Before the recipe, let me share an update:
How to sum up this pandemic experience?? At the time of this writing it is December 2020. Israel has been in and out of total lockdown since last February. Restaurants and gyms have been closed since July. Our borders are not entirely closed, but flights to anywhere are extremely limited and require a 14 day quarantine on return. Over 3,000 Israelis have lost their lives to Covid-19 (total population 8.6 million).
Throughout the world, 1.7 million have died and many more have become ill. Scores of people are in desperate financial circumstances. Others are struggling mentally with the effects of stress and isolation. There has been extreme social and political unrest in many places in the world, Israel certainly included.
With all of that in mind, it is somewhat awkward for me to admit that for me personally, this has been a mostly positive time. My husband works in the pharmaceutical industry so was classed as an essential worker. I was able to pivot my personal training business onto Skype and Zoom. I did initially lose some clients who didn't want to train that way, but the ones who made the transition are still going strong, training online with me, maintaining their fitness and strength while giving us time together to connect in a much more personal way, ironically, than we ever did in person. New people have started training with me online, and now that we are allowed, I am training several people outside each week (with masks of course). I know how fortunate I am.
My youngest son in the army did catch Covid, but his symptoms were mild and he recovered. My older son, who lives in the US, we have now not seen in over a year. THAT hurts. But he lives near my parents and has been a crucial help and support to them, for which my siblings and I are grateful. I miss him terribly though and can't wait until we can reunite.
Like most people I have spoken to, this experience has been many different things to me. Before the very first lockdown, life for many of us was overfull. It was almost as if we were afraid to ever be idle. Being so busy all the time, doing all the things, perhaps we now realize was a distraction to keep us from to truly having to face ourselves, our families, and our lives. When the world came to a screeching halt, it was as if we all were forced to take a long look in the mirror, and many didn't love what they saw there. In the quiet months that followed, we have had the chance to reconnect to ourselves and to our nuclear families. We have had time to really think about the lives we are living and to become very aware of how short those lives can be. When things go back to "normal" I truly hope we will hold on to our newfound realizations and not just rush back into the broken world we had previously created.
For me, this time has been a gift above all value. I will forever be grateful for 2020's gifts of space and quiet that allowed me deep rest and and even deeper contemplation. I don't know yet who I will be when this is over, as things are still unfolding, but I like this me much better than the pre-Covid version. Hopefully I will write more about my own changes in upcoming posts.
Lastly, before I get to the recipe, I want to share my wishes for you that you are all well and your loved ones are well. For those who are struggling through these extremely difficult circumstances, I send you all the strength and blessings for better times ahead.
One of the things lockdown has gifted me is all this time for cooking! I am really loving trying out new recipes. Before Covid I kept to strict meal planning and I basically ate the same things all the time. In our quarantine hours, I have written 2 cookbooks! - one of my family's favorite recipes and one of my own personal vegan favorites. They have Table of Contents and everything! I wrote them in Google drive and shared them with my kids so we all have an easy copy of our favorites, as well as a lasting snapshot into our family's life. I LOVE having all my recipes in one place and not scattered in a million notebooks and cookbooks. Almost every day I try a new recipe and if it's good, straight into the cookbook it goes. Pinterest has been instrumental in finding and deciding what to cook and I spent a lot of time organizing my account to be exactly what I want. You can view my Pinterest HERE if you want to see what I've done.
Now, I have always wanted to try making Vegan Shakshuka. The ones you get in most restaurants here are usually just tofu cubes in spicy tomato sauce. No! I wanted one that was like fried eggs, floating in a spicy sauce. This recipe is not original to me. I looked at many different ones before riffing off on my own, as I always do. But I wrote it down for you!
For the "egg":
1 cup (150g) Red Lentil Flour
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp Black Salt (this is optional but it gives a sulphur-ish, eggy taste)
salt and pepper to your taste
1 cup water
For the sauce:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno or chili pepper of your desired spiciness, finely chopped
100g (3.5oz) tomato paste
400g (14oz) canned or fresh crushed tomatoes
1 tsp smoked or hot paprika (you can use sweet paprika if you don't like spicy)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sugar
lots of salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste
Chopped parsley and/or cilantro for garnish, optional
Crumbled vegan feta cheese for garnish, optional
Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion and pepper until soft.
Add the garlic and and the spices and sauté for a few minutes more.
Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and sugar and stir until combined. If you want the sauce a bit thinner, feel free to add water. It will thicken as it cooks.
As the sauce is simmering away, make the "eggs" by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
With a large spoon, drop the egg mixture on top of the simmering sauce, into about 4-5 "egg" portions. It will immediately start to set just as real eggs would.
Cover the pan, lower the heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the lid, and sprinkle with chopped parsley and/or cilantro as desired.
You can also sprinkle some vegan feta crumbles on top for an added treat.
Serve by scooping an "egg" along with some sauce onto each plate. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge and reheated in the microwave.