During lockdown, I planned to put all this time to culinary adventure and try new recipes, many stashed away and saving for “a rainy day.” Most were disappointing, with this recipe of chef Tejal Rao being an exception. It is an Indian vegetarian dish from Andhra Pradesh. The spicy tomato-rich sauce is exquisite. It gave me an opportunity to use lots of exotic spices I have collected during travels. I had no garam masala on hand, but substituted an Omani spice mixture I purchased on our recent trip. Perfect. I will make it again, but cook the eggs for 8 minutes instead of 11 or 12 so the yolks are not so hard. This serves 4, but we liked it so much, the two of us devoured it all.
1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
2 small cinnamon sticks
6 green cardamon pods
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
6 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
6 to 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled (or not quite hard boiled)
Handful of small , tender fresh cilantro stems
In a large heavy skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until evenly caramelized and light brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger. Fry, stirring occasionally, another 4 minutes. Add cinnamon and cardamon. When spices start to toast, after about 2 minutes, stir in coriander, turmeric and peppercorns.
Add tomatoes, salt and 1 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and fat rises to the top, abut 15 minutes. Stir in garam masala and lower heat. If the sauce is not runny, stir in 1/2 cup water.
Add all but 2 of eggs and sir gently. Halve remaining eggs lengthwise and arrange on top, yolks side up. Heat until eggs are warmed through, then top with cilantro.
I served the curry with rice.