Before Nitza Kardish was born, her family lived in Tripoli, Libya’s capital city. The family was well-off and cooked fresh fish and lamb often. When they moved to Israel in 1949, money was tighter and meat in shorter supply. Her mother Maloo, a gifted home cook, relied heavily on eggs from the family’s two chickens. She would often cook down fresh tomatoes for hours, Nitza recalls, until they formed a savory jam that she kept hand throughout the week, adding eggs to it when she wanted to serve shakshuka.
Make Ahead: Sauce can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Read more of Nitza’s family story on the Jewish Food Society archive.
- ½ cup olive oil
- 5 lbs. tomatoes, grated
- Cloves from a head of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 whole green chili peppers, like poblano, serrano, or jalapeño
- 6-8 eggs
- Combine the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, peppers, paprika, salt, and 2 cups of water in a large skillet or braiser.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower to the lowest possible flame and cook for 4-5 hours. This may require moving your skillet to the smallest burner on the stove. Stir occasionally and add water, 1 cup at a time, as necessary until a deeply flavorful, thick, jammy base forms.
- To finish, gently crack the eggs over the sauce. Cover and cook on medium-high heat until the whites are hardened but the yolk is still runny, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with homemade bread.