Cooking Class: Shakshouka – A Sunny Tomato and Pepper Stew with Jennifer Abadi

Cooking Class: Shakshouka – A Sunny Tomato and Pepper Stew with Jennifer Abadi


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Shakshouka — a bright and colorful stew of red tomatoes, orange and green peppers, and sunny yellow eggs — is prepared in a variety of ways all over North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. Some versions are hot and spicy, while others add eggplant and squash and serve it with a slice of salty white cheese or a special savory sausage. But where was the first shakshouka prepared, and how did it evolve into the dish that is most popular today?

The foundation for the modern shakshouka may have its roots in an old Ottoman recipe of cooked vegetables and chopped meat by the same name (şakşuka) that wove its way throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Another theory is that the dish evolved from a North African stew called chakhchoukha made of vegetables, chopped lamb, and torn pieces of bread, and that the name derived from an Algerian-Arabic word meaning “tearing into small pieces.” With the much later introduction of New World tomatoes and peppers to Europe and Africa by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries, the base of the stew changed “red” to more closely resemble what is prepared today in North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, and Europe. Replacing the meat with eggs (either hard-boiled, scrambled, fried, or whole poached) and turning the stew vegetarian and parve/non-dairy might have been a kosher adaptation by North African (likely Tunisian) Jews so that the dish could be more easily served with both meat and dairy meals without conflict.

Led by Sephardic and Middle Eastern food instructor, recipe preserver, and cookbook author Jennifer Abadi, this interactive hands-on seminar will teach us how to make a basic shakshouka that we can easily adapt to our own taste. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the rustic flavors of North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, and how to prepare this healthy, delicious, and beautiful dish for any occasion and any season.

Below are the items you’ll want to participate in this class. We will email attendees the full recipe with measurements and instructions prior to the class, so that you can pre-measure ingredients before joining.

Yield: Serves 6

  • ½ cup pitted cracked green olives (such as the Greek Naphlion or Sicilian style)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup seeded and diced green bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Ground cumin
  • Sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce, optional but recommended
  • Pita, crusty peasant bread, or rice (for serving)

Special equipment

We don’t list every item you’ll need here (e.g., standard items like knives, bowls, cutting boards). But we do our best to identify items that may not be in every kitchen, and alternatives where possible. 

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large chef’s knife and cutting board
  • 13-inch skillet (needs to be about 3 inches deep) and lid

Jennifer Abadi is a native New Yorker, born, bred and raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She is half Sephardic (Aleppo, Syria) and half Ashkenazic (Riga, Latvia). She is a researcher, developer, and preserver of Judeo-Arabic and Sephardic recipes and food customs, focusing on the Jewish communities of the Middle East, Mediterranean, Central Asia, and North Africa. She is the author of two cookbooks: "Too Good To Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe" and "A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes From Grandma Fritzie's Kitchen." Jennifer teaches cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and at the Jewish Community Center Manhattan (JCC), as well as privately. Jennifer has been providing Jewish Food & Culture tours on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for Context Travel since 2012."

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

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Anonymous
Jennifer Abadi cooking classes are fun

this is the 2nd class by Jennifer that we attended. Great, fun, tasty . only problem was very hungry at end of class
We knew how to cook this already, but wanted to see Jennifer's version

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
100%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
Anonymous
Jennifer Abadi cooking classes are fun

this is the 2nd class by Jennifer that we attended. Great, fun, tasty . only problem was very hungry at end of class
We knew how to cook this already, but wanted to see Jennifer's version