Egg Curry with Naan
I was surprised by a lot of things when I first arrived in London in 2002. The pace, the people, the various accents and slang terms, PDA, and the homeless amongst others. I was also surprised by how popular Indian cuisine was here. There was an Indian restaurant or take-away every two blocks, and most of them served identical dishes such as korma, vindaloo and madras. Compared to halls of residence food, any curry from anywhere seemed like a blessing. However, once my tastebuds had stopped being abused by the excesses of first year and were allowed to mature, these curries seemed to taste the same with varying degrees of spice submerged in grease. Yet whenever anyone suggests that Indian food is greasy and unhealthy I feel like I need to defend it – it’s not Indian food in general, it’s just the generic Balti Huts.
Egg curry is one of those amazing dishes that hasn’t made it into Balti Hut menus across the UK. So when I cooked it at university, my flatmates were rather perturbed by the idea of currying eggs. Then one summer we all went away to India, and came back as fans of the egg curry! I don’t know how it happened, but I’m glad it happened.
My particular egg curry is a hybrid of mom&dad’s and Madhur Jafferey’s recipes. It’s easy, healthy and hearty, and goes really well with Indian breads such as roti or naan.
Egg Curry Recipe
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
1 inch cubed piece of ginger
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp ground coriander
1.5 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 medium sized potato (roughly 450g)
4 hard boiled eggs (I prefer organic as they are yolkier)
Handful of coriander leaves
1) Masala pastes: Put the garlic, ginger and 2 tbsp water into a blender, blitz to a paste, and pour it into a small cup / bowl. Put half the chopped onion with the remaining 2 tbsp water into the blender and blitz till pureed.
2) Sautee hard boiled eggs: Make slight slits in the whites of the eggs lengthwise (about 4 in each). Marinate in 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp turmeric and a pinch of salt. Heat 1 tbsp veggie oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the eggs, pushing them around the pan for a few minutes so that the outer skin gets evenly crisped. Keep aside.
3) Sautee potatoes: Peel and chop potatoes into stubby thumb size. Fry over medium heat in the same oil as the potatoes. Sautee potatoes till golden brown on all sides in same oil as above (I add a bit of ghee in for some added flavour). Make sure they are not cooked through. Keep aside.
4) Curry sauce: Heat 2 tbsp ghee in non-stick pan. Fry the onion paste till medium brown and keep aside. Add a dash of oil in the pan and sautee the remaining chopped onions till medium brown. Mix in the garlic-ginger paste and stir till combined. Cook for another minute. Stir in the onion paste and cook for another minute. Add 0.5 tsp chilli powder, and 2tbsp ground coriander and mix well. Cook for a minute. Then mix in a tablespoon of yoghurt at a time, mixing well between each addition till well incorporated with the oniony-garlicy-gingery mix. Add in the chopped tomatoes and salt, and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of water and the sauteed potatoes, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Finish off with stirring in the garam masala and halved eggs. Garnish with some coriander leaves.
Boiling eggs: make sure they’re at room temperature before boiling (helps the eggs remain uncracked while boiling). Once boiled to preference (10 mins for hard boiled, 8 mins for medium-soft) douse in cold running water to cool them down. This will prevent an ugly green ring forming around the yolk.
Peeling tomatoes: Lightly score the tomato like a hot cross bun. Bring a whole pot of water to the boil, plunge the tomato in the boiling water for 15 seconds. Run under cold water and peel the skin off.
150ml warm milk
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp dried active yeast
450g plain flour
0.5 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus a little extra
150ml natural yoghurt, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
6 tsp of finely chopped garlic cloves
1) Put the milk in a bowl. Add 1 tsp of the sugar, and the yeast. Stir to mix. Set aside for 15-20 minutes or until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy.
2) Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1 tsp sugar, the yeast mixture, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and the yogurt and egg a little at a time while combining with the flour. Mix and form a ball of dough.
3) Empty the ball of dough on to a clean surface and knead it for 10 minutes or more, until it is smooth and satiny. Form into a ball. Pour about 0.25 tsp oil into a large bowl and roll the ball of dough in it. Cover the bowl with a piece of cling film and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for an hour or until the dough has doubled.
4) Pre-heat your oven to the highest temperature. Put the heaviest baking tray you own to heat in the oven. Pre-heat your grill.
5) Punch down the dough and knead it again. Divide into 6 equal balls. Keep 5 of them covered while you work with the sixth. Roll this ball into a circle about 13 cm in diameter. Place a tsp of chopped garlic along the centre and fold over in half, sealing the edges with a bit of water. Roll out into a tear-shaped naan, about 25cm in length and about 13cm at its widest being careful about leaving the garlic stuffed within. Remove the hot baking tray from the oven and slap the naan on to it. Put it immediately into the oven for 3 minutes. It should puff up. Now place the baking tray and naan under the grill, about 7.5-10cm away from the heat, for about 30 seconds or until the top of the naan browns slightly. Wrap the naan in a clean tea towel. Make all the naans this way and serve.