A delicious scrambled eggs recipe from Turkey that includes onions, peppers, tomatoes a few spices and occasionally cheese and other cured meats. It is an easy meal to whip up from your pantry ingredients.
Another Turkish recipe coming right after simit ! No, I am not packing up and moving to Istanbul. When one is ‘social distancing’ and staying home it is good to have a little adventure at the dinner table. When you can’t go out and enjoy the world, lets create an enjoyable world in our little spaces.
Social distancing and the related safeguards have its repercussions, scarcity of the things that one has taken for granted is one among them. The main ingredients of this recipe are onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggs, and a few spices. All freely available usually and mostly available in the stores where I live. Now if you don’t have fresh produce then substitute canned ones .
No Fresh tomatoes ? Tomato sauce and canned peppers work great in this recipe. No onions? No problem, just leave it out. No eggs? Well, unfortunately, I can’t help you there. A vegan version of this recipe is not a challenge I plan to tackle. You see I love this as is.
The recipe is written for an urban pantry, but if you are lucky to have more Turkish or middle eastern ingredients in yours use them by all means. Regular fresh ingredients work best, but use whatever best substitutes that you can find.
A bowl of eggs with veggies and spices packs much more nutrition that a bowl of cereal, not to mention that it is real food! Add a piece of bread to scoop it up, and a drink to wash it all down and you are ready to start the day.
Cultures around the world have their own version of eggs cooked this way with very similar ingredients. I expect that we will be trying out quite a few before long, as we haven’t had a shortage of eggs so far.
I find these recipes much more interesting than plain eggs – though I must admit there are times when just the plain toast, scrambled eggs with salt and pepper and a cup of strong coffee sounds like heaven. Home quarantine is not one of them 😉 at least for us.
Here is a rundown on the ingredients and substitutions
Use sweet onions, the predominant flavor is that of the tomatoes and peppers, but onions play the role of the priest in a marriage. You could feel the divine blessing missing without it or not depending on how you feel about the priest/rabbi/shaman or onions. The point is to use onions if you like them and if you have them in your pantry. Sweet onions shallots or boiler onions are fine too.
The peppers used, Sivri Bibir or Aleppo pepper and the like, are not easily available in our markets. These are mildly spicy, less spicy than jalapeno peppers. You could substitute deseeded banana peppers or a mix of green bell pepper and jalapeno or whichever chilies you have. I prefer to have the taste of peppers rather than the heat. So it is green bell peppers for us.
Fresh sweet and meaty tomatoes are the best in this recipe. If not available use canned tomatoes or even marinara sauce. Again this is not one of those recipes where everyone has a favorite version. So go with your gut or tastebuds in this case
This dish does not need a lot of spices. A dash each thyme, oregano, and paprika are what I added. Fresh herbs like parsley or chives can be added at the end as well.
Making Menemen consists of 2 steps
- Make the sauce
- Add the eggs
In a shallow pan, onions are cooked with a little oil until soft. Add the peppers, tomaotes, and spices to the onions and cook covered until tomatoes are soft. Give it a mash taste and adjust the spices. The eggs are broken right on top of this mix. Once all the eggs are added, using a spoon stir and break the yolks. Cover and cook for a minute or two until the eggs are barely set.
Wasn’t that easy !!
You can stir in feta cheese, olives, capers or cured meat at the end as well. I prefer mine just the way the recipe here is written.
When fresh tomatoes are not available canned tomatoes or tomato based sauces like marinara can be used. If using sauces adjust salt and spices accordingly.
- 4 Eggs
- 1 Onion small, Diced
- ½ Bell pepper Diced
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Large Tomato 2 small
- ½ tTp Dried Oregano
- 1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme
- ½ Tsp Paprika
- Sea salt and Pepper To Taste
- Chop the onions, and tomatoes fine. Deseed the peppers and chop into small pieces. Heat oil in a large saute pan. Add onion and saute over medium heat for a few minutes until softened. Sprinkle a little salt on top and add the peppers and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and spices. Stir. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes become hot and mushy. Uncover and mash the tomatoes gently with the back of a ladle. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low.
- Break the eggs one by one into this thick sauce. Use the spoon to break the yolks and lightly stir the eggs into the tomato mixture. Place the lid back on and cook over medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the eggs are barely set (Note). Turn off the heat. Let it rest for a few minutes to finish cooking.
- Serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh herbs, cheese or chili flakes.
Turn off the heat when the eggs are a little underdone than you prefer as the eggs will keep cooking for a little while in the hot sauce.
More egg dishes
- Egg Drop Curry – Poached eggs in south Indian style coconut curry
- Shakshuka – Poached eggs in tomatoes, paprika, olives …
- Egg Puffs – Hard boiled eggs and spiced onion mix in puff pastry …
- Kicked up Deviled eggs – Nothing tame about these deviled eggs …