Jazmaz, a tradtional Syrian entree made of eggs poached in a chile-tomato sauce, is comfort food at its finest. Made with ingredients that you probably have—eggs, a couple of tomatoes, a handful of spices, and some black olives—we love this any time of day.
Jazmaz, as it is known in Syria, is also popular in Levantine cuisine, where it goes by the name shakshuka. It is a simple dish that could be served at any time of the day—breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. Every family makes it a little bit differently. The differences are small but important: a little bit of extra chile pepper, eggs that range from softly cooked to completely hard-boiled. I like my jazmaz spicy and I eat it the traditional way, with flatbread or, in a modern twist, with baguette.–Anas Atassi
CAN I MAKE JAZMAZ AHEAD OF TIME?
While the beauty of jazmaz and shakshuka is that they’re fast to whip up when hunger hits, there are times when you want to get ahead of the game. Because of the versatility of this recipe, you might want to do a little meal prep for a busy week or an upcoming brunch. The tomato-chile mixture can be made 2 or 3 days in advance and refrigerated, then add the eggs when reheating. Done!
Jazmaz ~ Syrian Shakshuka
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium (6 oz) onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves pressed
- 1 hot chile pepper such as jalapeño or serrano, halved lengthwise
- 3 medium (12 oz) tomatoes diced, juices reserved
- 1 teaspoon paprika not smoked
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 large eggs
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley coarsely chopped
- 1 handful black olives pitted and sliced
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook it with the onion for 2 minutes more, stirring so that the garlic doesn't burn.
- Stir in the chile, diced tomatoes and their juices, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce until it thickens and reduces a bit, about 7 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: If your tomatoes were not particularly juicy and the sauce seems a bit dry, pour in up to 1/4 cup of water.
- With a spoon, make four little wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each so that the sauce surrounds each one. Cover and cook to your desired doneness, about 6 minutes for soft eggs with runny yolks.
- Serve in the skillet, garnished with chopped parsley and sliced olives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This is delicious eaten with warm bread.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Jazmaz is a delicious meal to have as breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. It's quick and simple to whip up at a moment's notice, and sure to please anyone who has the pleasure of eating at your table.
The recipe calls for common ingredients that most of us have on hand, which makes it even more desirable for people like me who cook every meal for the family daily. A couple of adjustments I made were: 1) to add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and 1/4 cup of water to the tomatoes in order to create a sauce (3 tomatoes aren't enough, but 5 or 6 might be) and 2) I used smoked paprika which I wouldn't recommend. To ameliorate that flavor, I used Palestinian 9 spice powder, which is the typical spicing used in this dish. To serve, we ate the jazmaz with crispy roasted potatoes, which I highly recommend.
This is a delicious, fresh-tasting jazmaz. What I love about this type of dish is that there is a myriad of ways you can switch up the base. The quick cooking time really highlights the freshness of the ingredients in this version, bringing to mind the flavors of salsa fresca, but with a touch of richness. The sliced chile added more heat than I expected it to given that it only infused the tomato mixture.
I think this is a better serving for 2 people rather than 4. You get a lot of tomato and onion but I think 2 eggs per person is standard. I served this with a fresh baguette.
I have eaten many forms of shakshuka over the years, but this one for jazmaz really stands out in the "less is more" approach. With no earthy spices like cumin or creamy feta crumbles to cloud the flavor, this version really lets the few ingredients used sing and feels light while still being filling. Even better, these are all ingredients almost anyone could find at almost any market, so anyone could make this at home. All the cooking times were spot on and we had a delicious breakfast served with olive bread in 15 minutes. Absolutely delicious and will be making it again.
I couldn't make up my mind about which paprika to use, so I decided to use all of them: 1/2 tsp hot, 1/4 tsp smoked, 1/4 tsp plain, and I would use this mix again since it allows you to experience the benefit of all of them without going overboard on any one of them. It even compensated for my wildly out-of-season plum tomatoes, which melded perfectly into the sauce, though I did have to add 1/4 cup water to make up for the lack of juices.
Originally published May 23, 2021