced with harissa with fried halloumi and challah for dipping.

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Shakshuka is a great dish if you love eggs and tomato sauce (both separately or together) but are looking to impress your brunch guests what you can do with a few ingredients in only one pan. These spicy baked eggs have an Italian counterpart, “eggs in purgatory”, you can find a recipe for that here.

In this non-traditional shakshuka recipe, eggs are poached in a homemade harissa spiced tomato sauce paired with fried halloumi cheese. I serve shakshuka with grilled eggy challah bread for dipping in the flavorful sauce.

Shakshuka Recipe (Spicy Baked Eggs) with Halloumi

What is Shakshuka?

While shakshuka has origins in North Africa, it’s a popular in the Middle East, especially Israel, Palestine and Egypt. The dish is made with eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Harissa – If you have never heard of harissa then I definitely recommend you try it! It is a spicy (but not “boiling lava hot” spicy) sauce or paste that is typically used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking. The sauce is a blend of hot chili peppers and spices and herbs such as coriander, cumin, garlic and lemon. The North African paste can be found at specialty grocery stores, most Whole Foods or online here.
  • Halloumi – While cheese is not traditional in shakshuka, I love the texture it adds. Halloumi is semi-hard, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk that can easily be grilled. The “squeaky cheese” can be found gourmet grocery stores and Whole Foods.
  • Whole peeled tomatoes – Canned whole peeled tomatoes are extremely versatile. They are picked when ripe then cooked and peeled before they are canned and packed in tomato juice or tomato puree. They have a rich tomato flavor perfect for tomato sauces.

How to Make This Shakshuka Recipe with Halloumi

fried halloumi cheese how to make spicy baked eggs
Step 1: Fry halloumi. 

Cut halloumi into ½” (1 cm) slices. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the slices of halloumi and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip and continue to cook until golden brown, about an additional minute. Remove with tongs to a plate.

sautéed diced yellow onions in skillet
Step 2: Sauté onions. 

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190ºC). Return the pan with the oil to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes.

cumin and paprika with sautéed onions and garlic
Step 3: Add garlic and spices. 

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the cumin and paprika, and cook for 1 additional minute.

harissa and tomato sauce
Step 4: Make harissa tomato sauce. 

Add the tomatoes and harissa, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the tomato sauce has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

how to make shakshuka recipe spicy baked eggs
Step 5: Add eggs. 

Gently make little holes in the sauce and crack the eggs into the skillet over the tomatoes. Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake until the eggs are just set, 8 to 10 minutes.

how to make shakshuka recipe
Step 6: Assemble and serve. 

Break the fried halloumi into pieces and scatter over the shakshuka. Top with cilantro and green onions. Serve immediately with grilled challah bread on the side.

Tips and Tricks for This Shakshuka Recipe

Swaps and substitutions
  • If you can’t find halloumi cheese you can substitute paneer. 
  • Feta cheese is a popular addition to shakshuka and can be substituted for the crispy halloumi. No need to fry it, simply crumble it over the top of the dish before serving.
  • I also like adding sautéed lamb merguez sausage to halloumi.
  • Try sautéing a diced bell pepper (seeds removed) with the onions for added vegetables. Spinach also makes a great addition.
  • While I love eggy challah, toasted pita bread also makes a great vehicle for the sauce.
How to Make Individual Shakshuka Servings

Rather than serving this dish family-style you can make individual portions of shakshuka in ramekins or cocottes. Simply divide the spicy tomato sauce among mini cocottes or ramekins and bake at 375ºF (190ºC) until the eggs are set, about 8 to 10 minutes.

how to make shakshuka recipe with fried halloumi cheese

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What Pan Should I use to Make Shakshuka?

I use a 10″ skillet for this recipe – make sure it’s oven safe since you will be transferring it from the stovetop into the oven to finish cooking. Since tomatoes are acidic I prefer to make this recipe is an aluminum skillet rather than a cast iron pan. The tomatoes can strip the seasoning from the pan. It’s fine if you make it in cast iron I just prefer not to if I can.

Can the sauce be made in advance?

To easily prep shakshuka in advance, the sauce can be made then stored, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to a week in advance for easy assembly. Simply heat through and continue with the cooking instructions for the eggs.

Can I Make this Without an oven?

Yes! Simply continue to cook the eggs on the stovetop once they are cracked in the pan. They will cook like sunnyside up eggs so just be sure the egg whites are set.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this shakshuka recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Shakshuka Recipe with Halloumi

shakshuka recipe with fried halloumi spicy baked eggs in tomato sauce
Print Pin
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces halloumi cheese
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons harissa, additional to taste, I use Mina Harissa
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro,
  • 1 medium green onion, thinly sliced
  • Sliced and grilled challah bread, for serving

Instructions:

  • Cut halloumi into ½" (1 cm) slices. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the slices of halloumi and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip and continue to cook until golden brown, about an additional minute. Remove with tongs to a plate.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190ºC). Return the pan with the oil to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the cumin and paprika, and cook for 1 additional minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and harissa, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the tomato sauce has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
  • Gently make little holes in the sauce and crack the eggs into the skillet over the tomatoes. Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake until the eggs are just set, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Break the fried halloumi into pieces and scatter over the shakshuka. Top with cilantro and green onions. Serve immediately with grilled challah bread on the side.

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