When I was staying in the heart of Kolkata, I was often woken from my deep slumber by the egg (dim) or milk (dudha) wallah shouting out in his crescendoing voice each morning. It was my regular wake up call to get out of bed and embrace the day ahead. There was something very charming about the wallah selling the fresh eggs and milk as he pushed his cart slowly down our road. Bengalis love eggs as much as I do. To this day, a picnic is not a proper picnic without a hard boiled egg. So when I was introduced to Bengali egg curry many moons ago, it was an immediate hit. Easy to execute, it makes for a most satisfying protein rich meal.
For the adventurous, this also serves as a wonderful late Sunday brunch with a kick.
After boiling the eggs, remove the shell and place a cross with a sharp knife at the top of each egg and make a few other incisions on the skin and then cover them with turmeric and salt. Shake the bowl gently so that the eggs are properly covered in the turmeric.
Fry the eggs in a pan so that the outer skins darken and harden. Then place to one side.
Bengali Egg Curry
6 eggs, hard boiled
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp vegetable/mustard oil
2 onion, blended into a paste
4 garlic cloves, blended into a paste
2 inches of fresh ginger, blended into a paste
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
1 plum tomato from tin and a little juice (or 1 fresh tomato)
1 tsp garam masala
1. Boil the eggs in water for 5 minutes and then strain under cold water and peel off the shells.
2. Place a small cross incision at the top of each egg as well as a few prick marks over their sides so that they do not explode during cooking. Place in a bowl and cover with turmeric and salt.
3. In a pan heat up some oil and when hot carefully lower the eggs into the pan and let them sizzle away for a few minutes so that the sides are bronzed and the skins harden. Remove from the pan and place to one side.
4. With an electric blender, blend the onion, garlic and ginger to form a paste. Add a little water so that the paste runs smooth. In the same pan that you cooked the eggs in, add a little more oil before adding the onion/garlic/ginger paste and simmer gently, moving the paste around in the pan with a spoon. When it dries up add a little boiling water and continue to heat through.
5. Add the chilli, coriander and cumin powder as well as the bay leaves and fold into the paste. Now add the chopped plum tomato and a little tomato juice (about 2 tbsp) and leave to simmer. Add a little more boiling water and let it simmer gently.
6. Return the eggs to the pan and fold into the paste along with the garam masala. Simmer for a few more minutes and add a little more salt if necessary.
Serve with some plain basmati rice or naan bread.