Kimchi. Shakshuka. Two foods I absolutely love and never once considered combining. Until one night, awake and stirring in bed, it just kinda hit me. And then, it was even harder to fall asleep because I started imagining all the ways I could go about it. Would I still use my regular Middle Eastern spices? Would I sub sesame oil for my usual EVOO? (The answer was yes and no, respectively, in case you were curious. But it truly was interesting thinking of all the variations and possibilities; I’ll be continuing to experiment with this one for sure.)
I absolutely love how this came out and honestly think it may be the best shakshuka I’ve ever had or made, so even though there’s some different ways to go about this (and some of the options are presented below), I feel really good about this recipe.
Part of what I think was so appealing about the taste was that the Napa cabbage, simmering in the rich tomato sauce, took on that iconic flavor of holishkes (stewed stuffed cabbage rolls) that my grandma always made. It was also a very nice and spicy kimchi to begin with, which had some of my garden cayenne peppers blended into the paste as well as some Georgia peach! Just such a deep and wonderful flavor. That said, I’m confident you’ll enjoy this recipe with your own kimchi or a store version you like.
If you’d like to make my shakshuka without kimchi, you could follow the same recipe and swap out kimchi with a diced large red pepper (or half green and half red). I added gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) to this recipe, but you could also swap it with dried red chili flakes (noting that it is a fair bit hotter and adjust accordingly).
Yield: Serves 2-3 people (double quantities to serve 4-6)
- Deep frying pan or wok with cover, or cast-iron skillet (for use if baking at the end to poach the eggs, explained below)
- Knife & cutting board
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Garlic press
- 1- 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes (fire roasted preferred)
- 1 cup kimchi, rough chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp gochugaru (and/or red chili flakes, to taste)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- pinch cinnamon
- 2 TBSP harissa or gochujang
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- 1/4 tsp salt (optional or to taste)
- Garnish: 2-3 TBSP chopped cilantro and/or parsley (or keep up the Korean fusion theme with thin-sliced green onion and sesame seeds for the garnish)
1.) Heat the oil for 30 seconds on medium-high heat, then add the minced garlic for about 30 seconds; avoid burning.
2.) Add the tomato paste and mash together evenly with the garlic. Then add the onions, stir together, and cook on medium-low for 3-4 minutes. Then, add the spices and continue to stir and cook for about a minute.
3.) Pour in the crushed tomatoes and kimchi. Stir and bring to a simmer, then allow to cook uncovered for 4-5 minutes.
4.) Create 4 little wells in the tomato mixture and crack the eggs in. Spoon some of the tomato mixture over the still-transparent egg whites. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a medium boil and hold for two minutes. Then cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. On removing the cover, the eggs should appear opaque over the yolks, and moist but not watery.
5.) Once the eggs are done, turn off heat and add any garnish like cilantro, parsley, extra black pepper, green onion or sesame seeds.
Notes: You can try to identify the right timing of poaching the eggs by looking through the glass cover for doneness. If it is your first time, it may take you a couple times before perfecting the timing. Alternately, you may have better luck and enjoy the results better by baking the shakshuka in the oven once the eggs are inserted, uncovered in a cast iron skillet. This should be done by setting the oven to 375 at the outset. Once all other steps are complete on the stove, transfer the shakshuka to the oven and cook for 8-12 minutes. After around 8 minutes, you can open the oven to check doneness.
All of the above assumes you want runny yolks that will mix with the shakshuka, but if you prefer hardened yolks, that is perfectly fine and just requires a longer cook time on the stove.
Cut apart portions using the spatula, being careful not to break the egg yolks. Serve hot, preferably with some warm pita and hummus!