A typical dinner with my family will end with my mom incredulous at how much we were able to eat... as evaluated using the following metrics:
"5 cups of rice today! We ate it all!"
"I used 3.5 cups of flour for the noodles!"
No mention of the meats or veggies, the typical meal centerpieces.
Yeah... for a 4 person household, we eat a lot of carbs. The now-debunked food pyramid is really quite a good outline for the Yan Family nutritional habits. Since moving to California, I've tried to make the switch to high protein/fiber, which makes me the black sheep whenever I go home. Tradition will probably hold firm for the others, though. In the time it would take for the rest of my family to scale back on white rice though, food scientists will have pulled another 180 on us. (Butter is a health food now?)
I think this meal would be well received by all though - carb hoarders and recent carb disavower alike. Whole wheat pita to soak up the delicious tomato-ey and fudgy-yolk goodness of a hearty shashuka? See recipe and pictures below.
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp harissa
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 serrano chili pepper, sliced thinly, seeds removed
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 2-in piece of ginger
- 0.5 lbs ground lamb
- 2 spring onion bulbs (or one medium yellow onion), diced
- 2 bell peppers
- 16 oz of canned tomatoes with juice (see notes - would add more, up to 28 oz can)
- 2 eggs (or more, if using wider pot)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cilantro, to garnish
Roast and char the peppers first - this is optional but I liked the tenderness and flavor. Pierce each pepper with a wooden skewer or chopstick, light gas burners to medium / medium high, and hold over the flame. Rotate periodically, skins will pop and blacken but don't be shy! (Just don't light your chopsticks on fire too often, like I did). 10 minutes of roasting and the peppers should be aromatic and soft. Let cool.
In medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Toast cumin, cinnamon, paprika, harissa until fragrant. Mix in ground lamb and brown for 5 minutes; look for caramelization on the bottom of the pan. Remove lamb and spice mix from heat and set aside.
Lower heat to low / medium low, and add onion. Sweat the onions until fragrant and translucent. I like to really let my onions sit, for ~30 minutes - well worth the wait. Add in serrano chili pepper, garlic, ginger, and bay leaf, and cook about 2 minutes.
Bring heat back up to medium high and stir in the tomatoes. [NOTE: I liked the outcome of the recipe, but craved the extra flavor of canned San Marzano tomatoes - I was using canned local heirloom tomatoes. Maybe if I had used an extra jar? In any case, next time I'd go back to using the 28oz jar of San Marzano. Local be damned....] When tomato mixture starts simmering, add the ground lamb and reserved juices. Slow cook the mixture on medium heat, about 10 minutes.
Crack eggs into ramekins and drop into the sauce one at a time. Spoon broth over the whites, cover, and simmer on low for 30 minutes or until eggs are at desired tenderness.
Serve with pita or crusty grilled bread! Enjoy!