Thursday, June 11, 2015

Masala Shakshuka

Eggs reign supreme in my kitchen. Akuri, creamy scrambled versions, masala omelets and myriads of eggy concoctions emerge to be readily and happily eaten. But I do not make this recipe often. The reason being you have to chop an enormous amount of onions. Not my favorite kitchen chore. Since Shauna has developed a distinct penchant for anything egg-related, I indulge her tastes. 

She visits this weekend. This results in some furious culinary machinations. Moussaka, mutton baffat, chorizo con papas, sweet corn chicken soup fill the fridge. Along with her soul-satisfying, requisite varan bhaat (dal and rice), she spies a mix of onions and tomatoes. "What is that" asks the enquiring mind. "Surprise" is what I say. She sees eggs and chopped cilantro, but doesn't quite make the connection. Peering over my shoulder, she watches avidly as I saute onions and tomatoes. Once I start cracking eggs, she figures out what the 'surprise' is!

Serves 4

4 Eggs
2-3 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 large Onions 
1 teaspoon minced Garlic 
1 teaspoon grated Ginger 
2 large Tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric 
1/2 teaspoon Chile powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder 
1/2 teaspoon Garam masala
1/2 teaspoon + a couple of pinches Kosher Salt
Ground Black Pepper 
Cilantro for garnishing

Bring eggs to room temperature.

Peel and chop onions into fine dice.

Chop tomatoes into small pieces.

Heat oil till it shimmers in a nonstick saucepan.

Saute onions in hot oil till golden brown.

Add ginger, garlic and chopped tomatoes and saute well till tomatoes becomes a homogeneous mix.

Scatter turmeric, chile powder, cumin powder, garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt over onions. Mix well and stir for a few minutes. 

Turn flame to low. 

Use the back of a spoon to make four depressions in the onion mixture.

Crack an egg into each depression.

Season with a few pinches of kosher salt and black pepper.

Cover saucepan with a tight fitting lid. 

Raise the flame to medium and cook eggs for 3-4 minutes till whites have set. 

Garnish with cilantro and serve straight from the pan.

I open the lid of the saucepan with a tada....the heavenly aroma of fried eggs and masala emanates through the kitchen. Shauna helps herself to an egg. We follow suit. A forkful of egg and masala, drenched in runny yolk, transports me to Geets' kitchen in Mineola, to her table, tasting these masala eggs for the first time, relishing eggs, onions and tomatoes in one savory bite. Some twenty years later, the same flavors enliven memories and make for a very happy daughter.