The base can be prepared a day or two in advance if you want to get ahead. If you do this, just hold back on adding the lemon juice (as well as the eggs) until you are ready to eat. Adding the lemon juice too early to the leaves will cause them to discolour. Chunks of feta dotted on top are a lovely addition here, instead of or as well as the yoghurt. A final sprinkle of za’atar also works really well.
Shatta is on every Palestinian table, cutting through rich foods or pepping others up. Eggs, meat, vegetables: they all love it.
As always with anything being left to ferment, the jar you put your chillies into needs to be properly sterilised. Once made, shatta will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. The oil will separate from the chillies once it’s in the fridge, so just give it a good stir, for everything to combine, before using.
olive oil 2½ tbsp
green shatta 1 tsp (see below), or 1 tsp green harissa, as an alternative
unsalted butter 15g
leek 1 large, halved lengthways and the white parts sliced 2cm thick (180g)
swiss chard 400g, leaves pulled off the stems and chopped into roughly 2cm pieces; stems cut into roughly 2cm dice
spring onions 3 large, thinly sliced (60g)
green chilli ½, finely chopped (5g)
garlic 1 clove, crushed
ground cumin ¾ tsp
ground coriander ¾ tsp
parsley leaves 20g, roughly chopped
dill 10g, roughly chopped
lemon juice 1 tbsp
salt and black pepper
Greek-style yoghurt to serve (optional)
For the shatta (red or green)
Makes 1 medium jar
red or green chillies 250g, stems trimmed and then very thinly sliced (with seeds)
salt 1 tbsp
cider vinegar 3 tbsp
lemon juice 1 tbsp
olive oil to cover and seal
For the shatta, place the chillies and salt in a medium sterilised jar and mix well. Seal the jar and store in the fridge for 3 days. On the third day, drain the chillies, transfer them to a food processor and blitz: you can either blitz well to form a fine paste or roughly blitz so that some texture remains. Add the vinegar and lemon juice, mix to combine, then return the mixture to the same jar. Pour enough olive oil on top to seal, and keep in the fridge.
For the shakshuka, mix 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil with the shatta (or harissa) and set aside.
Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and all the butter into a large sauté pan (for which you have a lid) and place on a medium heat. Once hot, add the leek, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 6 minutes, covered, stirring a few times, until the leek has softened but has not taken on any colour.
Add the chard stems – in batches, if you need to – and spring onions and cook for another 6 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally, until completely softened. Add the chilli, garlic and ground spices and cook, uncovered, for another minute before adding the chard leaves, parsley, dill and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Stir to wilt slightly, then add 100ml of water and cook for 10 minutes, covered, until the leaves cook down and completely wilt. Add the lemon juice, then use a spoon to make four wells in the mix. Crack an egg into each well and sprinkle each one lightly with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook for a final 4 minutes or so, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Dot the shatta-oil mix over the eggs and serve at once, with a spoonful of yoghurt alongside, if desired.