Menemen is a traditional Turkish breakfast recipe made with tomatoes and eggs. Learn how to make menemen at home with a few ingredients.
You can serve eggs in so many ways for breakfast. This Turkish eggs and tomatoes, called menemen is one of our very favorite ways to have eggs for breakfast. Some of our other favorite egg recipes are Persian spinach and eggs (nargesi) and Mediterranean breakfast hash with tahini sauce, which are healthy, fresh, and quite easy to make.
What is menemen?
Menemen, pronounced me-ne-men, is a Turkish eggs and tomato breakfast made in a traditional double handle cooking pan called sahan. This traditional Turkish dish is often served for breakfast, however, it’s also common to serve it as a light meal.
You can find this traditional Turkish breakfast is almost any cafe in Turkey and it’s also very common to make it at home. This dish is usually made with fresh and juicy tomatoes.
Is menemen same as shakshuka?
Tomato based breakfast dishes are very common through the Middle East and Mediterranean regions. However, shakshuka and menemen are two different dishes. We cook the eggs whole in shakshuka whereas for Turkish eggs and tomatoes, the eggs are mixed into the tomato mixture. Moreover, shakshuka contains red pepper but menemen uses green pepper. The combination of spices could vary in both dishes as well. Shakshuka has a Tunisian origin but the other one is from the Mediterranean, influenced by both Turkish and Greek cuisines.
What goes into menemen?
The base of this Turkish dish is fresh tomatoes and eggs. Vegetables such as green onion are often used in this Turkish breakfast recipe as well. You can either chop the tomatoes finely or grate them to make menemen. It’s common to just use salt and pepper as seasoning however some might also use cumin for more flavor.
Onion or no onion?
This has been a debate going on between Turkish food experts for a very long time. Some say that Turkish menemen doesn’t contain onions if it’s prepared for breakfast and can include onion if it’s served as a light meal. Whereas some critics mention that menemen cannot be made without onion. There has even been a poll on Twitter to ask users whether onion belongs to this dish or not and 51% voted that onion does belong to Turkish eggs and tomatoes.
However, I say it’s a matter or personal taste. I have tried several variations of menemen and I prefer making it using finely chopped onion. If you’re not a fan of onion, you can simply leave it out.
What kind of tomatoes should I use?
To make menemen, I suggest you use the tomatoes that are juicy and have a lot of flesh and a few seeds. I like using roma tomatoes but I’ve also found red beefsteak tomatoes to work well in this recipe. Please take a look at this article about tomatoes and their uses for more information.
How to make Turkish eggs and tomatoes
This is one of the simplest breakfast recipes out there. This Turkish tomato and egg recipe is ready in a few steps:
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the onion until translucent.
- Add in chopped green peppers and cook for a few minutes.
- Add in chopped or grated tomatoes. Cook and stir occasionally until they’re broken and some of the excess water is evaporated.
- Season with salt and pepper. Add the eggs into the pan. Cook and stir gently until they’re broken and combined with the tomatoes.
This Turkish menemen recipe is perfect for a nice breakfast or brunch. It’s a delicious and healthy alternative to the usual American breakfast casseroles and can be prepared in less than 20 minutes. Everyone loves the delicious flavor and the best part is that you can serve it right in the pan.
Additions to Turkish tomatoes and eggs
As simple of a dish as menemen can be, there are also other ingredients you can add to make it even tastier:
- Sucuklu menemen: Some Turkish people place sucuk, a dry Turkish sausage, in menemen for more flavor. Saute sucuk in the pan with the onion and pepper, then add the tomatoes and eggs as mentioned in the recipe.
- Kasarli menemen: Kasar (kashar) in a Turkish melting cheese. You can add shredded or sliced kasar cheese to menemen at the very end and give it a stir to melt before serving.
- Menemen with feta: Crumbled white cheese (beyaz peyniri) is also a common addition to this Turkish breakfast recipe. Feta or white cheese is usually sprinkled on Turkish tomatoes and eggs right before serving. If using this cheese, leave out the salt since the cheese itself is pretty salty.
- Menemen with pastrami: A fancier way of making traditional Turkish eggs and tomatoes, pastirmali menemen is another favorite way to make this traditional Turkish breakfast dish. Pastrami is added into the pan with the eggs.
How to serve menemen
Menemen is traditionally served in the same pan its cooked in, which is usually a copper pan with double handles called sahan. However, you can make and serve menemen in any pan. Turkish tomatoes and eggs is commonly served with bread such as simit for breakfast.
Can I make this dish ahead of time?
Unfortunately, no. Unlike many other egg dishes, menemen is best cooked and served right away. You can of course grate or chop the tomatoes, onions and peppers in advance but in terms of cooking, it’s best to cook the dish right before serving it.
Notes and tips to make Turkish menemen
- You can add the eggs directly to the tomatoes or you can whisk them with salt and pepper in a bowl and then add them to the pan.
- Stir the eggs constantly into the tomatoes so they combine completely. Stirring will also prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Make sure not to overcook the eggs. Menemen is not supposed to be dried or crumbled. It’s supposed to have a spreadable texture.
- It’s best to have Turkish eggs and tomatoes fresh. However, you can store the leftovers in an airtight container for up to two days. To reheat, you can either use the microwave or heat in a pan over medium heat.
Menemen Turkish Eggs and Tomatoes Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 4 roma tomatoes finely chopped or grated
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 eggs
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Saute onion until translucent. Add in green pepper and cook until soft.
- Add in the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until they are soft and some of the water is evaporated.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the eggs to the tomatoes. Cook and stir occasionally until the eggs are just cooked and mixed with the tomatoes.
- Serve immediately with bread.
- To make Kasarli menemen, sliced or grated kasar(kashar) cheese to the menemen at the very end and stir gently until it's melted.
- You can make menemen recipe with feta. Sprinkle feta or white cheese on the menemen right before serving.