This version of the classic baked egg dish is served with a scattering of creamy feta and a generous dollop of parsley pesto making it the perfect bunch dish.






Skill level

Average: 2.7 (19 votes)

The origin of this famous dish of eggs poached in a flavoursome cumin- and paprika-spiced tomato and capsicum sauce is widely disputed and there are as many versions of it as cooks that have embraced it from North Africa to the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

You can thin the pesto with a little more olive oil or even a little water if you prefer yours a drizzling consistency.


  • 6 eggs, chilled
  • 100 g soft feta, coarsely crumbled
  • warm pita bread and coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve

Tomato and capsicum sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion and diced
  • 1 red capsicum, seeded and diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 400 g cans diced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp sugar, or to taste
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Parsley and almond pesto

  • 1½ cups (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves and chopped tender stems
  • 1 cup (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 40 g (¼ cup) toasted blanched almonds
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 100 ml olive oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. For the tomato and capsicum sauce, place the oil, onion and capsicum in a medium frying pan (see Note) or saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes or until tender.
  3. Add the cumin, chilli flakes and paprika and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until reduced to a good sauce consistency, breaking up the cherry tomatoes with the back of a spoon if using. Stir through the sugar, taste and season with salt and pepper. And more sugar if needed.
  4. Meanwhile, for the pesto, combine the parsley, basil, almonds, garlic and olive oil in a blender or the bowl of a small food processor. Process in 5 second bursts, scraping down the sides when necessary, until well combined and smooth. Taste and season well with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. If not using an ovenproof frying pan, transfer the sauce to a 1½ litre (6 cup) capacity ovenproof dish and spread over the base to cover. Use the back of a spoon to make 6 deep indents in the sauce. Crack the eggs into a small dish, one at a time, and then gently slide into the indents, being careful not to break the yolks and gently pushing the sauce away to help the eggs sit neatly in their indents.
  6. Bake for 12-18 minutes or until the eggs are just cooked and are still slightly soft in the centre. The baking time of the eggs will depend on the pan or dish you are using and the temperature of the sauce when you first added them.
  7. Serve immediately sprinkled with the feta, parsley and a grind of pepper, with the pesto and pita bread on the side.



If using an ovenproof frying pan, you can make the sauce and then bake the eggs in the same pan.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.