Confession: I have been so so homesick for the last few weeks. By homesick I mean homesick for Karachi. I miss my family, I miss the noise, I even miss the smell – and let me tell you Karachi does not smell particularly pretty. I also really miss the food. A lot of how I cook is shaped by how my husband and in laws eat, so there are only a few things that I make with any regularity that bring back memories of lunches and dinners at home. Lunches and dinners that involved extending our table so that we can could seat what was then our family of 7. Lunches and dinners that began with us waiting for my father to come to the table so that we could start eating while we surreptitiously picked at roti or naan. We always ate together; I don’t think I knew there was any other way.
Anday Aalu ka Salan or Egg Curry is one of those dishes that tastes like home. Ironically this recipe is actually not from my mother, but Shanji, my aunt/the big sister I never had. She is the cook behind the biryani recipe here. Shanji has mastered the art of making food from home taste like food from home even when none of the ingredients here taste like they do in Pakistan. I tell you that lady is a genius.
Before we get started, I think it is pretty evident that many of the foods we have made so far are oil heavy. That unfortunately is the nature of the beast. I do recommend, as always, that you drain excess oil off the top when you are done cooking. As your dish cools it will rise to the top and then you can gently tip it out or blot it with paper towels. The frying of the boiled egg – as funny as that sounds – makes this dish a little extra special, but feel free to skip it if you want.
Also I am currently cooking for 5 adults plus my tot so I doubled this recipe which is why it will look like I have a whole lot more masala than you will. However, the amounts of onion, potatoes and tomatoes are representative of this recipe.
Anday Aalu ka Salan / Egg Curry
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Pinch of Methi/Fenugreek Seeds
Two small-medium sized Onions
1 tbsp Ginger Paste
1 tbsp Garlic Paste
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 Medium Potatoes
1 sprig Curry Leaves
4-5 Green Chillies
½ cup Cilantro chopped
Juice of ½ a Lemon
6 boiled eggs
Additional oil for frying the eggs
Take a medium sized stock pot and put it on the stove at medium-high heat. Pour in your oil; it should coat the base of the pot. If it does not then add more, remember we can get rid of it later. When the oil is hot toss in your fenugreek seeds, let them sizzle for a minute and then add your finely chopped onions.
When the onions become translucent then add your garlic and ginger pastes and let it cook for another minute or so. Add the dry spices and cook for another few minutes till the mix starts to come together and the oil rises to the top.
Now it is tomato time, add it in, and cook until it becomes part of the onion paste and once again – you guessed it – the oil rises to the top.
While the tomato is cooking away peel and chop your potatoes like so (see below) and cilantro. Leave the green chillies whole.
Feel free at this point to taste the spice mix. In this case I’d say it should taste at least twice as strong as you would like your curry to be. I know it does not look pretty right now, but it will taste pretty later. If you want a curry with a smooth consistency then blitz the mix in a blender now along with a little water.
Add your potatoes, give it a quick stir and then add two cups of hot water, the curry leaves, and the green chillies. Bring it to a boil, then drop the heat and leave it to simmer for 15-20 minutes depending on how quickly your potatoes cook.
Now put about an inch of oil in a frying pan – preferably one for which you can locate a similarly sized lid. Heat the oil and when it is nice and hot then gingerly and from a distance put in your eggs. Spluttering will ensue. Cover it up and let it do its thing for two minutes, then lift the lid, use tongs to rotate the eggs, cover it up and cook for another two minutes. Keep doing this until most of the surface area of the egg is golden brown. Then remove from the pan and keep aside.
Now back to the curry, potatoes done? Great. If you want to really intensify the flavours then turn the heat up and cook till the infamous oil rises again, add the cilantro, lemon juice, and any additional water to thin the curry out. If you are in a hurry then don’t bother and just add cilantro, lemon juice, and water. Add the eggs. Taste. Adjust seasoning. Admire your handiwork. Now aren’t you fancy.
I have always eaten this with roti or naan, but my husband prefers it – and every other Pakistani dish on this planet – with rice so just go with whatever you life. Happy Eating!