Les Ojja

Ojja and Shakshuka are egg dishes from the North African communities, brought to France and the Middle East. They are typically made with a spicy tomato-based sauce and additions of sausages or other variety meats. This recipe uses Merguez sausage, a highly spiced beef and/or lamb sausage, typical of the Tunisian and Egyptian diet. Other sausages can be substituted with excellent results, or the sausage can be left out for a vegetarian dish.

Ojja makes a quick and filling supper with pita and assorted sliced vegetables, such as cucumbers and peppers. For an extra dish to serve with Ojja, try potatoes with cumin.


Yield: 6 servings

Broil or grill the sausage, blot with paper towel to remove excess fat, and slice into bite-sized pieces. Put the garlic in a large frying pan. Sprinkle it with oil and cook 2-3 minutes over a low flame. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, caraway, harissa, about 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook over medium heat to thoroughly cook the garlic with the sauce.

Crack the eggs over the sauce, and cook until the whites are firm, but the yolks are still soft. At this moment, add the optional merguez, and mix the entire dish together. Cook just another minute so that the Ojja is neither liquid nor dry. Serve immediately.

*Harissa is a North African condiment, available in many Middle-Eastern or French specialty shops. It is a mixture of hot peppers, garlic, salt, and usually oil. Occasionally coriander or other herbs are added to the mixture.

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