In my childhood home, egg curry was a perennial favorite. My father, whose family hails from India’s Konkan coast, had a very special and flavorful recipe he’d make for us occasionally, and I can still remember its rich, deep flavor. He’d add to it some onions, a few spices and lots of coconut — an ingredient that features in nearly every Konkani dish because coconuts grow abundantly along the Konkan coast. And then the eggs would go in. Sometimes he’d boil them first and halve them and then add them to the curry. At other times he’d just break them into the curry near the end, letting them poach in the liquid.
That egg curry was delicious. It was also a stunningly easy recipe to make, which made it a popular food for evenings when time was running short. All you needed to serve with it was some boiled white rice, or a few rotis, and you had an amazing meal to eat.
For my vegan version of my dad’s egg curry, I chose some firm tofu. And then I diced it up into a really small dice. This is crucial because the tofu diced small absorbs all of the flavors from the curry, and the poaching gives it a texture and flavor very much like eggs. In fact, if you have an egg lover at home, this is a good recipe to try out on them. And they oughta thank you for saving them the cholesterol.
The rest of my recipe is almost exactly like my dad’s. And, best of all, it tasted just as good. Who needs eggs?
- 1 12-oz package firm tofu, drained and then diced into ¾-cm cubes
- ½ red onion, diced
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- ½ tsp turmeric
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tsp paprika (optional)
- ¼ cup coriander leaves, minced
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- Salt to taste
- For masala:
- 1 cup grated frozen or fresh coconut
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 tsp black cumin (shahjeera)
- 2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 dry red chilies
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1-inch stick of cinnamon
- 10 cloves
- Make the masala:
- Heat half a tablespoon of oil. Add the cloves, cinnamon, black cumin, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns and red chilies and saute until the coriander is a few shades darker and the spices are fragrant.
- Add the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions start to brown.
- Add the coconut (thaw first if frozen). After adding the coconut, don't wander away because coconut can burn fast. Stir frequently until the coconut's turning pale blonde and toasty.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender, add a cup of water, and blend into a smooth paste.
- Make the curry:
- Heat the remaining oil. Add the onions and some salt and saute until they start to brown.
- Add the tomatoes, turmeric, and paprika, if using. Stir to mix, cover with a lid, and let it all cook until the tomatoes are quite mushy.
- Add the ground masala and stir well to mix. If the curry is really thick, add some water to thin it out.
- Bring the curry to a boil, add salt, then add the grated nutmeg and tofu cubes. Stir well to mix.
- Let the tofu poach in the curry over medium-low heat, about 8 minutes.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the coriander leaves.
- Serve hot with some rice.
More Indian tofu favorites at our home: