This year my Bollywood Cooking series is focusing on good, tasty and simple home food. While last year I concentrated on showing many of the loved and extravagant dishes often enjoyed in restaurants, this year it is important for me to show you just how different food cooked in Indian homes (mostly focusing on North Indian food) is, in comparison to street or restaurant food. So many people approach me and say they love Indian food, "but it's so hard and time consuming to cook at home." That actually was the whole reason I started this series - to show these people, it's not hard at all.
I admit when I left home I used the same excuses when my mum told me I should cook Indian food at home. I used to try and satisfy my craving by ordering at the local take-out or eating at a good Indian restaurant. However, the fact was I was not satisfy anything. Because the food I got at home, the food I was brought up on, was very different to what I was trying to make myself believe was Indian food. I was just trying to pretend the so called Indian food at these eateries were just as good as I would get at home - and besides beggars can't be choosers right? Finally I decided to stop groaning and jumped right in. I began cooking simple dishes from my mother's instructions, via telephone or emails. Thank you mum!
Indian Home Food depends less on the richness of ghee and cream but more on using simple spices to create a complex blend of flavors. And garam masala, while most certainly is a very Indian spice mixture, does not belong in every Indian dish.
Last week when I read Manisha's recent post Enough I had to sit up and shout "Jai ho!" Because she speaks from my heart and says it bolder than I would dare to. Thank you Manisha!
Having said this, I have to introduce you to a slightly controversial dish between my mum and me. Egg curry - Punjabi style - is a dish that both my brother and I grew up on. We loved it so much that we did not mind having it several times a month. My mum's version is fantastic - simple whole spices, sautéed mushrooms and a tomato-yogurt based gravy simmered down to make it thick served with fluffy, scented rice - pure bliss. When she passed on her recipe I made it so often that we'd go through bucketfuls of eggs in a month. Then I began experimenting, until I landed on my own version of her egg curry. That is where the controversy started - my mum would throw up her hands and say "this is not my Punjabi style - it's very South Indian-like."
OK so it's not her version - but a version we, including my mother, enjoy equally as much. It's different as it uses coconut milk to give it a creamy thickness adding a lovely complementary flavor to the eggs. I've never had egg curry prepared in this way anywhere before, therefore I cannot say if it really is South Indian-like, so taking Manisha's cue I'll call it South Indian inspired. LOL!
Egg Curry in a Creamy Coconut Gravy
[Printable version of recipe here]
1 red chili, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
1 stick cinnamon
2 green cardamom
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 red onion, very finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
Small piece ginger, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons ghee
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
250ml unsweetened coconut milk
8 hard boiled eggs, cut in halves
400g small potatoes, cooked
150g frozen or fresh peas
Coriander leaves, chopped
- Place all the whole spices in a skillet and dry toast for 30 seconds to 1 minute on gentle heat, until fragrant.
- Add ghee and swirl the pan around. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and sauté until browned – approx 5-6 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and mix well to form a nice thick paste like consistency. Finally add the coconut milk and simmer the entire mixture for 15 minutes. The gravy should have thickened at the end of this time.
- Finally add the egg halves, cooked potatoes and peas. Gently stir and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes until everything has warmed through.
- Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve with rice and/or rotis.
Food Guide tip:
India – The Home of Spice – everything you ever wanted to know about the Indian spice kitchen!
Serve this egg curry with fluffy and delicious ginger lime rice:
Heat some oil or ghee in a large pot. Add a medium sized piece of ginger and some lime peel to a pot, then add the rice. Stir to coat the rice in the oil, then add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Finally add water and cook until the rice is ready.
I have very much used my mum’s basic recipe as a basis for my own experimentation. My mum is very particular about the mélange of spices she uses and loves using whole spices in her dishes. Freshly toasted and then either ground or simply used whole they add a spectacular and aromatic highlight to any dish she made. She always conveyed this to me when teaching me the basics of Indian cooking So, it is always important to me to make sure that I go by her book when it comes to the spice blend. The rest is free to play with as I choose. And here I did play around with the coconut milk and using potatoes and peas to complement the curry.
The result is a lovely blend of rich tasting coconut gravy coating the eggs and potatoes. Just too delicious. Soeren and Tom think so too and are always asking me to make this on regular intervals. It’s easy, it’s good and it’s inexpensive.
More Bollywood Cooking from WFLH:
|Aachari Alu||Spicy Okra with Onions||Dad's Chicken Curry|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2009 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First