I have always been unsure about my feelings towards eggs. Scrambled eggs and toast have always been my go-to, luxurious Sunday morning breakfast, and you’ll always see me at the omelette station first whenever I stay at a hotel or go on a cruise. Some days I get crazy cravings for hard boiled eggs. On the other hand, runny eggs make my stomach churn. The scent of ‘eggy’ eggs rate very highly on the list of rank smells I hate. I will never try any kind of egg that has a runny yolk and sometimes, simply whipping egg whites makes me a little uncomfortable.
Which brings me to egg curry.
I had honestly never heard of egg curry until I was in my teens. Rabin has always loved it and while it’s a reasonably popular meal, I never had any inclination to try it until I came across this recipe I found in this beautiful Cookbook written by Naomi Duguid entitled Burma: Rivers of Flavor. For ages I had the book in my Amazon cart, waiting for the right time to treat myself. I finally saw it at a store I love which felt like a sign (you get me, marketers) and I was totally right. Apart from great recipes, the book is interspersed with details of the culture and geography of Burma and beautiful pictures of the landscape, food and people. The cover and spine are eye catching as well – I recently had some friends over and was told that one of the only books that pops out from my 3 shelves of cookbooks is Burma.
After trading emails with Naomi, she graciously granted me permission to post this recipe on my blog.
The star element of this dish is by far the sesame oil. It is incredibly potent so as a personal choice, I don’t use very much of it. But make sure you have it for this recipe. I can’t stress enough how much sesame oil elevates this dish from regular curry to an exotic meal. The recipe as it appears in the book is below and I have my notes listed after.
Golden Egg Curry
4 large or extra-large eggs, preferably free-range
1/3 cup peanut oil or unroasted sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
2 small shallots, minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon Red Chile Powder, or to taste
2 medium tomatoes (about ½ pound), finely chopped
2 teaspoons fish sauce
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 or 3 cayenne chiles, seeded & sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 strips each
Place the eggs in a saucepan, add cold water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook at a medium boil for 8 minutes. Drain the eggs and cool in cold water. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel them.
Heat the oil in a wide heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and stir to dissolve it. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle when a drop of water is dropped into it, add the peeled eggs and fry until golden brown and blistered all over: cook on each side in turn, then try to balance the eggs on their ends to cook the tips. Frying the eggs is a fun little task, quickly done, and it makes them very attractive. With a slotted spoon, lift the eggs out of the hot oil onto a plate. Cut them lengthwise in half and set aside.
Pour off all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil (the oil can be used again for stir frying). Heat the oil remaining in the pan over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic and fry briefly, until translucent. Add the chile powder and tomatoes, and stirring frequently to prevent sticking, cook at a strong simmer until the tomatoes have broken down into a softened mass, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the fish sauce and salt, then taste and adjust the seasoning if you wish. Raise the heat to medium high, add the chile strips, and stir. Place the eggs cut side down in the sauce and cook until the oil sizzles, about 3 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
- I didn’t use the 1/3 cup of oil. I used about 3 tablespoons of sesame oil and didn’t pour out anything. Also, like I said before, USE SESAME OIL. It makes all the difference. To me, sesame oil is pretty potent and I always cut it down in recipes, but I do love the flavor. When used sparingly, it is delicious.
- Mr. Food Connoisseur Rabin told me that this time, he wanted something additional in the curry to give it more “bulk and texture” which led me to add boiled potatoes (boiled to the point of almost falling apart) to the curry. It actually was quite a nice addition, but it does make the curry a bit creamier.
- I substituted red pepper flakes for the red chile powder. I didn’t use cayenne chiles either, but I added enough red pepper flakes to give it the kick the chiles would have given.
- I added half of a red bell pepper to the curry for added texture (see #2).
- Eat it with naan, dhalpuri or something along those lines. You can eat it with rice as well. I paired it with some Bhutan Red Rice that we discovered at Whole Foods. I had never tried it before and can’t say that it pairs beautifully with this curry, but I do really like the rice (and I’m not a rice person). It’s chewier than regular rice but based on the cooking time, it isn’t as mushy and risotto-y as risotto. Since its also a good source of minerals like magnesium & manganese and is whole grain which makes it a good substitute for quinoa or barley when you just want to mix it up a bit. According to the packet, the rice is farmed using the System of Rice Intensification and is verified under the Non-GMO Project. Also, the rice is Heirloom which I recently learned is pretty awesome. Details on that in a future post. So win win win.
There you have it. Bit of a wordy post but I’m giving you essentially two recipes for the price of one post. Pretty egg-cellent. Sigh, I know. I tried to contain myself – but I have to egg-spress my sense of humour. I better stop writing now. This can only get worse.