I first had shakshuka the morning after a very heavy night before, with a friend who had come to rescue me from the vulgarities of my own hangover. He took me to a café, ordered me shakshuka, and watched, giggling to himself, as I slowly turned from a mumbling wreck into something that vaguely resembled a human being. I have made and loved it many times since, usually in varying degrees of unwellness, both self-inflicted and unfortunately less so. If you need any further convincing, it packs a vitamin C punch from the peppers and tomatoes, and the spices will wake you up and clear out any lurking nasties. As for the egg? Eggs are good for pretty much everything. (Vegans, replace the egg with a tin of chickpeas for the same protein hit but a completely different dish!)

SERVES 2, IF YOU’RE IN A SHARING MOOD, from 49p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change.

1 onion, finely sliced, 5p (54p/1kg)

1 pepper of any colour, deseeded and finely sliced, or frozen ones are cheaper, 20p (£1/500g)

1 tbsp oil, 2p (£1.10/1l)

2 tsp cumin, seeds or ground, 4p (£1.15/100g)

a pinch of salt and a bit of black pepper, <1p

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, 29p

a handful of leafy greens, 6p (62p/500g)

2– 4 eggs, from 30p (89p/6 free range eggs)

a pinch of chilli or paprika, or both, 2p

Chuck the onion and pepper into a pan with the oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until the onions have started to soften, then pour over the tomatoes. Slice and add the greens, if using them. Cook for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to disturb everything so it doesn’t stick and burn.

Crank the heat up high and add a splash of water to loosen the mixture, as the eggs need something to cook in. Kind of like poaching, but not like poaching, because I can’t poach an egg to save my life, hence always cooking them in fancy ways like this. It’s not because I’m actually fancy, it’s because some of the most basic cooking skills are my Achilles heel, and I’m probably never going to get them right. Mix it all well.

When it starts to bubble and splutter, make a gap in the mixture and break in the eggs, one at a time. Cook them for a minute or two, then reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pan (with a lid, tin foil, plate, anything but your hands) and cook for around 5 minutes , peeking halfway through to see that the white is cooked but the yolk is still runnyish with a promise of soft sloppy gorgeousness. Serve, like so many of my recipes, immediately with a sprinkle of chilli or paprika and a good pinch or grind of black pepper.

TIP To make this more substantial , you can serve it on toast, or in a stack of toast, or if you’re impressing someone, grab a small crusty bread roll, gently lop the top inch off, pull out all the bread, and scoop your hot sloppy spicy egg into it to serve . I have done this. They were impressed. I feel duty-bound to pass on these ninja skills. However you serve it, enjoy it – that’s the main thing!
Recipe from ‘Cooking On A Bootstrap’ by Jack Monroe. Like this? Made it? Comment below!
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All text copyright Jack Monroe.