Thursday, June 11, 2020

Kerala Style Egg Roast | Kerala Egg Curry

Kerala Egg Roast, Kerala Egg Curry

Kerala Style Egg Roast | Kerala Egg Curry

This Nadan egg Roast or Kerala homestyle egg curry is a very simple egg curry bursting with flavors. It is a lot like the Bengali Dim Kosha with different spices. I will not say this is the traditional recipe but this is close to what I have tasted.

Many years ago when I lived in Bangalore, was when I first got introduced to the full plethora of South Indian cuisines.

Those were the pre, pre social media days. There were no smart phones and so no photos of food were ever shared with anyone and hence we knew little beyond local food. You ate mostly local and occasionally indulged in the two popular non-local cuisine -Chinese and South Indian. Growing up in small town Bengal, the only South Indian food we knew was Dosa and Idli which the tan-tan-dosawala would make expertly on his black griddle as he went around the shady lanes of our neighborhood at dusk. That along with Sambhar and coconut chutney which my Mother stored in steel tiffin carrier boxes from the dosawala would be an unexpected weekday treat.

Later my experimental Mother would make dosa batter in her Sumeet Mixer and make dosas, which were never as thin and crisp as the dosa walas. However with the fermented batter she would then make Utthapam studded with onion and green chillies and those were excellent. She also made Upma in her own way and called it Nonta Suji. That is where my culinary knowledge ended and that was what we thought everyone living in the south of vindhyas ate -- Dosa, Idli, Sambhar, Uttapam and Upma.

Once I moved to Bangalore, I was introduced to a variety of South Indian cuisines courtesy of the office cafeteria and the various PG aunties I boarded with. What surprise that they never really served dosa at lunch and the vegetarian fare at the office cafeteria in ISRO was mostly boring consisting of rice or a veg pualo, rasam, sambhar, some vegetable (which I never enjoyed) and then yogurt.

The PG aunties had more interesting food. One of them was a Kannada Muslim and she often made Hyderabadi Biryani in a big dekchi which she served in ample amounts with raita. Of all the PG homes I stayed in, the one I loved most was a beautiful home in Indiranagar owned by an elderly Coorgi lady. She was then in her 60's, much older than my mother then, and lived in that house with a little granddaughter and couple of helps. Her family owned a coffee plantation in Coorg and the sons stayed at the plantation. The little girl went to one of Bangalore's popular convent schools and lived with her grandmother.

Oh, how I was in awe of that PG aunty. I admired her energy, her independence and her cozy home. And she had the most delicious dinners to offer, a lot of which was non-vegetarian. I was not at all interested in cooking those days and so I gladly ate what she cooked, praising them, the taste lingering in my memory now for 20 years.

Kerala Egg Roast, Kerala Egg Curry

Spices for Kerala Egg Curry 

She often made appams which she served with a Kerala stew or a Kerala egg curry. She never cooked them in coconut oil and probably added her own Coorgi style to the Kerala dishes, who is to tell, but they were delicious.

I often think of her and her dishes and yesterday searched for a Kerala Egg Curry or what they call a Kerala Egg Roast or Nadan Egg Roast. The problem with recipes these days is, you search for one thing and the ones that come on top are not the ones who are really authentic but ones with good SEO. I sieved through them and wasn't convinced with all the garam masala they were asking to add, I mean it was like our Bengali dim kosha, where was that distinct flavor that Aunty added coming from. If I closed my eyes and thought I could inhale some black peppercorns and maybe fennel.

So I followed Sailu's Kitchen recipe, one of the blogs I trust for South Indian recipes and then skipped the Garam masala powder. Instead I added freshly ground Coriander powder, Fennel powder and Black Pepper powder. No coconut. Absolutely no coconut necessary.

As the egg curry cooked, I could smell the flavor that lingered around the cool dining room in Coorgi Aunty's house, or so I imagined.
A lot of memory rushed in, Aunty's little granddaughter singing "Amazing Grace" on some evenings; the "Chicken Curry For Soul" books I would love to read in my bedroom after dinner; her always tidy and clean kitchen which she wiped down every night and a lesson I took to heart; and a sadness at my younger software techie self who never took the time to learn how dishes were created and who got so busy to never get time to meet Aunty after moving out.

Kerala Style Egg Roast

Eggs - 4 large ones

Onion - 1 medium finely chopped or sliced
Garlic - 6 cloves finely chopped ~ 1 Tbsp
Ginger - 1" knob finely chopped ~ 1 Tbsp
Green Chilies - 4 slit

Tomato - 1 large chopped in small pieces

For Tadka

Cloves - 2
Whole Black Peppercorns - 1/4th tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4th tsp
Curry leaves - 6-7 leaves

For Masala Paste

Dry grind the following spices separately
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
Black peppercorn - 2 tsp

Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp loosely packed
Salt - to taste

Vegetable Oil

This is How I Did It

Boil Eggs and peel them. Score the tip of the eggs with small slits.

Heat Vegetable Oil for cooking. Please feel free to use Coconut oil for cooking if you do so.

When Oil is warm, then temper the oil with spices under Tadka:
Cloves - 2
Whole Black Peppercorns - 1/4th tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4th tsp
Curry leaves - 6-7 leaves

When the spices pop, add the green chilies, garlic and saute for a minute until you get the fragrance of garlic.

Next add the onion and ginger. Saute for a couple of minutes until onion is soft and pink.

Add the tomatoes and saute until you see oil separating. This will take a few minutes so be patient.

Once the tomatoes are done, add the dry spice powders -- coriander, fennel and black pepper. Add the red chili powder and turmeric powder. Sprinkle some water and kashao the spices.

Add the boiled eggs and toss with spices until the eggs get a little color. They don't have to be fried like in Bengali Dim Kosha, just a little color.

Next add about 1/2 Cup of water, salt to taste and simmer at low heat until the gravy is thick and clinging. Say for 6-8 minutes.
Note: Some days instead of water, I add 1/2 C Coconut Milk if I have it on hand and that definitely takes the taste to a different level. You decide how you want it.

Garnish with a few more curry leaves.

Serve with lacy appamas if you can or with plain rice or pulao. This goes great with some parathas too

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  3. This is such a lovely, evocative, moving post. You are such a talented writer. Maybe next time you're in Bengalore you can take your kids to see the PG; even if the old auntie has passed perhaps her family is still in that house.


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