Recipe secrets: Café Loren’s Shakshuka

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The all-day hangout, based in cosy brick arches at Camden Market, has been attracting praise for its simple but tasty signature dish. Here’s how to make it at home


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Husband and wife team Dana and Lee at Camden's Cafe Loren. Photo: Emma Williams
Husband and wife team Dana and Lee at Camden’s Cafe Loren. Photo: Emma Williams
In case you hadn’t heard, Shakshuka is the Middle-Eastern breakfast, lunch or dinner that London has fallen in love with in a big way.

It’s flavoursome, hearty, easy-to-make and relatively cheap too, and the key is in the name, as the word “shakshuka” means to mix or shake up in many North African and Hebrew languages.

So how do you make it? What veg do you use? And what special spices should you be shaking in? We popped down to Camden Market to meet Israeli-born husband and wife duo, Lee and Dana, who have transformed a space formerly known for selling joss sticks and fluro-rave accessories into a welcoming lounge, where you can tap away on your laptop, sip on a coffee and sit and watch the world go by.

The lure of Café Loren is not just the delicious Middle Eastern food they serve, but also the family vibe the staff work hard to create. So we asked them for the secrets of their famous signature dish, and they obliged with two tried and tested versions:

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Homeshuka (Granny’s Recipe)

Cafe Loren's famous Homeshuka. Photo: Emma Williams
Cafe Loren’s famous Homeshuka. Photo: EW
Ingredients (serves 4)Method
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 4 white onions, peeled and diced
• 4 red bell peppers, chopped
• 10 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
• Chilli powder to taste
• 4 tbsp sugar
• 8 eggs
• Salt and pepper to taste
• ½ cup of hummus
• ½ cup of tahini
• Homemade bread
1. Slowly heat the olive oil in a large sauté/frying pan. Add chopped onion and bell peppers and leave to sauté for a few minutes until the veg starts to soften.
2. Put the tomatoes and crushed cloves of garlic into a blender until they’re liquefied, add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the mixture in the pan, along with the sugar, and sauté for a few minutes on a low-medium heat.
4. Stir the sauce in a whirlpool formation, then crack the eggs directly over the mixture, ensuring they’re spaced out evenly.
5. Cover the pan and allow the mixture to simmer for around five minutes until the eggs are cooked
6. Layer a bed of humus on a serving bowl, then pour in the Shakshuka and serve with a generous squeeze of tahini and freshly baked bread – yum!
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Balkan Shakshuka

Shakshuka, Balkan style. Photo: EW
Shakshuka, Balkan style. Photo: EW
Ingredients (serves 4)Method
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 4 white onions, peeled and diced
• 4 red bell peppers, chopped
• 10 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
• Chilli powder to taste
• 4 tbsp sugar
• 8 eggs
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 100g feta cheese
• Handful of fresh parsley
• ½ cup of tahini
• Homemade bread
1. Complete steps 1-5 as per the Homeshuka recipe above.
2. Pour the Shakshuka in a bowl and generously sprinkle on feta cheese and fresh parsley.
3. Serve with freshly baked bread and a pot of tahini.
Portico places logoDon’t feel like cooking? Head to Café Loren and experience their famous shakshuka for yourself. Enjoy 50% off your total bill at Café Loren with a Portico Places card.
To get your free Portico Places card, email places@portico.com with the number of cards needed and your postal address. Portico Places is run by Portico Camden Estate Agents.

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