This dish, which consists of halved hard-boiled eggs in a thick, spicy tomato sauce, may seem strange to the typical American palate. However, this recipe caught my eye when I was first flipping through Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking, so we tried it, and loved it. The sauce has a wide array of spices in it (garlic, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, black pepper, garam masala, cilantro), all of which meld together into a near perfect complement to the hard boiled eggs. This dish does take some time to make, but the end result is well worth the effort, and your kitchen will smell heavenly while the dish is cooking. I'd been craving this dish for quite a while recently, and we finally made it again this past week; thus it's this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post.
1 dozen eggs, hard-boiled
10 tablespoons (5/8 cup) vegetable oil
3 cups finely chopped onions
2 tablespoons garlic, minced or pressed with a garlic press
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
12 green cardamom pods
4 1/2 inch stick cinnamon, or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
heaping 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups finely chopped tomatoes (we chop whole canned tomatoes after draining the juice)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
3 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
Rice, or Indian bread, to serve with it
0. Hard-boil the eggs. To do this we cover the raw eggs with warm tapwater (by at least 1") in a large pot, and then cover the pot and put it over high heat. Once the water boils, we reduce the heat and simmer the eggs for 15 minutes (for large or extra large eggs). Then we drain the hot water from the pot, fill the pot once or twice with cold tap water to stop the eggs from cooking, and then leave the eggs in a bowl of cold tap water until needed. You can hard-boil the eggs in parallel with the rest of the steps (they aren't needed until step 10).
1. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pot, over medium-high or high heat; when the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are caramel brown (~20 minutes).
2. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring frequently, for another two minutes.
3. Add the cardamom pods and the stick of cinnamon (but not ground cinnamon, if you're using that), and cook until the spices start to puff, ~1 minute.
4. Add the powdered coriander, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, and ground cinnamon (if using), and cook, stirring, for a few seconds.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and pulpy and the fat starts to separate (~8 minutes).
6. Add the boiling water and salt, and simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
7. Uncover the sauce and continue simmering until the sauce is moderately thick (something akin to a typical tomato pasta sauce); the sauce may not require any additional simmering.
8. Remove the pot from the heat, and let the dish rest, covered, for at least half an hour.
9. If you're serving the dish with rice, start the rice cooking.
10. Peel the eggs and slice them in half, lengthwise.
11. Return the pot to medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the garam masala and cilantro, and then gently add the eggs. Simmer for ~5 minutes (to warm the eggs).
12. Serve over rice or with Indian bread.
This recipe is slightly modified from Sahni (1980); the recipe has been scaled up, and the amount of oil and cilantro reduced. The recipe easily makes enough to serve four to six people as a main course, and the flavors only improve with time in the fridge, so leftovers are eminently edible. I guarantee that your coworkers will be envious when you heat this up for lunch.
As with all Indian food, the whole cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks are not intended to be eaten.
Sahni, Julie. 1980. Classic Indian Cooking. William Morrow & Co, NY. pp. 233-235