Chettinad is a region of southern India famed for it's vibrant and fiery cuisine. Hard boiled eggs are tossed in a delectably spicy sauce in this signature dish from the area. Black pepper, cloves, cumin, red chili, and cardamom are first freshly ground for maximum flavor. The spices are then simmered to perfection recipe in a rich tomato gravy that compliments the richness of the eggs. Best served with steamed rice or hot chapattis.
I've been making this recipe for so long I've forgotten where I got the recipe. I think it was from the Times of India. It has become a family favorite at our house. At the time I had never heard of an egg curry or egg gravy dish. This recipe is quite spicy and definitely for those who like a lot of heat. Not for the timid in taste at all! Get your best Tellicherry peppercorns out for this dish as they're the star of the show here! The pepper is beautifully balanced by the cumin, cloves, cardamom, and coriander. Kashmiri mirch adds an extra dimension to the black pepper's pungent heat but does not overpower it. The spicy sauce over hard boiled eggs is brilliant take of the old classic combination of cracked black pepper and eggs. You don't have to fry the eggs if you don't wish to. Another way to serve this dish is to shallowly score the hard boiled eggs a few times end to end with a knife so they soak up a bit of the sauce. Either way this makes quite a tasty lunch or dinner served with rice or chapattis. Enjoy!
5-6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
3 TBS cooking oil
1 C onion, diced finely
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 tsp black mustard/rai seeds
3 large tomatoes (about 1&1/2C) chopped roughly or pureed
Grind until smooth for masala:
3 green cardamoms/elaichi
2 tsp black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 tsp coriander/dhania
2 tsp cumin/jeera
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika pllus 1 tsp cayenne)
1 tsp shahi jeera/black cumin (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
Here's what to do:
1) Grind all spices listed for masala into powder and set aside. (I used an electric coffee grinder.)
2) Heat oil and 1 teaspoonful salt in a kadhai or deep heavy bottomed skillet for 7 minutes. Fry peeled hard boiled eggs on oil about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. (If you wish to be authentic and have yellow fingers for a weeks you can rub the eggs with a bit of turmeric.) Put fried eggs aside and continue to next step.
3) Add mustard seeds to the same salted oil and fry for a minute. Add finely diced onions and fry until golden brown.
4) Add ground masala powder, garlic paste, and ginger paste to fried onions. Stir well and fry for two minutes. Add masala powder and tomatoes to mixture and allow to simmer for five minutes ir until oil separates from mixture.
5) Add 1 cup of water to to fried mixture and allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is to desired consistency. Salt to taste and stir in fried hard boiled eggs. Serve with rice and or chapattis.
You don't have to fry the eggs if you don't wish to. Another way this dish is typically served is with the hard boiled eggs shallowly scored a few times end to end with a knife so they soak up a bit of the sauce.
The shahi jeera/black cumin is traditional but it won't alter the flavor of the dish is you leave it out. It's delicate flavor gets a bit covered up by all the pepper and cumin anyway.