On my first morning in India I ate a spicy scrambled egg dish that I loved very much. It had been cooked the day before by the housekeeper Kareena. Eggs that are delicious and cooked 24 hours ahead? That’s a recipe I need. I asked if she would show me how to make those “breakfast eggs” sometime, and she said she’d be happy to. Yesterday was my lucky day.
When I noticed how her kurta was the same color as the onions,
I knew I must take pictures.
And I took notes on the process, and the approximate amount of ingredients. It’s essentially a spicy Indian version of a vegetable scramble, with variations as many as there are cooks, as you can see for yourself if you want to browse recipes online.
My teacher went to the refrigerator to get one of the slender green Indian chilis, and was disappointed to find them all gone. She said she could make the dish with dried chili powder for us, but if she were making it at home she’d just wait until she went to the market again; because fresh is best.
This is the powder she substituted>>
I read that if you want to approximate this dried chili powder you can blend 3 parts paprika to one part cayenne.
This morning Tom went shopping and resupplied us with chilis, which are here drying after being soaked in a disinfecting bath.
It is amazing how many vegetables are in this dish. Kareena’s style is to make sure all the vegetables are in very small pieces by the time you mix the eggs in. The bright red color comes from the chili powder; what I ate that first morning had been made with a fresh green chili and it wasn’t red at all.
Kareena’s EGG BHURJI
3 small onions, diced small
1 tablespoon fresh curry leaves
2-3 tablespoons oil
1-2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 small tomatoes, diced small
1 long thin hot chili, minced (or 1-2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder)
½-1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
In a large broad skillet heat the oil, then throw in the whole curry leaves and stir them a few seconds to sizzle before adding the onions. Cook the onions over medium heat until golden brown. You may add the fresh chili pepper at this point, or wait.
Add the tomatoes, turmeric, (chili powder if you didn’t have fresh chili, fresh chili if you waited), and salt. Stir and cook together for a few minutes, then put a lid on and cook for another 10 minutes or so to break down the tomatoes. Mash them some more with the back of the wooden spoon.
Break the eggs into the pan and scramble with all the vegetables until partially cooked; add most of the cilantro, saving some for garnish. Scramble until all cooked and crumbly. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Serve, sprinkling with remaining cilantro.
The best way to eat these eggs is with one of Kareena’s chapatis fresh off the griddle, but a pile of Bhurji is great all by itself, too.
When I return home, I’d like to have a tablecloth after the fashion of Kareena’s kurta for my dining table, so that when I sit down to eat my Anda Bhurji it would all add up to the perfect and colorful Indian breakfast.