Menemen is a traditional Turkish breakfast recipe that's so easy to make. This scrambled eggs and tomatoes dish make the best breakfast!
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 Cilbir (Turkish eggs and yogurt), spinach omelette, Italian baked eggs and Mediterranean breakfast hash with tahini sauce, which are healthy, fresh, and quite easy to make.
Table Of Contents:
What is menemen?
Menemen, pronounced me-ne-men, is a Turkish eggs and tomato breakfast made in a traditional small pan called sahan (Pictured below). 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 dish in almost any cafe in Turkey and it's also very common to make it at home. It's usually made with fresh and juicy tomatoes.
Menemen vs 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 in menemen, the eggs are mixed into the tomato mixture. Moreover, shakshuka contains red pepper but Turkish scrambled eggs 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.
Important tips to make the best menemen
- Quality ingredients: menemen calls for a few ingredients and only salt and pepper. Therefore using quality ingredients is crucial to get the best flavor.
- Keep an eye on the eggs: After adding the eggs, you need to stir constantly to combine them with the tomatoes and prevent them from sticking.
- Don't overcook: Menemen should not be dry so make sure it's not overcooked.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Onion: Sweet onion or yellow onion would work well for this recipe. There is an ongoing debate about whether this dish should include onion or not, feel free to leave it out if you don't like onions.
- Bell pepper: Green bell pepper adds such nice flavor to this Turkish scrambled eggs.
- Tomatoes: Fresh summer tomatoes are best for this recipe. You can either chop them finely or grate them. 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. In case red and ripe tomatoes are not available, use canned diced to crushed tomatoes.
- Spices: You only need salt and pepper for this dish and we want to preserve the flavors of the ingredients. However, some would add cumin as well.
- Eggs: It's best if the eggs are at room temperature. Use 1 or 2 eggs per person.
How to make menemen
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté 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. Stir the eggs constantly into the tomatoes so they combine completely. Stirring will also prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Cook for a few minutes until the eggs are set. Make sure not to overcook the eggs. Menemen is not supposed to be dried or crumbled. It's supposed to have a spreadable texture.
There are other ingredients you can add to this classic dish to make it even tastier:
- Sucuklu: Some Turkish people add sucuk, a dry Turkish sausage, to this recipe 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: Kasar (kashar) in a Turkish melting cheese. You can add shredded or sliced kasar cheese (or mozzarella if kasar is not available) at the very end and give it a stir to melt before serving. For a satisfying breakfast, serve with a fresh pide bread!
- 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.
- 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.
This dish is perfect for a nice breakfast or brunch. alongside some cheese, cucumbers, olives and labneh. It's a delicious and healthy recipe that can be prepared in less than 20 minutes.
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 this any pan. This dish is commonly served with bread such as simit for breakfast. I also love serving it with lavash, barbari or Turkish pide bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, no. Unlike many other egg dishes, this one 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.
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.
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.
More Turkish recipes
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Menemen Turkish Eggs and Tomatoes Recipe
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 4 roma tomatoes finely chopped or grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon 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.
- Menemen recipe with feta: Sprinkle feta or white cheese on the menemen right before serving.
- 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.