I love Indian food, and it leaped straight to mind when I decided to focus on vegetarian cooking. One of my favorite quick meals is a simple Indian chicken curry with tomatoes and yogurt, so it’s probably unsurprising that this recipe jumped out at me from the pages of Celia Brooks Brown’s “Party Food for Vegetarians”: a simple Indian egg curry with tomatoes and yogurt.
The inclusion of hard-boiled eggs as the protein seemed unusual, interesting, and clever to me. Moreover, it wound up tasting awfully good. The eggs are a wonderful foil for the spicy, rich curry. Really, though, the star player here is not the eggs, but the onions: 2 large onions to feed three or four people. Be sure to cook the onion until it’s nice and soft and sweet, as it provides the bulk of the dish.
As with many Indian recipes, the number of ingredients may look daunting, but they’re mostly spices; the dish itself is easy to put together. The hardest part is stirring in the yogurt at the end without breaking up the eggs.
I find fat-free yogurt to taste chalky, and usually use whole-milk yogurt for cooking and eating. (There is 2% yogurt if you’d like to split the difference.) No brand beats Greek Gods in my estimation.
Kerala-Style Egg Curry
4 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
1.5-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 fresh serrano chiles, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 tablespoons unsweetened dried coconut
Salt and pepper
14-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 cup plain yogurt, preferably not fat free
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. When the water boils, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Wait 11 minutes, then drain and cover with cold water and ice. When the eggs are cold, peel (this is easiest when the eggs are very cold, and doing it under running water helps too). Cut in half lengthwise and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds; when they start to pop, reduce the heat slightly and add the onion. Cook until soft and golden, at least 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chiles, turmeric, cumin, coconut, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant, then stir in the tomatoes. Add the eggs; cook until hot. Remove from heat. Gently stir in the yogurt, then cover and let stand 2 minutes. Serve with basmati rice or a simple rice pilaf (mine is shown with basmati-almond pilaf). Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
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