Saturday, 1 September 2012

Olympic Food Challenge: Qatar - Shakshooka

Finding a recipe that summed up Qatar for the Olympic Food Challenge proved to be tricky.  I thought I was onto a winner when I discovered that the Qatari Embassy website has a food section.  Sadly the Embassy's website is a poor indictment of Qatar's athletes who picked up two bronze medals* during the Olympic games.

Every link on the site led to a broken page and every google result took me back to the same home page via a different route.  I was ready to throw in the towel when I came across this You Tube recipe for Shakshooka.  Until that point I had never come across shakshooka but it turns out that it is not all that uncommon a dish.  It seems to stem out of North Africa and has moved from country to country with every nation taking on their own twist.

With that in mind I decided to stray away from the video and come up with my own variation based on the many recipes that I found and what I happened to have in the house.  I started as per the video instructions with sliced onion and immediately veered off course with half a chopped pepper.  I was back on track with some fresh chopped plum tomatoes**.  The vegetables bubbled away, softened and collapsed into a sauce over a low heat. 

According to the You Tube recipe the eggs are mixed into the cooked sauce to create a tomatoey scrambled egg mixture.  Again, I decided to ignore the recipe.  I added a handful of spinach to the sauce to wilt and then broke a couple of eggs into wells in the mixture to cook.  The only addition was some salt and pepper and a nice breakfast/lunch dish was born.

*Mutaz Essa Barshim in the men's high jump and Nasser Al-attiyah in the men's skeet.
**I have no problem with tinned tomatoes but while they are in season I love fresh tomatoes.

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