These Spiced Potatoes and “Eggs” are a vegan — and delicious — spin on a classic breakfast recipe from India’s Parsi community. Papeta par Eeda, as it’s known in India, is a recipe not unlike a frittata but almost marvelous in its simplicity. In this eggless version, with tofu standing in for eggs, you get all the flavor minus the cholesterol. 🙂
I’ve posted before on this blog recipes from India’s dwindling but prominent Parsi community: Persians who moved to India centuries ago and assimilated, the legend goes, as effortlessly as “sugar in water.”
Although small in number, the Paris have an unusually large presence in India and even in the world. Freddie Mercury, Queen frontman and one of my favorite singers, was probably the world’s most famous Parsi. Within India, some of the country’s most prominent businessmen, scientists, artists and thinkers have been Parsis.
One more way that the Parsis imprinted themselves on the Indian landscape, pleasantly, was through their food. The cuisine of the Parsi community, while making use of Indian spices and flavors, stands apart in a league of its own. And what a delicious league it is.
But — there is a “but” for us vegans. A lot of Parsi cuisine — or at least their best known recipes — are not particularly vegan-friendly. Lamb, chicken and fish are liberally used and many breakfast dishes are egg-based.
Like this Papeta par Eeda, which literally translates to potatoes topped with eggs.
Think of this recipe as a Parsi version of the Italian frittata, where veggies are topped with eggs and allowed to set. But what distinguishes this recipe are the glorious herbs and spices native to Indian cuisine.
To make this dish, you start out with a tadka or tempering of mustard seeds and add to it fragrant shards of curry leaves, green chilies and coriander. Add the cooked slices of potatoes and let them brown in the pan, soaking up all of those delicious flavors.
Finally, over the top, you pour over the eggs, or in this case the tofu “eggs,” which I also spice for more flavor.
There are probably as many versions of these Spiced Potatoes and Eggs as there are Parsi families, and I’ve seen many variations, including some that include tomato. Personally, I love this simpler version because nothing can beat the flavor of those golden-brown potatoes and the spices, topped with the creamy tofu “eggs”.
Although I billed this as a breakfast recipe, and that’s what it usually is eaten as, these Spiced Potatoes and “Eggs” would make a great brunch, lunch or dinner. There’s a whole lot to love here. Tons of protein from the tofu and the healthfulness of potatoes.
What you’ll also love is the simple ingredient list. All you need is:
- Extra firm tofu
- Aquafaba (optional — it helps add some airiness to the tofu which I like, but you can leave it out)
- Curry leaves
- Coriander leaves
- Green chili peppers like jalapeno or serrano
- Black or brown mustard seeds
- Garlic powder
That’s it, really. You can leave out the curry leaves if you can’t find them. I love the flavor they add.
Here’s how to make the perfect Spiced Potatoes over “Eggs”, or vegan Papeta par Eeda:
- Precook or boil the potatoes to about 85 percent doneness, then slice them thin and evenly so they continue to cook together in the pan. If your potatoes are thoroughly cooked when you slice them, they will fall apart as you saute them in the pan.
- Make sure you use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or a non-stick skillet, so your potatoes slide easily out of the pan and don’t get stuck.
- I do part of the cooking in an oven– a step that actual eggs would not require because they set more easily on the stovetop than the tofu does. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can cook the potatoes on the stovetop, then transfer the potatoes and spices etc. to an oven-safe dish. Scoop on the tofu “eggs” and bake.
- That said, you can cook this dish entirely on the stovetop — it will just take longer for the tofu to set. Use a domed lid and cover the pan to cook the tofu “eggs” for as long as it takes to set them.
- For a slight variation, add tomatoes to the saucepan and saute until pulpy, before adding the potatoes. Proceed with the remaining steps.
- The tofu “eggs” will remain slightly soft and creamy — don’t expect them to firm up the way regular eggs would. But the texture of the tofu is divine with the potatoes.
This is one of Jay’s favorite breakfasts so I can certify that it’s eminently kid-friendly as well.
Serve these Spiced Potatoes and “Eggs” with slices of crusty bread and a pat of vegan butter.
If you make these Indian Spiced Potatoes over “Eggs,” be sure to come back and let me know how they turned out for you. Or take a photo and tag @holycowvegan on Instagram.
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Spiced Potatoes and “Eggs”
Indian Spiced Potatoes and "Eggs"
- 1 14-oz package extra firm tofu
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp avocado oil (or any vegetable oil)
- 3-4 large Yukon gold or red potatoes (boiled until about 90 percent done, then sliced into 1/4th inch thick slices)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 green chili peppers, like jalapeno or serrano (minced). Use more or less based on your tolerance for heat.
- 20 curry leaves (about 2 sprigs). If the curry leaves are large, cut them thinly into ribbons.
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 3 shallots (thinly sliced). Red onions are fine.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Make the tofu "eggs" by first placing the aquafaba in a food processor and processing until very foamy. Add the crumbled tofu along with the cornstarch and garlic powder and salt and ground black pepper to taste. Process until smooth. Set aside. The mixture will be pretty thick, but should be scoopable and spreadable. If you don't use aquafaba, use some nondairy milk to get the right consistency.
- Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the mustard seeds and when they sputter, add the curry leaves and coriander leaves. Saute for a minute, then add the shallots and green chili peppers. Season with salt and continue to saute for a couple of minutes.
- Add the cooked and sliced potatoes, trying as best as possible not to overlap. If there is some overlap, do not worry. Let the potatoes cook for a few minutes so they start to brown, then carefully turn them around with a spatula so they can brown on the other side. Make sure at this stage that your potatoes are perfectly seasoned -- add more salt if needed.
- Using a spoon or ladle, scoop on the tofu "egg" mixture over the potatoes, leaving a one-inch border around the sides. If not using an oven-safe skillet, transfer the potatoes to an oven-safe dish at this point and scoop on the tofu "eggs".
- Carefully place the skillet or baking dish in the oven. Bake 30 minutes or until the top feels firm to the touch. The tofu "eggs" won't set the way regular eggs would, but they'll be pretty firm and will have a silky, creamy texture when you eat them.
- Serve the potatoes and "eggs" hot with slices of crusty bread.