The Tunisian Ojja or known as the Ojja of Merguez, is one the traditional dishes in Tunisia. It’s a spicy dish with eggs as main ingredient, necessarily as the word “Ojja(عجة)” means omelet in Arabic.The preparation of Ojja is very easy, since eggs are added to a hot sauce of tomatoes with Merguez, seafood, or even chicken.
Some call it Ojja, some call it Shakshukah but the Ojja differs as Shakshukah contains onions contrary to Ojja, and the eggs for the ojja are beaten into the sauce where they’re poached in the Shakshuka recipe.
Ojja is an egg dish cooked in a hot tomato sauce. There are many recipes from the simplest with only eggs, tomato paste, harissa and garlic to Ojja with Merguez, seafood, potatoes, chicken, …. often spiced with caraway.
There are so many ways to make Ojja, we choose to cook the Ojja with Merguez, hot peppers and potato.
Tunisians love the Harissa-style dishes and Ojja is not an exception. But if spicy dishes are not your thing, you can replace the hot chili pepper by red pepper and the harissa paste by a tomato paste.
Generally, Ojja is spiced with ground caraway seeds but you can use cumin or coriander or even a mix of the three.
In our recipe, we used Merguez, which is a red spicy mutton or beef-based fresh sausage from Maghrebi cuisine. But if you don’t have Merguez, you can replace it with any sausage that you like. You can replace it with seafood, chicken, or any other meat or even omit it.
We’ve also chosen to cook the eggs with the Shakshukah style by poaching them into the sauce.
- 4 eggs
- 4 merguez (sausage)
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 green pepper
- 1 red hot chili pepper
- 1 potato small
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup water
Spices and condiments
- 1 tbsp harissa
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds grounded
- 1 tbsp parsley for garnish
PREPARING THE INGREDIENTS
- Start by rinsing the tomatoes, the green pepper, and the hot chili pepper.
- Dice the tomatoes, the green pepper and hot chili pepper.
- Mince the garlic cloves.
- Peel the potato and cut it into cubes.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes in a deep pan.Add the finely chopped garlic and sauté for 2 minutes over low heat.
- Add the pepper and chili and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and spices (salt, black pepper and caraway), mix and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, the harissa paste, the diced potato and the water.
- Mix, bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.
COOKING THE MERGUEZ AND EGGS
- Add the merguez cut in 3 and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Using a spatula, make holes into the sauce and add the eggs one by one.
- Cook over low heat until the egg whites coagulate.
- Garnish the Ojja with parsley and serve it hot.