I love-love-love Indian cuisine, and one of the few regrets of my foodie life is that I didn’t discover it until I was well into adulthood. The flavors, the spices, the colors. It’s food I crave, and often.
For a long time, I was too intimidated to try my hand at preparing anything but the most basic dishes — as I suspect many folks are, the first time one eyeballs the often huge list of ingredients, with strange sounding (to Western ears) names. Asafetida, methi seeds (fenugreek), kala jeera (black cumin) — exotic and wonderful, but not exactly staples in the spice aisle at Kroger. The interwebs takes care of sourcing, of course, and I now have a small collection of my favorite Indian spices that get regular work-outs.
I don’t post Indian recipes very often here, because, honestly, despite possession of authentic spices, I know my recipes are not authentic. Although I’m starting to get a feel for what is Northern Indian cuisine versus Southern, I think I’m still rooted in fusion-land with a heavy American influence. I’ll twist the ingredient list in favor of what I have on hand, or what flavors I prefer. I’ll take preparation short-cuts. But, I promise, it’s all in the spirit of great dishes with incredible Southeast Asian flavors.
The first time I heard of egg curry, I fidgeted all week long until I could get behind the stove on the weekend and experiment. Hard-boiled eggs simmering in masala spices, yolks smashed into the tomato curry to thicken and flavor.
Rich and satisfyingly spicy, with a piece of egg in every bite. Definitely my idea of comfort food!
inspired by this recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon green cardamom seeds (or black, in a pinch)
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons garlic paste (or finely minced garlic)
1 tablespoon ginger paste (or finely minced ginger with its juices)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala, divided usage
1 teaspoon curry powder, divided usage (your choice, mild sweet or hot)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 (15 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
6 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
additional salt, to taste
1. Heat the oil in a 5 qt dutch over or stock pot over medium until shimmering. Add the mustard and cardamom seeds. Heat until the mustard seeds begin to snap, crackle and pop (a few minutes). Add the onions and saute until soft and glassy (5 to 8 minutes). Add the garlic and ginger, stirring well into the onions and heating until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Add the tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon each of the garam masala, curry, coriander, cumin, chili powders and salt, plus the 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Stir all ingredients very well, and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the spices give off fragrance. Add 1 can of crushed tomatoes to deglaze the pan, mixing well. Add the remaining can of tomatoes. Bring tomato mixture to a gentle boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the oil begins to form puddles in the tomato sauce, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Slice the eggs in half vertically. Remove the yolks from 4 of the halves and stir them into the tomato curry. Smash them against the side of the pot with a spoon and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes. The tomato curry should be rich and thick. Reduce heat to low and stir in the coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder and cilantro. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.
4. Add the remaining eggs, gently mixing them into the tomato curry (gently enough to avoid dislodging the yolks from their halves). Allow curry to rest over low heat for 5 minutes. Serve over basmati rice or pearl couscous.