Egg Masala

At my place eggs are prepared as a last resort when there is nothing else that I can think of and we are in no mood to eat fish or chicken again. Red meats are generally reserved for special occasions or are eaten like once a month or two. Since the little fellow is averse to eating eggs I don't force him but insist he eats them in the form of an omelette on weekends. Now you know why eggs for main course are a last resort! Baby Zee and I love eggs and enjoy eating them fried, scrambled or hard boiled. I personally love eating eggs sunny side up - love mopping up the yolk with some bread. Yum!

Anyway, today I had to take my lil girl for her vaccination and I returned pretty late. There wasn't a lot of time to make something elaborate and I had not kept the fish out to thaw. I flipped through almost every cook book I owned to see if I could find a recipe that wasn't repetitive and I could make quickly. Most curries required grated coconut or coconut milk and I wasn't in a mood to grind anything. So I decided to throw in some ingredients together and create something of my own. I was rather pleased with the outcome and proud that my creation wasn't so bad after all as the sonny boy ate it without a fuss.

The key ingredient in this recipe is the freshly ground paste of Kashmiri chillies - this is something Roshan had prepared just a couple of days ago for another recipe. In the past I was of the opinion that Kashmiri chillies were only good for their colour and didn't score much on the flavour meter. I was so so wrong. A couple of months ago I replenished my stock of Kashmiri chillies and we have noticed that they have an awesome flavour, especially when the stock is new. Freshly ground chillies taste so much better than store bought masala powder, trust me. To make the paste all we did was soak the chillies (without seeds) in freshly boiled water for about an hour and then ground it to a smooth paste. Then a little olive oil was mixed to help it stay fresh for longer and into the fridge it went. We are using this paste liberally in many of our dishes now and the taste is remarkably fresh and earthy. The colour is amazing while the spice is moderate - just what we need as we have toned down our spice level because of the kids.

This recipe is really simple if you consider that there is no grinding involved (if you substitute the chilli paste for chilli powder). A perfect bachelor's recipe! I let my taste buds guide me and build on the flavours. The curry leaves impart a great aroma and flavour to this dish and frying the tomatoes parallely helps you to speed up the job. The trick is to fry everything really well on a slow fire. A half hearted job may render this dish mediocre in terms of flavour and texture, so don't be lazy. 

I hope you enjoy this very simple dish with some piping hot rice and 'daliso saar' (Mangalorean style watery dal). A simple vegetable stir fry/saute and perhaps a papad will complete your meal. 

Egg Masala
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25-30 mins | Serves: 3 (2 eggs per person)

1. Heat the oil in a heavy based pan/kadhai and toss in the chopped ginger, curry leaves and garlic and fry for half a minute on a medium heat.
2. Add the chopped onions and fry them until translucent. While the onions are frying in a separate frying pan fry the tomatoes until they turn to a paste - do this on a medium low heat. This helps to speed up the cooking and also gives the dish a nice flavour as the tomatoes are already fried when you add them to the onions.
3. When the onions have turned pinkish (not brown) add the chilli paste and the spice powders - cumin, coriander, turmeric and fry for a couple of minutes on a low heat.
4. Add the fried tomatoes and mix well. Add salt to taste, coriander, mint and continue to fry on a medium low heat until the oil starts to leave the sides of the pan.
5. Check the taste and add the vinegar if required. If you need a little thick masala add about 1/2 cup of water little by little and continue to simmer until you get a thick gravy.
6. Place the egg halves face down on the masala. Gently cover them with the masala, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a low. Simmer for a minute and remove from heat.
7. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with rice, chapathis or parathas

1. To boil the eggs, place them in a sufficiently large pan filled with enough water (at room temperature) to cover the eggs. Once the water comes to a boil,.turn off the heat, cover the pan and keep them covered for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, discard the boiling water, refresh with fresh water and peel them after a couple of minutes. If you wish you can add a little salt while the eggs are boiling as it is believed that it makes peeling them easier.
2. I used homemade Kashmiri chilli paste. Soak the desired number of Kashmiri chillies (de seeded) in freshly boiled water for at least 30 minutes and grind to a fine paste. Mix olive oil and store in a clean, dry bottle/jar. Refrigerate and use as required. For this recipe you may substitute the chilli paste with Kashmiri chilli powder, but reduce the quantity as store bought powder is prepared using whole chillies, seeds and all, so it will be spicier - just make a paste of the powder using a little water and follow the recipe.
3. Use the vinegar only if required. Adjust the quantity depending on how tart/sour the tomatoes are.
4. If you wish you may substitute the chopped ginger and garlic with homemade ginger & garlic paste. Avoid using the store bought ones for best results.

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