As a child I was a very picky and difficult to please person. My mother spent hours and hours trying to feed me and make sure that I took all the necessary vitamins and elements for my right upbringing. The range of meals I ate was as limited as counting to ten. Two of the things I ate the most were milk and eggs. I, practically, grew up with these two. I was that skinny, everyone in my extended family was trying to lure me to eat and eat in abundance.
I think that the one person who succeeded in this difficult, I may say, project was my maternal grandmother. As mentioned before, my maternal grandparents were from Asia Minor and when they came here, they brought with them the Middle Eastern kitchen. Her dishes were very rich in flavors and were made with ingredients that added so much taste to them. Every time I visited, she was trying to create something that would go out of the ordinary and be tempting enough to make me eat it.
Strapatsáda is a dish with tomato and scrambled eggs that is eaten in so many countries and has so many different names I wouldn’t dare start naming them. It is a breakfast dish that consists mainly of eggs and a tomato sauce. It is quite a versatile food that can be enriched with almost anything that pairs with those two ingredients and as you can imagine there are quite a few.
When I visited my grandparents, one of the dishes my grandma prepared was that. Only she didn’t make it for breakfast but for lunch. So, she cooked it in a way that resembled more of a lunch meal rather than a breakfast dish.
In Turkish this dish is called Menemen. Menemen is a district of İzmir Province in Turkey and the name of the district’s central town. The district extends on a fertile plain close to Gediz River. Before the Greek defeat from the Turks and the subsequent population clearance the city had 12,000 people of which 6,000 were Greeks. It is only natural to share common food and customs.
Menemen is the equivalent of Strapatsáda in the Turkish kitchen. It is a bit different in the sense that it contains onion and peppers. My grandma used to make Menemen and also she added sucuk sausage. Sucuk is a dry, spicy sausage that consists of ground meat (usually beef and or lamb with several spices such as fenugreek, cumin, sumac, garlic, salt, and red pepper. All these are formed into a sausage that is allowed to dry for several weeks. It can be more or less spicy; it is fairly salty and has a high fat content).
I sometimes miss my grandparents a lot especially my grandmother and I wish she could be here to see what I am cooking in my kitchen. I had one of these moments last weekend and so I decided to recreate my childhood’s dish and see if it continues to be as delicious as I have remembered it. The only thing I made differently was to keep the eggs whole instead of scramble them. I can tell you that, not only did I like it, but this dish found two new fans in my house those be my husband and son. They scooped even the last drop of tomato sauce and asked for more! If you have Middle Eastern grocery close to you do check for this sausage. It has a very unique delicious taste and it is perfect to put it in sauces, add it to pizzas and calzones.
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 3 eggs
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- 3 slices, sucuk sausage or any other sausage, cut in small cubes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- Olive oil for sautéing
- In an oven proof skillet pour a couple of olive oil and in medium heat sauté the peppers and onion until they become soft.
- Add all the rest of the ingredients except the eggs and the parsley and cook in medium heat for about 15 minutes.
- Make three holes and add the three eggs and cook for another 4 minutes.
- Turn on the broiler, put the rack about 15 cm. / 6 in. below it and finish the dish in the oven by broiling it for 1 minute.
- Remove, add the parsley and some salt and pepper on top of the eggs and serve.
- 1 κόκκινη πιπεριά, κομμένη
- 1 πράσινη πιπεριά, κομμένη
- 3 αυγά
- 1 κρεμμύδι, ψιλοκομμένο
- 1 φλ. χυμό ντομάτας
- 1 κ.σ. πελτέ ντομάτας
- ½ φλ. νερό
- 3 φέτες, σουτζούκι, κομμένο σε κυβάκια
- Αλάτι και πιπέρι
- 1 κ.σ. ζάχαρη
- ½ κ.γ. κανέλα
- ½ κ.γ. μοσχοκάρυδο
- 2 κ.σ. ψιλοκομμένο μαϊντανό
- Ελαιόλαδο για το σοτάρισμα
- Σε ένα τηγάνι που να μπορεί να μπει και στο φούρνο ρίξτε λίγο ελαιόλαδο και σε μέτρια φωτιά σοτάρετε τις πιπεριές και το κρεμμύδι μέχρι να μαλακώσουν.
- Προσθέστε όλα τα υπόλοιπα υλικά εκτός από τα αυγά και το μαϊντανό και μαγειρέψτε σε μέτρια φωτιά για περίπου 15 λεπτά.
- Κάντε τρεις τρύπες και προσθέστε τα τρία αυγά και μαγειρέψτε για άλλα 4 λεπτά.
- Ανοίξτε το γκριλ τοποθετήστε τη σχάρα 15 εκ. κάτω από τις αντιστάσεις και τελειώστε το πιάτο στο φούρνο ψήνοντας για ένα με δύο λεπτά.
- Βγάζετε από τον φούρνο και προσθέτετε το μαϊντανό και λίγο αλάτι και πιπέρι πάνω από τα αυγά και σερβίρετε.