When you go to an Indian restaurant, the menus at most of them are pretty much the same and its unfortunate because this showcases such a narrow window of this amazing genre of food (honestly, why do so few restaurants focus on South Indian cuisine?). Don’t get me wrong, I love this narrow window as well, but it just means that if I want to satisfy my cravings for the kind of food I had when I was in India, that’s all on me. This is such an attempt to recreate a curry my wife and I both love: egg curry.
Instead of the usual chicken or lamb, this curry’s protein is diced hard-boiled eggs. The gravy it tomato-based, slightly spicy, and both creamy and slightly sweet on account of the presence of coconut milk. I followed a similar technique in making this as I did when I made butter chicken. The eggs make for a different but somehow, more fun-to-eat mix in the curry (and honestly, when’s the last time you had a hard boiled egg? Too long ago, that’s when!) that are tender and very well suited to this more delicately flavored gravy. I also diced cooked some potato in the curry along with the eggs just to give this dish a little more body. The only change I would make to this the next time around: more gravy! There wasn’t enough relative to the amount of potato and egg (or I would cut back on those, I tried to adjust the recipe a bit below to reflect this, but your mileage may vary).
Is this actually South Indian in the end? I really can’t say, but I’d certainly be very glad to get some feedback on this from those a bit more in the know. Authentically South Indian or not though, it was delicious and very much satisfied my craving…for now!
- vegetable oil
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 cloves
- 2 Bay leaves (or curry leaves if you have them)
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 shallot
- 1 red bell
- 3 jalapeños
- 1 habanero
- 6-8 plum tomatoes (or a ~14 oz can)
- bit of water
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1 medium-sized potato (I had used 2)
- 8 eggs (I had used 10)
- 1 can coconut milk
- handful cilantro leaves
- 2 tsp ground dried fenugreek/methi
We’ll begin this dish by working on the sauce. In a large pot (I used a Dutch oven), heat up some vegetable oil, and once hot, add in the whole spices and the Bay leaf (or if you have curry leaves, use those instead!). Toss these around occasionally and let them toast in the heat for a few minutes until they begin to perfume.
While that’s going, prep the fresh ingredients. Behead and derib your peppers, but don’t worry about dicing them up finely–just chop them up a bit. Also, dice up the shallot, garlic, and ginger. When the spices start smelling quite nice, throw the shallot into the pot with them and sauté it for about 5 minutes to soften it up, at which point, you should then add in the garlic and ginger for another 2 minutes.
Add in the peppers and sauté for a while more to soften them up, around 5 or so minutes. Once they’re good, add in the tomatoes and a splash of water. Cover the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes, coming back to stir on occasion.
While you wait, there’s still some additional prep work to get out of the way. First, peel and cube the potato down to bite-sized chunks. Also, make a paste from the cashews and a bit of water in your food processor and set this aside for later.
There’s also the matter of hard-boiling the eggs, which is pretty easy, but when you have 8 or so eggs to peel the shell off of, you might as well get that out of the way when you can, right? Hard boiled eggs are an easy thing, but a lot of people have been raised on over-cooking their eggs. So in the interest of saving the eggs of the world: get some water (enough to cover all of your eggs) to a boil and throw in a good bit of salt.
Once boiling, carefully place in all of the eggs and watch the pot to see when it begins to boil again. As soon as it does, set a timer for somewhere around 7-10 minutes because that is when the eggs should be done. Any longer and they’ll get that grayish color around the yolk which is the egg’s way of asking what it ever did wrong to you. Once time is up, carefully remove the eggs and place in a cold water bath so as to stop them from cooking any further.
I’ll assume your sauce is done simmering, so pop off the cover and go fishing for all of the whole spices, removing and discarding them. Now, very carefully (its hot!) pour this entire mixture into the food processor and puree until totally smooth. Then pour this through a strainer back into the pot over medium heat. Also add in the potato chunks so that they can start cooking in the simmering gravy.
Gently simmer this for at least 20 minutes or until both the potatoes are tender and the gravy takes on a sufficiently thick consistency that you are happy with. During this this, also add in the coconut milk, cumin, coriander, black pepper, chili powder, turmeric, and cashew paste.
While you wait on the gravy to simmer some more, return to the eggs. Carefully deshell them all and slice them up in some attractive looking way. Also, dice the cilantro leaves somewhat coarsely, and when the gravy is very nearly done simmering, add both the cilantro and methi leaves, stirring to mix in. Add the eggs and turn off the heat after about 3-5 minutes or so, stirring gently so as to coat the eggs but not break them up into crumbles. You just want to get them sauced up and give them a chance to warm up a bit.
Once warmed up and ready to go, get eating! I served this with jasmine rice (but yogurt rice would have also worked very nicely) and some very poorly done chapatti (lol, they were supposed to be poori!). Enjoy!