Chekchouka recipe or “El bid we maticha” with Moroccan meatballs

This is definitely one of the recipes I have learned when I was 11 or 12. The chekchouka (or shekshuka) is  a famous dish accross the Arab countries.
My dad used to add Meslalla, a slightly bitter olives cured and marinated with Moroccan chermoula paste.
 I like the eggs set but you you like them runny, the moment you add them to the tagine, season then and cover the tagine then knock the heat, give them 5-7 min and they’ll be nicely cooked with a glowing yellow center.
It is a very satisfying dish that can be served in a brunch, for lunch or dinner. We also love this combination in a sandwich, which is very common in our Moroccan street food repertoire. We call this “sandwich BM” as a reference to beid = eggs and matisha= tomatoes.
This is a very easy dish to make. Today I’m posting the non-vegetarian version of it with seasoned Moroccan meatballs called keftas. If you wish to do so, either you shallow-fry the meatballs in olive oil or you just add them to the tomato sauce and let them simmer before cracking the eggs.
For 2 persons
Prep: 10 min/ Cooking: 20 min
  •         4 or 5 good plum tomatoes or good ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
  •         2 tbsp of chopped onions (optional)
  •         3 or 4 cloves garlic, roughly diced
  •         Salt and pepper to taste
  •         1 tbsp sweet paprika
  •         1 tsp of ground cumin
  •         1 tbsp tomato paste (if you are not using good plum tomatoes)
  •         Olive oil
  •         3 heaped tbsp of chopped coriander and parsley
  •         4 large eggs
  •         Optional: 300 g of Moroccan kefta (mincemeat seasoned with cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, a hint of cinnamon, cumin, parsley and coriander)

On a low heat, slightly heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan. Place the onions, once cooked through, add in the garlic, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper, paprika, tomato paste. Stir.
Carry on the cooking on a low heat until you get a thick sauce (about 15 min). You might add few spoons of water if your tomatoes are not giving you water for the sauce. Add in the herbs, the olives and the the meatballs (for a nion-vegetarian version) and stir.
Break the eggs one after the other and side by side, all over the tomatoes. We usually break the yolk but you might skip this step. You might either scramble the egg in that sauce or present it “sunny side up”.
Before serving, sprinkle some cumin over and drizzle a seriously good extra virgin olive oil.
If you have good meslalla olives, you might add them at the same time you add the chopped herbs. 
Otherwise, green olives will do. A few leaves of parsley or coriander will be nice too.

Serve hot with a good Moroccan bread or a French baguette AND a nice glass of Moroccan mint tea on the side.

1 Comment

  1. Many thanks for this. I was specially interested in the bitter olives your dad used. I must look for some when I go back in December.I had BM in Tata with a red pimento where they call it tiglai matisha. Peppers like that grow all year round down there! That's the recipe that Elizabeth David gives in her 'Mediterranean food'. People in the south also seem to add turmeric sometimes. I wonder if adding kefta is a northern thing. I've only ever had that in Rabat.

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