Baked Bean Shakshuka

Ed Thomson

Serves 4-6 people

I love a lazy weekend brunch with friends and family. Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern breakfast dish thought to have originated from Tunisia. Shakshuka means ‘all mixed up’ and is essentially a thick tomato and vegetable sauce, cooked in the largest frying pan you have with eggs dropped into it and simmered gently. The pan is then topped with lots of delicious flavour bombs and served with bread.

This recipe is actually a two for one. Baked beans and Shakshuka. Our family loves baked beans and I have finally perfected my Sri Lankan ingredient version. I hope you enjoy them regardless of your country of residence.

When your eggs are perfect, you can ‘pimp’ your shakshuka any way you like.

Cheese and curd options: crumbled feta, labneh, goat’s cheese, drizzled yoghurt, curd.
Heat: chilli flakes, powder, chopped red or green chillies, sambol.
Fresh green herbs: coriander, parsley, mint, basil, spring onion tops, spinach leaves, kale leaves.

I recommend serving it with the pita bread and the labneh. (recipes here at the Thambilis and Tantrums blog). Crunchy buttered toast, flat bread, paratha, focaccia also work well, whatever you have to soak up the delicious runny yolks and sauce.

Super Tip You can make the baked bean recipe a day or so before and even double the recipe and freeze half in air-tight containers. The bacon is optional to this dish, feel free to omit. Don’t forget to soak the cow peas or dried bean of your choice, overnight and pre-cook them. Alternatively, you can use two 400gm cans of any bean for this recipe.

Baked Beans

  • ½ tspn Cumin seeds
  • 4 tbspn Olive oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 Onion or 2-3 leeks, chopped finely
  • 150gm Bacon, cut into matchsticks, optional ingredient
  • 1 tbspn Paprika or smoky paprika
  • ½ tspn Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbspn Dijon Mustard
  • 1 x 400gm can Tomatoes, crushed
  • ½ cup Kithul treacle or maple syrup
  • 2-3 sprigs Rosemary or thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Dried cowpeas or other dried pulse, soaked overnight & cooked until tender approx. 1-2 hours or 2 x 400gm canned bean of your choice


6-8 Free range eggs

Cheese topping of your choice: crumbled feta, labneh, goat’s cheese, drizzled yoghurt, curd.

Heat of your choice: chilli flakes, powder, chopped red or green chillies, sambol.

Fresh green herbs of your choice: coriander, parsley, mint, basil, spring onion tops, spinach leaves, kale.

Squeeze of lemon or lime – lovely to add a bit of zing.

Bread of your choice


This dish is best made in a heavy based medium sized frying pan which has a lid.  If you don’t have a lid, you can use a larger lid from another pot or a baking sheet/tray. More about that later.

Set your stove to a medium heat on the widest burner as you want the eat to be even throughout the whole diameter of the frying pan.

Add the cumin seeds and dry roast until fragrant.  Add the olive oil, garlic, onion or leeks. Cook for 8-10 minutes until soft and translucent.  Add the bacon and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the mix from catching but gaining some colour and crispiness.  Add the paprika, turmeric and mustard. Stir through and cook for another 5 minutes.  At this point you should have a smoky and sweet onion flavoured mix.  

Add the tomatoes, fill the empty tin with water and swish out any remaining tomato and the water into the pan.  Add the treacle, herbs and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.  Stir until combined, then add the cooked beans. Cook for as long as you have time 5 minutes to two hours.  If the mix gets a little dry or too thick, add some more water.

This is when you put the beans in the fridge for another time or you add the eggs….

Before you drop the eggs into the pan, have the toppings of your choice ready and the bread on the table.  It is best to eat the shakshuka when the yolks are still a little runny…if you like them that way.

Let’s do this!  Ensure your sauce is well mixed and hot. The heat of your stove needs to be set to medium.

With the back of a large spoon, create egg sized holes into the sauce. Crack and egg into each one.  If you are not so confident with the cracking or the quality of your eggs, you can crack the eggs into a little dish first then slip them into the pan but work quickly.  Take care to not break the yolks.

You can push the eggs or sauce around a little to even them out at this point.  Put on the lid or the baking sheet/tray over the pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes. The lid keeps the hot air inside the pan and cooks the eggs from the top. 

After 5 minutes, check the status of the eggs and the yolks, give the pan a jiggle.  If still clear, cook for another 3-5 minutes with the lid on or off, whatever you think works best until they are cooked to your liking.


Pimp up your pan with the cheese, heat and herbs. Enjoy.

Photography: Ed Thomson
Stylist: Ed Thomson
Props: by stylist

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