November 13, 2006

Infinite Possibilities

Of course, eggs aren't just breakfast food, or the glue that keeps your cakes and meatloaves from crumbling helplessly as you attempt to slice/eat them. Eggs have an infinite number of possibilities attached to them, whether as the star ingredient or merely an essential component. Merely, of course, practically deserves air-quotes, because there is nothing insignificant about the role of the simple egg in great baking and cooking of our time. Really, there isn't a single culinary nook they haven't invaded: they help breadcrumbs adhere to chicken, they make a dandy snack when stuffed, they are critical to hollandaise and quiche, they make muffins rise better, an egg salad sandwich is a perfect summer lunch... the list goes on.

I also like to have eggs for dinner. Sure, scrambled eggs on toast are a classic and kind of fun breakfast-for-dinner sort of thing to do, but the very best eggs-for-dinner that I know is a family of Indian dishes known as Masala Eggs. (or, Eggs Masala. Or, insert variation of your choice here.) I think of it as a family of dishes because there are literally thousands of variations to choose from - some regional, some preferential, some dictated by your darkest curry desires.

I confess that my (current) very favourite Eggs Masala actually uses the sauce from this Chicken Korma recipe (but pureed smooth with an immersion blender), but I'm happy to have just about any version, and the one shown here has the advantage of feeling very light on the palate, while still being satisfying.

Once again, I have adapted this from Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by the inimitable Madhur Jaffrey.

Hard Boiled Eggs Masala

Serves 2 for lunch, or 4 for dinner as one of several dishes

4 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 cup of canned diced tomatoes (with some liquid)
chopped cilantro to taste

Combine ground spices with lemon juice and a tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Mix to create a thin paste.

Heat the oil in a medium-sized non-stick frying pan, over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, give the pan a shake, then add the onion and ginger. Stir and fry until onion browns nicely. Add the spice paste, and stir and cook for another 15 seconds or so. Add the tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, and lay the eggs (sliced in half length-wise) onto the sauce. Spoon some of the sauce over the eggs. Serve with rice or naan, or (!) even over toast. For a thinner, smoother sauce, just add a tablespoon or two of water and puree before laying down the eggs.


hungrygirl said...

I'm enjoying your site, as it's Vancouver-based (my former home) and I like the elegant simplicity of the recipes. (also admire the design ;))I live in Toronto now.
I attempted your pasta 'casserole' (with lamb sausage instead of chicken) and it was very well received. On my blog, I recently extolled the virtues of BC food....Come visit.

Dawna said...

Thanks for the lovely comments, Hungrygirl.

I love lamb sausage - I can imagine it would work very well in this casserole (which is also good entirely meatless, by the way). Thanks for stopping by!

Katy said...

Her cookbooks are always fabulous, I just read that one about curries from all over the world it is so interesting just to sit down and read. Those eggs look great. I might have to go eat some eggs right now.

Erika said...

Oh gosh! I am on a huge egg kick right now, and one of my goals is to find a good egg curry. I think I may have found my starter here. Thanks for sharing!

Dawna said...

Katy, I agree! I have her "World of the East Vegetarian" cookbook, and it's got some great stuff in it.

Erika, I hope you enjoy the recipe. There are literally thousands of versions of egg curry, and most of them are delicious!