Saturday, August 10, 2013

All Mixed Up -- a Crazy North African Dish for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

This vegan shashuka (means crazy, all mixed up with lots of other spellings including shashooka) is traditionally a spicy tomato based stew from North Africa that has been adapted and adopted all across Israel.  Usually eggs are poached in the sauce (which can range from mild to fiery), but I put  cubes of medium firm tofu in the stew and heated them through just before serving.  Serve with crusty bread or pita. It will also work well on top of pasta, rice or grains.
I didn't take notes but my basic technique was to brown 1/2 onion and 4-5 cloves of minced garlic in oil (I used peanut), add a tsp. or more of cumin, salt and pepper and sauté a bit.  Then I added 5-6 roughly chopped tomatoes and large red pepper chopped and sautéed until peppers began to soften, adding a bit of water as needed.  Add small can of tomato sauce (8 oz.) OR a few heaping Tbs. tomato sauce and a cup or so of hot water, adding more water as needed to keep dish a bit on the saucy side (I used the tomato paste option in this version).  Add a heaping Tbs. or to taste -- Yemenite hot relish (z'hug) or harissa or chile garlic paste.  Mix well. Sauté until simmering.  Add a few handfuls of chopped kale or other greens.  Once they begun to wilt, add 1 lb. rinsed and drained (but not pressed) tofu cubes. (I cut the tofu cake in half horizontally then cut the 2 halves into cubes. Too large the cubes are hard to eat, too small and they will disintegrate into the sauce.  I think I cut each half into about 12 cubes) 
This is often thought of as a breakfast food, but I like it as a light meal anytime.  It is very versatile and other or additional vegetables can easily be added.

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