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Tchouktchouka (Matbucha)


Much better than the store-bought kind, and positively addictive! You can use the leftovers to fill omelets, dress pasta, or replace the tomato sauce on a pizza.



Char the peppers over the flame of the stove until blackened on all sides; place in a plastic bag to cool. (Some people prefer to char the peppers under the broiler; just make sure to watch them closely). The blackened exterior should slip off easily when cooled. Wash peppers well, removing seeds, and cut into dice.


Throw the diced peppers into a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the oil, garlic and spices. Let it simmer over medium heat while you open the cans of tomatoes. Tear the tomatoes into small chunks and add them to the pan.


Once the entire mixture is simmering, reduce heat to low and let it cook, stirring occasionally, for at least two hours, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has darkened in color and looks like preserves.


Serve at room temperature with thick slices of challah.