scrambled eggs and tomato (juz muz)
Fun to say (“juhz-muhz”) and a cinch to prepare, juz muz is a dish that Mayada turns to when she needs something quick and comforting. “Juz muz is an ‘anytime dish.’ If you’re hungry and you need food, you make juz muz. It’s so easy to prepare—even kids and bachelors can cook it. It’s one of the first things you learn how to make,” she says. Chopped onions are cooked until soft and sweet before eggs and tomato join the mix—it’s as simple as that. For a bigger spread, while waiting for other dishes to cook and finish, it’s easy to throw together juz muz as another addition to the meal (for Mayada, most likely a table already crowded with delicious foods).
A love for similar tomato-and-egg dishes can be found across the Middle East and North Africa, from Turkish menemen to Yemeni shakshuka. Different versions abound, each with its own unique touches and additions that find their way into the skillet: garlic, green chiles or bell peppers, spices such as turmeric, cumin, Aleppo pepper, and allspice, or handfuls of chopped fresh cilantro or parsley. For North African and Israeli shakshuka, the eggs stay whole, nestled in a rich tomato sauce and poached until just set.
Mayada prefers peeling her tomatoes so the dish cooks even faster—plus her kids, especially Jana, like to snack on the peels. Serve your juz muz as is, or even better, with a side of bread.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 1∕4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 3∕4 pounds tomatoes, peeled, cored, and cut into medium cubes
- Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add the onion, cover, and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, until browned around the edges and softened.
- Add the eggs and gently stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until soft curds just begin to form. Stir in 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and half of the cayenne. Continue to cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute more, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are almost set.
- Stir in the tomatoes and season with another 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and rest of the cayenne. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened. Uncover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until some of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt to taste and serve.
“Mayada Anjari’s book is a beautiful testimony to the rich—and often overlooked—cultural contributions that displaced people bring to their country of adoption. More than just a collection of recipes, this book is a cultural artifact that celebrates the power of food to transcend the hardships of refugee life.”
— Pierre Thiam, chef and author of Senegal