Mexico vs Saudi Arabia – Brunch Time!

Click here to go to printable recipe:  Drowned Eggs – Huevos Ahogados  

Click here to go to printable recipe:  Middle Eastern Poached Eggs – Shakshuka

As the FIFA World Cup 2022 continues, for Mexico’s games during the first phase of the event, I have tried to find dishes from each opponent, with similar ingredients as a traditional Mexican dish.  Then, I prepared one batch of each, and they were tested by my family, next to each other. From the results of the culinary match, I have made predictions for the outcome of the corresponding soccer game. First, Mexico’s “Horseman Style Beans” won over Poland’s “Beans a la Brittany” by a good margin, so I predicted the score Mexico 4 – Poland 3; the actual final score was 0 – 0.  In my previous post, Mexico’s “Raw Salsa Verde” and Argentina’s “Chimichurri Parsley Sauce” got equal points, and so I predicted a tie, Mexico 1 – Argentina 1; the actual final score was 0 – 2. 

The third game for Mexico is against Saudi Arabia; for my culinary match, I chose Shakshuka to represent Saudi Arabia.  Although their national dish is Al Kabsa (chicken and rice), I decided to go for a more cosmopolitan dish, popular in all of the Middle East, and North Africa.  The general description of Shakshuka “eggs poached in a tomato and onion sauce with spices”, may also be aptly applied to the Mexican contender for this match, known as huevos ahogados (“drowned” eggs).

“Drowned” Eggs – Huevos Ahogados

 Printable recipe:  Drowned Eggs – Huevos Ahogados

These eggs used to be a staple on hotel brunch menus, but nowadays, it is mostly at small countryside restaurants where they are still served.

Ingredients

3-4 large eggs
2 tomatoes; washed
1-2 fresh jalapeño peppers; washed
½ onion; peeled and cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic; peeled
2 tbsp oil
1 small bunch cilantro; washed, and chopped
1 cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste

Roast tomatoes in a dry pan (no oil) over medium heat; turn them to char all around (tatemar): 

Remove stem spot and chop coarsely, then add to a blender jar, with their juices, along with the onion and garlic:

Process until smooth:

Add oil to the pan and return to medium heat; pour sauce, it should make a sizzling noise as it touches the hot oil:

Fry, stirring, for two to three minutes.

Add water to the blender jar, to collect any remaining sauce; then add to the pan:

Stir sauce and water, bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook another couple of minutes, then add cilantro and peppers:

Season with salt and pepper, to taste, stirring.

Crack eggs into the pot, nesting in the sauce, evenly distributed so they do not touch.  Cover pan:

Cook for three to five minutes, checking occasionally, until eggs are set, from tender to firm, to taste:

Serve immediately, in clay bowls, with lots of sauce “drowning” the eggs:

Middle Eastern Poached Eggs – Shakshuka

Printable recipe:  Middle Eastern Poached Eggs – Shakshuka

Shakshuka gets its name from the Arabic word shakka, which means “to stick together,” referring to how the eggs become melded into the sauce, as they are poached.   The exact country of origin remains disputed, but most historians and chefs grant the cradle of this dish to the region of North Africa. Two of the main ingredients in the sauce are tomatoes and peppers, which were introduced from Mexico after Spanish explorers and conquerors brought them to the Old World in the 16th century.  Shakshuka is also popular all throughout the Middle East, including of course, Saudi Arabia, and also Israel, where it was introduced by Sephardic Jews from Tunisia, other regions of the Middle East, Spain and Portugal.  

Ingredients

3-4 large eggs
2 cups tomatoes; washed, peeled, stem spot removed, and diced
½ red bell pepper; washed, stem and seeds removed, and chopped
½ onion; peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic; peeled and chopped finely
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small bunch parsley; washed, tough stems removed, and chopped
1 small bunch cilantro; washed, and chopped
Water, if needed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Warm up oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add red peppers and onions, and sauté:

Once onions have become translucent, add garlic, paprika, cumin and cayenne: 

Allow spices to bloom for a few seconds, then add tomatoes, with any of their juices:

Cook for ten minutes, stirring and pressing the tomatoes with the back of the spoon, to break them up; if the sauce becomes too dry, add a little water, as needed:

Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then create round wells with the spoon, to nest the eggs in; reduce heat to a simmer, and cover pan:

Check every couple of minutes, until the eggs are cooked, from tender to firm, to taste.  Top with chopped cilantro and parsley:

Serve immediately in bowls, with a generous portion of sauce:

Both dishes were teeming with aromas and beautiful looks that were hard to resist.  Three testers tried the dishes side by side. Results of the culinary match: Tester 1 thought the sauce in the Mexican dish was too close to regular salsa, and preferred the more complex flavour and thicker sauce of the Shakshuka.  Tester 2 is generally not a big fan of red peppers, and truly loved the charred notes in the Mexican ahogados.  Finally, tester 3 loved the rich flavours in Shakshuka, but chose the smoother, brothy consistency of the sauce in the Mexican dish, as well as the perfectly balanced combination of tomatoes, and jalapeño peppers.  Total scores: Mexico 2 votes, Saudi Arabia 1 vote.

For my guess for the soccer match, I have to declare a close win for Mexico then, with a direct score from the votes, Mexico 2 – Saudi Arabia 1. The match will take place on Wednesday November 30, 2022, starting at 2:00 pm Eastern Time.   In the same group, since Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina 2-0, and then Poland defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0, Poland stands as leader with 4 points, followed by Saudi Arabia and Argentina, with 3 points, each, and Mexico in a dare position at the bottom, with 1 point.  The qualification round might get a little convoluted, becoming a lichen-like structure of mutual interactions and branching.  Mexico for sure needs to win against Saudi Arabia to even have a chance to go to the next phase.  If that happens, that result, combined with a win by Poland against Argentina, will place Mexico in a safe second place; a tie would eliminate Mexico, and finally, should Argentina win, it will come down to counting goals, with Poland and Mexico tied in second.  Conversely, in some instances, Argentina and Poland would need Mexico to win or tie, preventing the Saudis to climb to the top of the group.  Please feel free to comment and give your own predictions on what you think will be the result of this or any other game of your interest.


And about Canada: The only time Canada had been at a (men’s) World Cup was in 1986, when Mexico last hosted the event; the two countries won the bid to co-host the Cup in 2026, along with the USA. This time around, Canada is back in the World Cup arena, in group F. Their first match resulted in a loss against Belgium 0-1.  Canada’s second match was against Croatia, for which I proposed a culinary match between Canadian Seafood Chowder and Croatian Octopus Peka; I predicted the score Canada 2 – Croatia 1.  Canada scored first, early on the game, but the defense could not keep up with the Croatian attacks, ending with a loss Canada 1 – Croatia 4.  Sport victories are all relative, though, and the Canadian team made a little history of their own, as they scored their first-ever goal in a World Cup.

Canada’s third match is against Morocco, on December 1, 2022. Which country would get your vote? Let’s say the culinary match is between dishes with couscous: a couscous salad with Canadian steak vs a classic Moroccan beef tagine.  Although I make couscous salad all the time, North African stews on couscous are amongst my very favourite dishes, so I am guessing a score Canada 1- Morocco 3.     


I am joining Fiesta Friday # 461 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday.


I am also sharing my recipe at What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up #396 with Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome


I am bringing my recipe to Full Plate Thursday #618 with Miz Helen @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.


I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #569, with Bev @ Eclectic Red BarnPam @ An Artful MomKatherine @ Katherine’s CornerAmber @ Follow the Yellow Brick HomeTheresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.

4 thoughts on “Mexico vs Saudi Arabia – Brunch Time!

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