recipes that teach you how to cook without recipes


Some version of eggs poached in/with a tomato sauce exists in a lot of cusines; Italian Eggs in Purgatory, Mexican Huevos Rancheros or the North African Shakshouka. They’re all delicious, of course and I’m sure there are a hundred versions of every type. As always, this recipe is to show you the general technique of making what will result in perfectly poached eggs in a delicious spicy, tangy, earthy tomato sauce that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. The recipe below is definitely more of a Shakshouka but see the Notes below for tips on how to make the other versions.   

As this dish is pretty simple ingredient wise, it’s best to get the best possible ingredients you can; good quality eggs and sweet and fresh tomatoes. I often use canned tomatoes as well as fresh tomatoes but if you can get super sweet fresh tomatoes the sauce would be extra delicious. 

Serves 2 (as a meal) or 4 (as part of a meal/small meal)


4 eggs (the best quality eggs you can find)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 can whole tomatoes and 2-3 small/medium fresh tomatoes 

1 roasted bell pepper, chopped (optional)

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp chilli powder or fresh chillies (to taste)

1-2 tsp sugar (depending on the sweetness of your tomatoes)

salt and pepper, to taste

feta or goat cheese (optional)

cilantro or parsley for garnishing (optional)



  1.  Crack the eggs into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and onions and saute about 5-6 minutes until the onions are soft and golden brown. 
  3. Add the bell pepper or any other veggies you’d like to use (see Notes) and saute another 5 minutes until the veggies are softened.
  4. Add the garlic, chillies and spices and saute for another minute until the garlic is fragrant and the spices have been incorporated in the veggies.
  5. Add the fresh tomatoes and/or canned tomatoes, mix well add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
  6. Turn the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes until thickened. Taste again for seasoning and adjust to your liking.
  7. Add the eggs and cover the pan (with a lid or a baking tray or foil).
  8. Let the eggs cook for about 5-6 minutes (for a runny yolk).
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the cheese (if you like) and herbs.
  10. Serve immediately with fresh, crusty bread.


Aside from bell peppers, mushrooms or eggplant would also be a great addition. Feel free skip any extra veggies and keep it simple – tomatoes, onions and eggs.

After adding the eggs and covering the pan, make sure to check the eggs every couple of minutes to ensure they are not over cooked, especially if you want a runny yolk (why wouldn’t you want a runny yolk though?) as your stove could be hotter/cooler. It’s also best to remove the pan off the heat just a minute or two before you think the eggs are cooked to your liking as the eggs will continue to cook while you’re plating, garnishing and serving. 

To make this dish more Italian, throw in some Italian herbs while the sauce is cooking and use Parmesan cheese and parsley as the topping.

To make the Mexican hangover cure, serve with corn torillas and top with refried beans, salsa, cilantro and cotija cheese.


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