Eggs Masala

There was a time when I used to cook this regularly and I’d forgotten what a special dish it is. There is something immensely pleasing about the texture and mild flavour of hard-boiled eggs with a thick, chunky tomato and onion curry spiced at the last moment with a handful of fresh coriander. It is worth pounding the spices to make your own masala although I have cheated with a decent curry mix. If you bother, you will be rewarded with a fresh interesting sauce with a mild but lingering curry kick. I love it with a scoop of creamy yoghurt topped with a spoonful of mango chutney. Good with basmati or scoop and mop with warmed Indian bread.

Serves 2

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 40 min

2 Spanish (large) onions

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 garlic cloves

25g fresh ginger

2 cardamom pods

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp whole cloves

½ tsp black peppercorns

½ tsp cayenne pepper

500g tomatoes or 400g can chopped tomatoes

6-8 fresh eggs

lemon juice

2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves

Peel and finely dice the onions. Heat the oil in a work or large saucepan over a medium high heat and fry the onions until they turn caramel brown, stirring constantly so they brown evenly. Allow at least 20 minutes. Peel and chop the garlic. Peel and grate or chop the ginger. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods. Grind the cardamom, coriander, cumin, cloves and black peppercorns to a powder and then add the garlic and ginger. Blitz to make a stiff masala paste and stir in the cayenne pepper. If using fresh tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes) place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Count to 30, drain, core and chop. Stir the masala paste into the onions and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and a generous pinch of salt. Simmer vigorously for 10-15 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and lemon juice. Place the eggs in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain, return to the pan with cold water, crack the eggs all over and remove their shells under water (it’s easier). Halve the eggs lengthways. Get the sauce very hot, stir in most of the coriander and tuck the eggs, sunny side up, in the sauce. Scatter the last of the coriander over the top and serve with basmati rice, raita and mango chutney.