Shakshouka (spicy chicken tagine)

Alan Coxon marries the chicken and egg in this North African dish laden with pungent spices and juicy peppers
By Alan Coxon
Shakshouka (spicy chicken tagine)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the harissa

  • 60 g red chillies, seeds removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

For the chicken

  • 4 small chicken breast fillets, skin removed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 yellow peppers, thinly sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
  • salt andfreshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

For the chickpeas

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 400 g can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • handfuls fresh coriander

Tips and Suggestions

The recipe for harissa paste will make more than you need for this dish, but it is not worth making in smaller quantities, and it stores well in the refrigerator.


1. For the harissa, use a spice mill or small blender to purée the chillies with the garlic, water, salt and spices to form a smooth paste. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. To prepare the chicken, heat the oil in the base of a casserole or tagine. Gently fry the onion and garlic until translucent.

3. Make three incisions on the chicken breasts and toss them with the onions. Add 1 teaspoon of the harissa paste and stir well. Add the peppers, tomatoes and seasoning and mix well. Cover and cook gently for around 6-8 minutes or until the chicken is nearly done.

4. Remove the lid and make four light indentations in the mixture. Break the four eggs carefully into the indentations in the casserole. Season lightly, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Then remove the lid and continue cooking gently until the eggs are done to your liking.

5. Meanwhile, for the chickpeas, heat oil in saucepan. Add the onions and cook until golden brown. Reduce the heat and add the ginger, garlic, chillies and dried spices, and fry for 2 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of water, then stir in the drained chickpeas. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and fresh coriander, mix well and remove from the heat.

6. To serve, sprinkle the casserole with the fresh mint and serve alongside the chickpeas.

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