Hello Everyone! So this is my first post as Pantry Diva instead of Khana Mama. This change came about because when people would ask me, “So what is your blog about?”, I always found myself struggling to come up with a succinct answer that would summarize the idea of my blog. So during a brainstorm session with friends, the concept of Pantry Diva was born. I am rejoicing that I now have a tagline: “Making fabulous things from everyday ingredients found in your pantry.” Oh joy!
The main difference in Pantry Diva is that I now have a clear direction in writing. But the theme of simple, healthy recipes will remain the same. And by the way, all of the old Khana Mama posts have been transferred to Pantry Diva so nothing has been lost. I still have a bit of reformatting to do, but that will come in time. Please bear with me!
It is actually lucky that I already have my blog in place, because my first recipe required the finesse of a true Pantry Diva. Yesterday, the 46th floor in my building had a broken pipe, and water was spewing down the whole building. This flood had forced the temporary closure of all our elevators. I was home with hungry children and dinner time was quickly approaching. I live on the 21st floor so my options were:
A. Walk down to grocery store to buy items and then walk back up and cook.
B. Walk down with children to restaurants below.
Assuming we would even make it, this would cause them to be hungrier and crankier.
C. Order food and make the poor delivery guy walk up to our place.
Tempting…but again not the healthiest option and unsure about delivery time.
D. Look in the old pantry and see what I can whip up.
Walking is not something we do much here in Dubai, and no I will not send my maid down in this heat…so ‘option D’ was the winner.
As I was looking through my well stocked pantry I remembered this past summer when I was visiting my family in California and needed to throw together a quick meal without a trip to the store…I made my version of Shakshuka and everyone loved it. It is traditionally a Middle Eastern breakfast dish of poached eggs in a tomato sauce, but you can enjoy it anytime. You can serve it with Arabic bread, pita, rice, or any bread you have lying around. I like to eat it plain too!
Shakshuka: Poached Eggs in Tomato and Chickpea Sauce
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded, finely chopped (optional- pickled jalapenos in a jar work too)
½ cup of roasted red peppers (optional – I just had these lying around so I added them in)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne or red chili powder (optional or to taste)
2 14 oz. cans of chopped tomatoes
¼ cup toasted pine nuts (optional for garnish)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta (goat cheese or any cheese you prefer)
6-8 large eggs
Small bunch chopped fresh coriander (Or any herb you like – you can keep extra fresh herbs frozen in olive oil or just chopped and frozen in ice cube trays so you have some on hand all the time)
Warm pita bread (or rice or any bread you like)
1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220C). Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeños; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, and cayenne and chickpeas and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
2. Add canned tomatoes and their juices. Add red peppers if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Sprinkle feta evenly over sauce.
4. Crack eggs one at a time and place over sauce, spacing evenly apart. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 5–8 minutes. (I kept mine in for 8 minutes and they were pretty much cooked through. Also it’s better if you keep the eggs on the surface instead of making little wells and letting eggs touch the bottom of the pan otherwise they overcook immediately).
5. Garnish with cilantro and pine nuts. Serve with pita for dipping.
By the way, if you hate eggs, just leave them out! It is delicious without them too.
Shakshuka recipe inspired from Epicurious.