Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 4
(Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times)

In a very large pan, dry-roast the cumin seeds over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil and onion, and saute for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and cilantro, and continue cooking over high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are colored, 5 to 10 minutes.


Add the tomatoes, saffron and cayenne, and season with one-half teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste. Reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed so the mixture has a pasta sauce-like consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. (You can prepare the pepper mixture up to a couple of days in advance; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.)


Remove the bay leaves, then divide the pepper mix among four small, deep frying pans, each large enough to take a generous individual portion. Place them over medium heat to warm up, then make two gaps in the pepper mix in each pan and carefully break an egg into each gap. Sprinkle with salt and cover the pans with lids. Cook over very low heat until the eggs are just set, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately.

Adapted from “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi. Muscovado sugar can be found at cooking and baking supply stores as well as at select gourmet markets, and is widely available online.

S. Irene Virbila is a former restaurant critic and wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times. She left in 2015.
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