It’s funny to see people in new relationships. They do everything together. Things like grocery shopping or cooking dinner or laundry at the laundromat or working out. They hold hands everywhere they go and kiss on the bus or cuddle while waiting on the corner for the signal to change or play Scrabble in the park. Yes, I love seeing young couples in love. They remind me of Hubby and myself back when we were young and foolishly in love.
One of the things we used to do together was cook. We were both pretty inexperienced in the kitchen, but we enjoyed trying out new recipes. I remember the first cookbook we bought together, The Complete Hot & Spicy Cookbook. Guess how long ago that was? Twelve years!
As far as cookbooks go, Hot & Spicy is pretty good. It’s one of those compilation cookbooks with recipes from several different cuisines. The Indian recipes were our favorites and we learned a lot about Indian food, mostly through trial and error. For instance, did you know that feta cheese is not a suitable substitute for paneer.? We didn’t, until we tried to fry it. And did you know there are two kinds of mustard oil? One is used as a moisturizer and the other for cooking. The food grade oil is nearly impossible to find, but we didn’t know that until we had used half a bottle of the body oil. (Note to self: if labels are written in a foreign language, ask for help translating!) And speaking of body oil, did you know that ghee can also be used as a moisturizer? If you don’t mind smelling like buttered popcorn.
I haven’t touched Hot & Spicy in a while, but since Regional Recipes is going to India, I thought it would be a hoot to revisit the first Indian dish we ever made together (fried egg curry) out of the first cookbook we ever purchased together. Sweet, huh? You thought I was all logic and practicality, but I do have a sentimental, romantic side!
I should mention that we weren’t really impressed with the results the first time around, and we thought it was just a bad recipe because we followed the recipe to the T (including hand chopping 3 onion into a paste and frying 8 eggs to split between the two of us!). In retrospect, it was a perfectly good recipe but we were just too inexperienced to work with it. This time around, it turned out great. It really helps that I now own a food processor and we halved the recipe. Also added the tomatoes for a little more depth. It definitely won’t take 12 years for me to make this again. More like 12 hours. That's how much we liked it.
Fried egg curry
adapted from The Complete Hot and Spicy Cookbook
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 knob ginger, about the size of an adult thumb, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- chilies, to taste
- 1 tbs vinegar
- ½ tsp ground tumeric
- 1 tsp chili powder
- a pinch sugar (probably about ¼ tsp)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (from a can works perfectly well)
- salt to taste
- 4 eggs
In a small frying pan, heat about 2 to 3 tbs oil with the cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves. When the oil is hot, add the paste and fry until the oil looks like it’s separating back out from the paste, probably 8 to 10 minutes. Be sure to control the heat, because if it’s too high, the paste will burn. Add in the tumeric, chili powder, and sugar and continue to fry for about another minute. Finally, add in the tomatoes and cook a bit longer (until they soften, if using fresh ones). If the mixture gets too dry, add a little water. Season with salt and remove from heat, but keep warm.
In another frying pan, heat up a little oil to fry the eggs. I just fried them all at once and spooned the curry mixture over the eggs as they were cooking. This method leaves the yolks creamy while the whites cook. Alternatively, you could cook the eggs one at a time and remove them to a plate. Once they are all fried, put the curry mixture back over low heat and carefully turn the eggs in it. This is the method given in the book, but I’m too scared to break the yolks or overcook them this way.
Garnish with chopped cilantro (something I forgot to do) and serve with naan. Be sure to break the yolks, mix everything around and use the naan to sop it all up!
This is my submission to Regional Recipes, the blogging event that takes us around the world to spotlight different regional cuisines. This time we're in India and I'm hosting. The deadline is officially Feb 15th, but if you're really nice, I'll take submissions up until the 20th, which is when the round-up goes up.
Here are some other Indian inspired dishes you may enjoy:
Creamy chicken curry
Indian spiced lamb shank
Saag paneer or gosht
Vegetable smash (curried vegetable)