Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Curry + Eggs = Delicious

Alicia has been my primary supply of Indian cookbooks, both at the holidays and through the joy that is the free book room at her office. I have a couple of “easy” Indian cookbooks that she has picked up over the past few years, but one in particular I hadn’t used because it required weights rather than my usual measuring cups for the recipes. Enter the kitchen scale. Although it was initially intended only for weighing yarn (to determine more exactly how much I was using for my various projects), it has come in quite handy in the kitchen. My most recent use of the scale was to weigh ingredients for a really delicious chickpea and spinach curry. The most exciting part of the dish, however, was poaching eggs in the finished curry. It had never occurred to me to poach eggs in anything other than water, but this recipe looked so delicious I had to try it. I made a few changes (to accommodate the volume of chickpeas I had, the kind of tomatoes, and the greens available at the farmers market), and it was quite delicious. The timing was also perfect for a celebration of local food: my eggs were from a local farm and were really unlikely to have salmonella, unlike many in stores across the country this past week. I felt pretty confident eating them with delicious runny yolks, and would encourage you to find delicious local eggs and celebrate with me that they were not recalled!
Chickpea and Spinach Curry with Soft Eggs

Adapted from Easy Indian in Minutes

1 – 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas or 1-2 cans of chickpeas
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 large cloves garlic
14 oz canned tomatoes
2 rounded teaspoons tamarind paste
2/3 cup hot water
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 tablespoons butter or substitute
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2-3 bunches fresh spinach or other dark leafy green (I used tatsoi, an Asian spinach one of my favorite farmer's market stands recommended)
1 egg per serving
fresh cilantro for garnish

Cook the chickpeas until they are soft, or open the can, and then drain them. Grind the cumin and coriander as finely as you like (or use ground spices, though you may want to increase the amounts slightly). Peel the garlic and chop. Combine the tamarind paste and hot water and stir to mix. Put the oil and butter in a large skillet or pot over moderate heat. Stir in the tumeric, cumin, and coriander until fragrant. Add the garlic and tomatoes (don’t drain them), the tamarind water, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper and a little salt. Add the cooked chickpeas, cover the dish and cook about 15 minutes, stirring periodically.

Meanwhile, wash the spinach and then add the whole leaves to the pot. Cover again and continue cooking until the leaves are wilted (1-2 minutes). Remove the lid and if the mixture is slightly liquid, let it bubble for a few minutes until it is fairly thick.

Lower the heat and make a depression in the curry for each of the eggs. Break the eggs carefully into the depressions. Cover again and cook for 2-6 minutes, until the eggs are just set. They should still be runny in the center (unless they are contaminated with salmonella, in which case you should cook them through, or skip them altogether as the curry is still delicious). Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


  1. Thanks for including the recipe! i may have to give this a try.

  2. MMMM...that does look yummy!