The current economy is taking its toll and no one is immune from its effects. While there are changes in weather and joys in spring, some part of me seems chilled in a grip of melancholy and in my head there’s a strident head-ache. Actually that latter thing could also have a lot to do with the fact that there is intense hammering on the outside of a wall less than two feet away from my head. I woke up to its dulcet tones early this morning and now its 3 pm and I’m thoroughly sick of it. I should be immune to stuff like this, there are days that I work around much louder noises on site. But the build-up has been unbearable. The only thing stopping me from going outside and bopping that construction worker silly with those shingles he’s so busily trying fix on my building wall is the fact that he’s whistling cheerfully. In the gloom and doom of the time we live in, someone is happy, someone is doing a job he loves. What kind of person would want to ruin that for anyone?
It is a good thing that I haven’t been contemplating making a soufflé of any kind. Every time that hammer hits the wall, everything shudders slightly and I’m willing to bet good money that it would fall flatter than that joke I heard last night at dinner. Since I’m home on this somewhat cold Friday and the construction work outside was slowly robbing me of the ability to string coherent thought together, lunch had to be a tried and tested go-to recipe I can make without thinking. The day called for something warming and comforting to warm me and soothe my aching head, so I decided to go with one of my versions of Egg Curry.
Most people think ‘plain’ when they think of a boiled egg but in this recipe it is anything but. This dish is probably part of most of Maharashtrian-Mangalorean households out there. My mom made it whenever she felt she should put some protein in our diet but found herself without any meat in the house. While she considered it somewhat of a filler food and never actually made it as part of a planned meal, I do. My version is a bit different from hers. It can easily be the major portion of a quick and healthy meal and for two people, you need between three and four eggs.
I may have mentioned before that I love eggs. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that I love them in any form. They are great when they are the star of the show or when they are in a supporting role. They sort of share the limelight here with everything else. But for their part, they bring to the dish a contrast of flavour and texture that, if you’ve never had egg curry before, can surprise and delight you. This dish, like several curries, develops layers of flavour over a while. If you can allow it some time to meld better, that would be great. But it is pretty tasty straight off the heat too. Chicken can easily take the place of the eggs here, but the cooking time would be longer and the flavours would differ.
Eggs – 4, hard-boiled
Red Onion – 1, diced
Tomato – 1 large, diced
Ginger – 1/2 tbsp, minced
Garlic – 1/2 tbsp, minced
Potatoes – 2, cut into 1” cubes
Cilantro – 1/2 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint – few leaves, chopped fine
Serrano chilli – 1, finely chopped
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
– Heat the oil in a pan. Add ginger and garlic and saute for a minute
– Add serrano chilli and fry for a few more seconds.
– Add onion and saute till transparent.
– Add the tomato. Add salt, cumin and coriander powders, turmeric and garam masala. Mix to incorporate. Cover and cook until the oil separates.
– Add the potatoes and the chilli powder. Mix to coat the potatoes.
– Add 1 1/2 cup of water and the mint. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer until the potatoes are cooked.
– Peel the boiled eggs and halve them lengthwise. Add them to the curry and mix to coat.
– Top with the chopped cilantro
Serve over rice or with bread.
This dish is very quick, even quicker if you already have boiled eggs on hand (some of my friends do, for salads or a healthy snack in a pinch). It tastes best when eaten on something like rice, couscous or even quinoa. But you can certainly eat it with bread if you can’t be bothered to make anything else with it. The boiled egg mixes well with the curry and the yolk and white each hit a different note as part of it, one warm and one with bite and there is something pleasantly jarring about a boiled egg mixed with the slightly tart taste of the curry. Potatoes sing in any curry and sort of jostle around with the eggs for top billing here. But the eggs win because they bring more to the dish. This is go-to food with soul.
There are many variations of the same basic recipe in Indian cooking. People from different states add different things to make a dish distinctly their own. I’ve eaten another iteration of it in Burmese restaurants here. They make using kaffir lime leaves. I’m sure I’ll post a couple of variations here someday. But they don’t detract from this version of this dish. Every time I make it, I remind Amey of one of his best friends from school, who apparently learned to cook this dish himself at the young age of thirteen. A veritable feat for an Indian boy of my generation. A boiled egg doesn’t have to be plain. And sometimes, it is also evokes memories.