A huge bowl of freshly made Turkish şakşuka (shak-shoo-ka) is such a treat. This Şakşuka recipe is best eaten freshly made and cold – but it is so difficult to leave it alone and let it cool once you have combined all the perfectly matched ingredients.
What Is Turkish Şakşuka?
Turkish şakşuka is a popular meze dish and is yet another example of the love and the prevalence of the aubergine in Turkish cuisine.
It’s a perfect addition to the Turkish breakfast table. It’s a perfect side dish to grilled meats and snacks such as pide (we say this because one of our favourite pide places used to always give us a complimentary serving).
And şakşuka is also adaptable – you can see why in our serving suggestions under our şakşuka recipe.
What Is Turkish Şakşuka Not?
It’s not the Middle Eastern shakshouka dish you might well be more familiar with.
In fact, the Middle Eastern shakshouka recipe more resembles Turkish menemen. Although Menemen tends to be served with the eggs scrambled rather than poached in the sauce.
Turkish Şakşuka Recipe – Ingredients
People have their own preferences when it comes to şakşuka recipes. We’ve eaten şakşuka so often in the restaurants around the Fethiye area so we now know the texture and the sort of ingredients we prefer.
Our şakşuka recipe is developed from our own eating experiences.
If you’ve never tried şakşuka before, do yourself a favour and either try it in a reputable eatery or, if you’re lucky enough, try some made by a Turkish neighbour or friend. Obviously, you can make your own, too, by following our recipe.
Although the taste isn’t bad, the supermarket deli versions bear little resemblance to either the look or the texture of a homemade, fresh şakşuka.
The base two base ingredients of all şakşuka recipes are aubergines and tomatoes. After that, the preferences begin. Some people use peppers, some use garlic, various spices, onion.
And then, for our şakşuka recipe, we’re going to add cubed potato. Whilst potato doesn’t appear to be a common ingredient in other şakşuka recipes we’ve seen, it’s certainly a popular addition here in Fethiye.
As far as we’re concerned, there’s just something missing if the potato isn’t there.
The Potatoes And The Aubergines
First of all, we’re going to be dealing with our aubergines and potatoes. To make life easier, we preheat our oven to 220 degrees, cut a medium-sized potato into small cubes and place on a baking tray with a drizzle on sunflower oil.
Whilst they’re sizzling away in the oven, we cube and fry three small aubergines. Once the potatoes are crispy and the aubergine has softened and coloured, we place them into our serving bowl.
The Tomato Sauce Recipe
Whilst the aubergines and potatoes are cooling, we then make our tomato sauce. A quality tomato sauce makes all the difference. So take the time to get your flavours right.
For our şakşuka recipe, our tomato sauce is made with onion, green pepper, a few cloves of garlic, seasoning and spices.
We’re lucky in Fethiye that we are able to eat seasonally and, at the moment, the huge summer tomatoes are in season. So sweet and juicy. If you can’t get quality tomatoes, tinned tomatoes will be fine.
Once your tomato sauce is cooked and you are happy with it, leave it to cool and then pour it over your aubergines and potatoes. Gently mix, and you will have a wonderfully flavoursome homemade Turkish şakşuka meze.
How To Make Turkish Şakşuka
Here’s our easy şakşuka recipe…
Turkish Şakşuka Recipe
- frying pan
- 3 small aubergines cut into 1 cm cubes
- 2 large tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 medium potato washed & cut into 1 cm cubes
- 1 medium onion peeled & finely chopped
- 1 large green pepper deseeded & finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic peeled & finely chopped or sliced
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chilli flakes optional
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp vinegar
- salt & pepper to season
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil 1 for frying your aubergine, 1 for cooking your tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley roughly chopped, to garnish
- Fist of all, preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
- Lightly oil a baking tray and add your potato.
- Bake for around 20 minutes, flipping once, until the potato is soft on the inside and starting to crisp on the outside.
- Meanwhile, add sunflower oil to your frying pan and heat on a medium to high setting.
- Add your aubergine and fry until softened and browning.
- Place your potato and aubergine in a large serving bowl and leave to cool.
- Now, using the same frying pan that you used for your aubergine, begin your tomato sauce.
- Gently heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil and add your onion and peppers.
- Sauté until your onion and pepper is starting to soften. Around 5 minutes.
- Now add your tomatoes and garlic. Stir and simmer until your tomatoes have broken down.
- Add your dried herbs, spices and salt & pepper then stir.
- As your tomato sauce reduces, add a splash of water, your vinegar and sugar.
- Stir everything together and do a taste test. Add more seasoning if necessary.
- Allow your tomato sauce to simmer for 20 minutes or so to let the flavours infuse, adding a splash of water if it starts to get too dry. You are aiming for a medium-thick sauce.
- Once you are happy with your sauce, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
- Now pour the sauce over the potato and aubergine and gently mix together to create your Turkish şakşuka.
- Serve your şakşuka cold, garnished with the fresh, chopped parsley.
- As with all our recipes, the calorie count for this şakşuka recipe is meant as a rough guide only.
- There is no need to peel your potato for this recipe as there are lots of nutrients in the skin. Just give it a good wash.
- If you find aubergine skin too tough, you can peel stripes off it before you fry it, as with our recipe for karnıyarık and imam bayıldı.
- Serve your Turkish şakşuka in a large bowl or as four individual portions.
Serving Your Şakşuka
When the time comes to serve your şakşuka, it’s a really versatile dish. Serve it in your large bowl for people to help themselves to or serve it as individual şakşuka meze portions as in the photo below.
This was our lunch, one day. Şakşuka and lemon chicken.
Another way we like to serve it is an adaptation of James Martin baked egg recipes.
We put the şakşuka in a small earthenware bowl (which we also use when we make sutlaç), crack an egg over the top and bake in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for around 10 minutes until the egg white is firm.
This is a great way to use up your şakşuka leftovers, creating a whole new dish from it.
However you choose to serve your şakşuka, if you love the tomato and aubergine combo, we’re sure you’re going to love this dish! Afiyet olsun!
Şakşuka Recipe – Afternotes
- Şakşuka meze is just one of the many aubergine dishes in Turkish cuisine. As well as the dishes linked to in the recipe notes, you might also like Turkish aubergine salad or kızartma.
- If you’re a fan of yoghurt dishes, you could also try Ali Nazik Kebab or baba ganoush.
- Other meat and aubergine dishes include Turkish musakka and hünkar beğendi.
- For other Turkish meals to cook at home, check out our other Turkish recipe ideas.