I love eggs in all manner. When I was young, my dad would soft boil eggs and we’d eat them together in egg cups. He showed me how to tap the top with the back of a spoon and peel back some of the shell to reveal the soft, jiggly insides. Then we’d sprinkle in some salt and pepper and eat them up. Those were fun times, the days before people watched their cholesterol levels and eggs became ‘bad’ food.
Recently, eggs have made sort of a comeback. There’s a crisp fried egg atop all kinds of foods. Poached egg tutorials are popular, as is the soft-centered eggs enjoyed with Ramen (boil them for 6.5 minute only!). The French omelet is something I mastered for an egg-cellent banh mi sandwich. A couple weeks ago, a book called All About Eggs released and is selling well.
This time of year, even though I don’t have kids to dye eggs with, I boil eggs. Easter is a great excuse to eat boiled eggs in all kinds of dishes. Aside from deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches, and also the Vietnamese pork and eggs simmered in coconut juice, I also think of this Indian dish -– anda masala. It’s easy and comes together quickly, especially if you have boiled eggs sitting in the fridge (hint: what to do with leftover Easter eggs!). It's also just delicious.
My version below was initially inspired by Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking, which was published in 1980 and still referenced and used by tons of people today. In that book, the dish is called ande ki kari. She added fresh ginger along with the garlic, which you can too (try 1 tablespoon of finely chopped, peeled ginger).
If you’re and egg lover and/or new to Indian cooking, this a winner of a recipe to try. Anda masala involves classic Indian approaches to layering flavors, such as frying up cumin seeds to release their potency – a process called tadka. Cooking down the onion until it starts to caramelize builds earthy flavor. You’ll also blend your own spices, which I always fun. You can use regular ground coriander or if it’s available, look for the football-shaped coriander seeds used in Indian kitchens. It’s sweeter than the spherical coriander seeds, which are more citrusy than sweet.
Along with a green salad, this was our Easter lunch, along with chapatti flatbread. You could use wheat tortillas, naan or Basmati rice. Instead of fresh tomato, use 1 1/2 cups of canned crushed tomato or tomato puree. I had frozen tomato from last summer for this dish.
Northern Indian Egg Curry
Serves: 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish
- 4 or 5 large or extra-large eggs, boiled for 8 to 10 minutes (less for slightly underdone eggs)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 rounded teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 2 rounded teaspoons ground coriander or coriander seed, toasted and pounded
- 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- About 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1. Peel the eggs and let them soak in water to cover while you prepare the sauce. This soaking seems to prevent the whites from getting too rubbery. Set aside.
2. In a medium skillet or wide, shallow pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seed and cook, stirring, for about 15 seconds, until slightly darkened and fragrant. Add the onion and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, until the onion has taken on a bit of brown.
3. Add the coriander, red pepper flakes, turmeric, garlic, and salt. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, until the garlic has lightly fried and aromatic. Lower the heat as needed to coax the cooking. Add the tomato and cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring, until it no longer smells raw and slightly thickened. Add the water, bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low, cover with a slight vent, and gently simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavor.
4. Meanwhile, drain the eggs, pat them dry, then halved each lengthwise. When the sauce has finished simmering, uncover and slide the eggs in, cut side up. Increase the heat to medium-low and simmer the eggs, spooning a little sauce on the top, until the eggs are hot. Adjust the heat as necessary. The sauce should cook down and thicken a bit during this final stage.
5. Transfer the eggs and sauce to individual serving dishes or a communal dish. Garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately.
Related boiled-egg posts:
- Hard-boiled egg tips
- Video tip: How to easily peel eggs
- Deviled Eggs Tips: Centering the Yolk & Medium Eggs
- Impromptu Potato Salad
- Hargis Family’s Pork and Eggs in Coconut Juice (thit heo kho trung)
P.S. In this weekend’s northern California newspapers. . . the San Jose Mercury News included The Pho Cookbook among its five spring 2017 cookbook picks! I was also in the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend in a feature about where to eat in Santa Cruz. After living here for nearly 20 years, I do not hesitate to point people to a few local businesses that are stellar and owned by talented people.