Indian Scotch Eggs

On my first trip to Kolkata – 13 years ago – I was introduced to my new extended Indian family, going from home to home, meeting a bevy of smiles and warmth behind each door. Every household we visited offered food in great abundance – either a full meal or some delicious snacks. I struggled a little with the sweet treats, not having a sweet tooth, but the savoury snacks were something else.

As we normally saw three or four different families on average each day I had to be diplomatic when it came to eating. Not eating would be disrespectful, so I had to pace myself. One of life’s more pleasing conundrums. One snack that really stood out was Indian Scotch eggs, which were just so heavenly. Unlike your traditional Scotch egg which has sausage meat covering the egg, this one has spiced potato and has half a boiled egg per ball.

I have been trying to replicate the recipe ever since and I think I am pretty close so I wanted to share it with you all today.

 

Indian Scotch Eggs

makes 6 

5 medium potatoes, peel and boiled then mashed

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garlic-ginger paste

1 tsp salt, to taste

2 small fresh green chillies, finely chopped

handful of fresh curry leaves, finely chopped – optional

4 eggs

breadcrumbs – either freshly made, panko or bought

4 tbsp sunflower/vegetable oil for frying

 

  1. First peel and boil the potatoes until they are soft. This usually take around 10-12 minutes. Drain and then mash until smooth. Do not add any butter or milk. They must not be too wet.
  2. Meanwhile boil 3 of the eggs by placing them in a pan of cold water and then once it is simmering, turn it down and leave to cook for a further 8 minutes so that they are completely hard. Once cooked drain and immediately put in a bowl with ice and cold water – this will allow you to peel the egg really easily. Leave the eggs to sit for a few minutes before peeling them and leaving them to rest on a plate
  3. Add the spices, garlic-ginger paste, chillies, fresh curry leaves if using, salt and mix in thoroughly. Allow to cool before handling the potato.
  4. In a shallow bowl add the remaining egg and whisk.
  5. In a separate bowl add some breadcrumbs.
  6. Halve the eggs, lengthwise. Take a small amount of spiced mashed potato into your hand and place the egg, yolk side down, onto the mashed potato. Gently cover the whole egg with the potato to create a ball. Place to one side whilst you do the same to the remaining eggs.
  7. Now take one potato ball at a time and gently roll it in the whisked egg followed by the breadcrumbs then place on a plate. Complete the rest.
  8. Heat the oil and when it is hot gently fry each potato ball, a couple at a time, turning at intervals so that the breadcrumb coat bronzes nicely. Place to one side, whilst you complete the rest.
  9. They are wonderful eaten hot, but equally you can serve them at room temperature – perhaps perfect for a train journey.

I like to eat them with a chutney. My tamarind and date chutney works really well.

 

 

 


Spiced Chickpea and Coriander Soup and Spinach Pakoras

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 I had some fresh spinach in the fridge what was beginning to turn so thought that making some spinach pakoras would be the perfect way to save them and accompany my homemade chickpea and coriander soup. I always have tinned chickpeas in my store cupboard as I find them so useful to throw into a number of dishes, be it a casserole, soup or salad. Similarly I had some fresh coriander that needed eating so decided to throw them into the soup as well to add a lovely balance.

 

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This whole meal takes a short time to prepare so is great to cook for a light lunch or a speedy supper when you have had a hard day at work. The soup does have a very satisfying kick, so if you prefer a less chilli buzz just reduce the amount of dried chillies you use. If you do use the same amount as me you’ll find that the yoghurt softens the chilli a little making the soup very satisfying and delicious.

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Pakoras – vegetables dipped in a spiced batter and then fried – are a hugely popular snack in the Indian sub-continent. Whilst perhaps not the most healthy out there they are extremely moorish and addictive.  In India you will find numerous street stalls selling them in little paper cones, similar to the one that I prepared for the photos above.  They are rather similar to my coriander fritters which I posted a couple of years ago on this blog – see here. Get creative and try making them with a mixture of vegetables. I’ll show you how to make different types in time. Watch this space.

 

Spinach Pakoras

Serves 4

75ml water

80g chickpea flour

1 pinch of baking powder

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1/2 tsp salt

160g fresh spinach, roughly chopped

vegetable oil for deep frying

1. To make the batter mix the water, chickpea flour, baking powder, turmeric, chilli powder and salt together in a bowl. If the batter is still a little too thick simply add an extra drop of water.

2. Add the fresh spinach leaves to the bowl of batter and mix in thoroughly.

3. In a deep pan or karahi heat some vegetable oil. When it is hot – you can test by placing a pinch of flour into the oil and if it fizzes then it is ready, add a tablespoonful of the spinach batter. Depending on the size of your pan you can do a number at a time. Leave the pakora to cook for a minute before turning over for a further minute. They should have gently bronzed by this time.

4. Place on a plate with kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Eat whilst still hot.

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Spiced Chickpea and Coriander Soup

Serves 6

4 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

5 large dried red chilli

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

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4 tbsp olive oil

650g fresh tomatoes, boiled to remove the skins

50g fresh coriander

2x400g tins of chickpeas, drained and pureed using a hand blender

1 tsp turmeric powder

900ml water

6 tbsp yoghurt

juice of 1 lemon

salt to taste

1. Place the cumin and coriander seeds and dried red chilli in a warmed up frying pan and move around the pan for a minute to realise the flavours. Place into a spice grinder along with the desiccated coconut and whizz to form a powder.

2.  Having removed the skins of the fresh tomatoes (I find boiling them for a couple of minutes allows the skins to be easily removed) place them in a blender along with the chickpeas and fresh coriander.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan and when it is hot add the spiced powder along with the turmeric powder and stir around for 30 seconds before add the pureed chickpeas/tomatoes and coriander.

4. After a minute add the water and stir together well. Simmer on a medium heat for 15 minutes and then add the yoghurt, lemon juice and salt to taste.

Serve with the spinach pakoras on the side for a tasty vegetarian meal. I often tend to make chapatis as well to dip into the soup.