It was about ten years ago when I first tasted an Indian curry made with hard-boiled eggs. It was at a dinner hosted by an Indian-American friend who’d planned a menu of her family favorites. Her mom was in town and among the dishes that Aradhna prepared was an egg curry. The soft-chewy texture of the whites and richness of yolk was unexpected and captivating.
Up to that point, my curry experiences were with meats, seafood, and/or vegetables. Boiled eggs? It never occurred to me until that day to use eggs as the protein element in a curry. On the other hand, how could I have been blind for so long? Viet cooks simmer boiled eggs in caramel sauce. Chinese cooks simmer eggs in tea. Why not simmer the eggs in a thick sauce? Duh!
I’ve occasionally thought about the dish since then but didn’t go looking for the recipe. It’s not the first curry that comes to mind when I think of an Indian dish to prepare. However, this past weekend, while reading Julie Sahni’s Savoring India, a cookbook that’s rich in history, culture, and photography, I came across this recipe for “eggs braised in fragrant gravy.” Sahni’s recipe for anda masala comes from Uttar Pradesh in northern India.
I had some great local eggs and tomato from the farmers’ market so I was game. Plus, the recipe was very simple. Despite its ease, the dish involved classic Indian approaches to layering flavors that involves frying up cumin seeds during the initial tadka process, cooking down the onion until it starts to caramelize, adding the spices and simmering with the wet ingredients (tomato and water, in this case).
The result was fabulous and achievable with little stress. If you’re a vegetarian or new at Indian cooking, this is a good recipe to try.