Zach Engel

Zach Engel

James Beard Winner and Chef, Galit, Chicago

Shakshukah with Sweet Potatoes


One of Chicago’s favorite chefs, Zach Engel of Galit Restaurant, walks you through this Middle Eastern/North African dish in real time! Get all the tricks to impress your family or guests with this flavorful dish.

If you’re cooking along with us at home, find the ingredient and preparation list below or listen and enjoy for your next meal inspiration. 

For 2-4 people to share


  • Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil, about 1⁄2 cup, divided
  • 1 sweet potato (about 1 lb.), peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 Anaheim or banana pepper (or something mild like red or green bell pepper), sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature

Garnish Options:

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (option of dill, cilantro, thyme, rosemary)
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 avocado, sliced, optional
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
  • Good bread, for serving, such as pita bread, challah, focaccia
  • Hot sauce, optional
  • Large, 12” skillet with lid (or baking sheet to cover as a lid)
  • Fish spatula/perforated spatula
  • Paper towel lined plate
  • High-heat rubber spatula


Place the pan over high heat and add 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil. While the pan is heating up, season the sweet potatoes with salt. When the oil is hot, add the sweet potatoes and turn down heat to medium. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until they are well-browned all over.

Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, remove them to a paper towel lined plate. Wipe the pan clean, if needed, and add the remaining olive oil- enough to fill the pan 1/4 inch. Over high heat, add the cherry tomatoes and turn heat down to medium making sure not to touch them for one minute. They’ll burst so be careful of splattering oil. Gently stir and season with salt. Add the onions and peppers, season with salt and stir every now and then for 2-3 minutes to caramelize, until they become opaque. If the pan seems dry, add a bit more oil.

Turn heat down to low and add the garlic. Stir for 10-15 seconds to cook and prevent from burning and add the crushed tomatoes. Gently stir everything around and let lightly simmer. Add the sweet potatoes back into the sauce and cook until the mixture is reduced and thickened, about 5-10 minutes, or until it is more of a custardy, jam-like consistency.

Using the back of a spoon, make four little divots or wells in the sauce. Crack the eggs into each divot/well, cover and turn the heat to low. Cook until the whites are solid and cooked through, but the yolks are still runny, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Garnish each egg yolk with flaky sea salt and sprinkle the herbs and green onions over the entire pan. Add avocado and feta, if using.

Serve immediately with hot sauce and bread to soak everything up!


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