Jumbo Shrimp Ojja

Jumbo Shrimp Ojja
Ojja, one of the most misunderstood and delicious dishes there is in Tunisian cuisine. It is sadly often confused or equalized to chakchouka which is incorrect as ojja and chakchouka (shakshuka) are two separate tomato based dishes that share the fact that eggs are cracked into them at the end of their preparation, however they are not at all the same thing. This ojja recipe is from our tata Mounira (one of our two maternal aunts) and is very straightforward. You’ll need the following:

2-3 tbsp Olive oil

4 Roma Tomatoes, diced (375g)

3 tbsp Mild Harissa paste (35-40g)

1.5 tbsp Garlic, minced (25g)

8 Jumbo Shrimp, Shelled & Deveined (175-200g)

3 large eggs

3 tsp Turmeric

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp Cumin


Step 1. In a pan, add the olive oil and minced garlic and bring to a slight simmer. The heat should be medium-low.

Jumbo Shrimp Ojja Step 1

Step 2. Add the harissa paste and stir it in until nicely incorporated into the garlic and oil.

Jumbo Shrimp Ojja Step 2

Note: No salt was added as there is already some in the harissa paste, however you can add more to your liking.

Step 3. Add the diced tomatoes and stir thoroughly, evenly incorporating them into the caramelizing harissa paste and garlic. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes with a lid covering the pan.

Jumbo Shrimp Step 3

Step 4. Add ½ cup of water or more to get a sauce of a consistency to your liking and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.

Jumbo Shrimp Ojja Step 4

Step 5. Add the turmeric and paprika and stir them into the tomatoes which should caramelize for about 5 to 10 more minutes.

Jumbo Shrimp Ojja Step 5

Step 6. Mix the cumin into the sauce and immediately after, carefully add the jumbo shrimps into the simmering sauce and gently push them down into the sauce (without burning yourself please!!) and simmer for 2 minutes.

Jumbo Shrimp Ojja Step 5 and 6

Step 7. Crack the three eggs into the sauce and gently break up the egg whites without breaking the yolks. The goal here is to spread the egg whites and incorporate them into the sauce as much as possible while keeping the yolks intact so that they are perfectly cooked when ready to serve. Once that is done, cover the pan with a lid, bring the heat to low and leave it for 3 minutes.

Jumbo Shrimp Ojja Step 7

Step 8. Your ojja is ready!

Jumbo Shrimp Ojja Step 8

Ojja is usually best enjoyed with Tunisian tabouna, French baguette, or really any kind of bread that can soak up the rich sauce in this dish.

Jumbo Shrimp Ojja

Serves one 🐻 or 👩🏾‍🤝‍👨🏽.