Menemen or Turkish Scrambled Eggs is a very popular and loved breakfast dish in Turkey. Traditionally, this simple yet delicious egg dish is made with juicy tomatoes, Turkish green peppers and eggs. However, the modern versions might include onions, sucuk (Turkish spicy sausages), cheese or pastirma (air-cured beef).
This Turkish style soft Scrambled Eggs is perfect for breakfast, lunch or even a light dinner. You can put this simple yet extremely delicious Turkish breakfast dish on the table in just 20 minutes. A perfect dish to start your day!
Menemen vs Shakshuka
Menemen and Shakshuka are two different tomato-based egg dishes with some similarities. They both are very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries and have similar key ingredients such as tomato, eggs and peppers.
Shakshuka is a North African egg dish made with tomatoes, peppers (both red and green), onions and various spices&herbs. The eggs are slowly poached in the tomato sauce and left whole and undisturbed.
Menemen is originally from Turkey and traditionally made with Turkish green peppers (or similar), tomatoes, eggs and simple seasoning. The eggs are lightly whisked and gently folded in the tomato sauce.
Why This Recipe Works?
- This traditional Turkish Menemen dish is quick and easy to make with a few simple ingredients.
- It is extremely delicious when served up with some crusty homemade Simit (Turkish Sesame Bagel) or Bazlama (Turkish Bread).
- You can serve these Turkish Scrambled Eggs for breakfast as well as for a light lunch or dinner.
- This simple egg dish is healthy, hearty, filling and so yummy!
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Tomatoes - Fresh, ripen summer tomatoes give the best results. Use the best tomatoes you can find to enjoy this dish all year round. Traditionally, the tomatoes should be grated but you can finely chop them or blitz them in a food processor.
- Peppers - I prefer using Turkish green chillies. They are usually mild but some of them can be quite hot. Although a variety with thin walls like shishito, Padron, or Chinese long green peppers is the best option for menemen, green bell pepper also works, if that’s what you have. Simply wash and slice them.
- Eggs - They are the star of this dish. Use fresh free-range eggs with deep yolks if possible. I use 1 to 1 ½ eggs per portion but you can adjust the amount to your taste.
- Olive oil - Both olive oil and butter are traditionally used in this dish but you can use only olive oil if you want to make your menemen dairy-free.
- Tomato paste - It is optional and only necessary if you don't have juicy red tomatoes.
- Seasoning - I like to keep it simple and traditional but you can add any herbs or spices to your menemen such as paprika, cumin, dried thyme, garlic or chopped parsley.
How to Make Menemen the Traditional Way?
To make traditional Menemen is quite straightforward. However, you need to follow a few simple steps to achieve the best results:
- Prepare your vegetables - Wash the peppers and pat dry them. Slice or dice them around a cm thickness. Cut your tomatoes in halves and grate them using a grater. You can also use a food processor or finely chop them with a sharp knife. They all would give a different texture to your menemen so it is your personal choice how to prepare your tomatoes.
- Cook the vegetables - The key to getting the best flavour is to cook the peppers very gently without burning them. You don't need a huge amount of oil for this egg dish but using a good quality olive oil or butter is essential! Place your sahan pan (a large heavy skillet or pan would work too) on medium heat and add olive oil. Add the sliced green peppers and gently sauté for a few minutes, until slightly softened. Stir in the tomato paste (if using) and cook for a minute before adding the chilli, chopped tomatoes, freshly ground black pepper, and salt, stir well.
- Add your eggs - Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer on low to medium heat for ten minutes, until the tomatoes are cooked. Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the tomato sauce. Cook the eggs gently until they start to set. When the eggs are just set, use a wooden spoon or a spatula to fold the tomato sauce into the eggs and mix gently. Remove the pan from the heat while the eggs are cooked halfway as they will continue to cook in the sauce until you serve it.
There are some ingredients that you can add to your Menemen if you want to customise this classic Turkish breakfast dish to your taste:
- Cheese - Crumbled Turkish white cheese which is very similar to feta is a great addition to this Turkish breakfast recipe. Simply sprinkle it on Turkish tomatoes and eggs right before serving. Reduce the amount of salt as the cheese itself is pretty salty. Grated Kasar (a type of melting Turkish cheese similar to mozzarella) is also a very popular addition to Menemen. Add it at the very end and stir it to melt before serving. You can find Kasar cheese from Turkish or Middle Eastern shops as well as from Amazon.
- Sucuk - This spicy dry sausage is a very popular Turkish breakfast item and some people love adding them into Menemen. Sauté sucuk in the pan with the peppers, then add the tomatoes and eggs as mentioned in the recipe. You can buy sucuk from Turkish or Middle Eastern shops as well as from Amazon.
- Pastirma - It is another favourite ingredient to add to Menemen. Pastirma is a type of air-dried cured beef that is very popular in Turkey. You can either cook it with peppers to add some crunch or add it into the pan with the eggs. Pastirma is available in many Turkish shops as well as on Amazon.
- Flavourings - Garlic and onions are sometimes added to menemen as well as thyme, oregano, fresh chopped parsley, paprika and cumin.
For more delicious breakfast & brunch dishes why not try:
You can prepare this dish a couple of days in advance without adding the eggs. Once the eggs are in the dish, you need to serve menemen right away. As it is a fairly quick dish to prepare, the best is to cook Menemen right before serving it.
This dish is perfect for a Turkish breakfast or brunch table alongside some cheese, spreads, cucumbers, olives, Simit, Cheese Borek, Gozleme (Turkish Pancakes) and plenty of black Turkish tea. Menemen is typically served in the same pan it is cooked in, which is usually a copper pan with double handles called sahan. No need for plates! However, you can make and serve this egg dish in any pan.
There is only 185 kcal in one portion of Menemen!
Top Tip From the Chef
- Menemen is a very simple dish made with only a few ingredients. Use high-quality fresh ingredients if possible.
- Don't overcook the eggs, remove the pan from the heat when the eggs are still a bit runny. The eggs should be soft, moist and pillowy, not dry and crumbly!
I hope you enjoy the process of making this traditional Turkish egg dish as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Menemen - Turkish Scrambled Eggs
- 2 tablespoon good quality olive oil (or butter)
- 4 sliced Turkish green peppers (you can also use shishito, Padron, or Chinese long green peppers)
- 5 tomatoes (grated or finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
- 1 red chilli or flaked chilli (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4-6 eggs (lightly beaten)
- Place your sahan pan (a large heavy skillet or pan would work too) on medium heat and add olive oil.
- Add the sliced green peppers and sauté for a few minutes, until slightly softened.
- Stir in the tomato paste (if using) and cook for a minute before adding the chili, chopped tomatoes, freshly ground black pepper, and salt, stir well.
- Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer on low to medium heat for ten minutes, until the tomatoes are cooked.
- Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the tomato sauce.
- Cook the eggs gently until they start to set.
- When the eggs are just set, use a wooden spoon or a spatula to fold the tomato sauce into the eggs and mix gently.
- Remove the pan from the heat while the eggs are cooked half way as they will continue to cook in the sauce until you serve it.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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