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Spiced tomato scramble

This is one of the most iconic Turkish egg dishes and its name appears to have been derived from the Greek word menemenos, meaning to “flood” or “overflow.” This makes sense when you see a pan of menemen with its eggs flooded in juicy, sweet tomatoes, just waiting for you to scoop up with some freshly baked Pide ekmek.

Just to clarify, before you find yourself saying it, this is not a Turkish version of shakshuka. All countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East have their own versions of eggs cooked in tomatoes, and it does a disservice to the many food cultures of the region to lump them all together. Anyway, you don’t need to get into regional politics over breakfast; just serve this with toasted bread, feta, and maybe a few slices of fried sujuk sausage and everyone will be happy. You can make the tomato sauce ahead of time too; it keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.



  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (around 3-1/2 oz/100g)
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes (total weight about 1 lb 5 oz/600g)
  • 1 fat garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pul biber (Aleppo pepper), plus more (optional) to serve
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • Leaves from a few herb sprigs, chopped, such as parsley, cilantro, or chives (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Melt the oil and butter in a sauté pan or deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. To do this, use a knife to cut a cross into the top of them (where the stem was), then pop them into a bowl of just-boiled water. After two minutes, fish them out and you should be able to peel the skins off easily. If not, pop them back in the water for another minute. Once you’ve skinned the tomatoes, very finely chop them.
  3. Once the onion is soft and golden, add the garlic and red pepper and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, paprika, pul biber, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and cook for another five minutes, uncovered. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally so it cooks evenly.
  4. Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork. Then add these to the pan of tomatoes and increase the heat a little. Let the eggs cook for one minute, then mix them in with a wooden spoon for three to four minutes until just set.
  5. When the eggs are ready, serve them immediately with toast, a little sprinkle more pul biber if you like your eggs with some kick, and some chopped herbs, if you have any around.

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