How comforting is it to catch a glimpse of eggs gloriously adorning the-almost-empty refrigerator? Very comforting, isn’t it? I say it with much conviction since I believe that I might almost win (or be a very close competitor) for the “The most Experienced” award of such situations – a lot number of times. I might be damned to proclaim it as the most versatile of ingredients EVER but I am sure most of you will agree with me that indeed it is a savior in those critically desperate times.
Eggs are such adorable, “un”-intimidating delights that almost everyone is content savoring and more importantly, very fearless while cooking something wondrous. With its numerous avatars – be it the humble French toast for breakfast, frittata for lunch, nutritious boiled eggs as a snack or the fancy Pasta Carbonara for dinner, eggs are undoubtedly the most pliable of all ingredients I have ever worked with. I actually cannot sing eloquent enough of this dazzling star which is there to support you (as a binder for coating I must add) and of course to provide you with essential minerals and of course the protein for your dear pretty self. Informal, lip smacking and quick meals can be cooked just with eggs. So when in a fix to cook up something elegant, this gorgeous Indian dish with eggs and potatoes is something that pops straight into mind.
Out of all the various renditions of eggs, the one that stands out in memory the most is this simply prepared curry by who else but my Ma. To let you in on some details, with all the various religious restrictions there were only just very specific days of the week on which were allowed to eat/ cook non-vegetarian food back home. Out of all those days, Wednesday was one such day which we eagerly looked forward to as kids. So this “Anda alu jhola” dates back to those Wednesdays when we would rush back from school feeling awfully hungry with all anticipation of what awaits us and reach home to wafts of aroma of this egg curry sipping out through the front door. “Jhola” in Odia refers to a curry with a thinner consistency most usually eaten with rice. The rice soaks up the varied flavors of the jhola which is then coherently boosted with a bite of the seasoned egg. This egg and potato curry was the front runner on days when my darling little brother would insist on eating anything other than fish. My Ma would have hardly any will to resist and we would get to savor this dish. Need I say that he absolutely loves this preparation and yes lil bro, this post is for you.
Seasoned and lightly sautéed boiled eggs simmer in a flavorful, thin broth along with sautéed cubed potatoes to add a quintessential Odia spin to the classic egg curry. Usually eaten with rice, this curry is quick to prepare and is a welcome change from heavy, thickened egg gravies.
For dry spice paste:
For the sauce:
- For perfectly boiled eggs: The first and the most important step is the boiling the eggs. How often have you ended up with that greyish ring around the yolk or with an egg with runny yolk? So now with this easy process, you are guaranteed to end up with perfectly boiled eggs every time without fail.
- Place raw eggs in a pan and fill it with room temperature water till it covers the eggs. Bring the pan to a boil and switch off the stove once the water starts boiling. Cover the pan with a lid for 14 minutes and then, soak the eggs in cold water for about 5 minutes. Peel it once cooled and you have perfectly hard boiled eggs ready to rock.
- Season the peeled, boiled eggs and cubed potatoes separately with 1/8 tsp of salt, turmeric powder and chili powder.
- Heat up 2 T oil in a pan over medium heat and toss in the cubed potatoes. Once slightly browned, take those out and then add in the seasoned eggs. Stir and shallow fry the eggs till very lightly browned for 1-2 minutes. Scoop out the eggs and keep aside.
- In the same oil, toss in the cinnamon stick/bay leaf and once fragrant, add in the ginger, garlic and onion paste. Stir consistently over medium heat for 1 minute. Then, stir in the dry ingredients for the spice paste in ½ C water and add it to the ginger-garlic-onion paste in the pan. Stir consistently so that the paste does not burn and wait for the mixture to boil. Once the oil floats on top and the masala doesn’t smell anymore of raw onion, you know the gravy is ready. Add in 1 C of water and let it boil.
- Now slowly slide in the potatoes. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Right before taking off the heat, add in the halved sautéed eggs.Garnish with chopped cilantro, adjust for salt and serve hot with rice or bread.
While I savor this anda alu jhola, I cannot help but travel back in time when all of us would sit together to gobble up the rice soaked in this delectable light gravy. Nothing these days is quite as delightful than that surge of happiness we experienced as we ran back home on a rainy afternoon to this warm and homely preparation.
Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I did:)
Have a great week friends!
P.s: I am sending this entry to
-“JCO: Monsoon of India” hosted by Sayantani and Jagruti