As egg curry recipes go, this one is not a traditional one since cashew-based lamb/mutton and chicken curries are de rigueur but not egg curries. I saw no reason why a rich, mughlai-style curry such as this could not be paired with eggs. So I tried it. And it turned out really well. Paired with rotis, parathas or any other Indian bread, this creamy cashew egg curry makes for a very satisfying, substantial meal.
Fresh turmeric – earthy, almost peppery and unabashedly yellow-orange, lends the egg curry, brightness of colour and flavour. I like the way it stains my fingertips as I peel its thin, ginger-like skin. Use turmeric powder if you can’t get your hands on the fresh roots.
For this egg curry recipe you will need your food processor/mixer and spice grinder but you won’t break sweat with this; it’s all pretty quick and unfussy grinding. And if you’re a curry lover, you’ll know that spice pastes are par for the course. Cashew nuts form the base of the curry paste or masala. They are soaked in water for an hour or two and ground to a satiny paste with ginger, garlic, fresh turmeric, ground coriander seed and chilli powder. The second paste you’ll need is brown onion paste – this one is quite common in North Indian and Mughlai dishes, especially in lamb/goat curries. Masalas done, dry ground/pounded spices are next. I used my trusty mortar and pestle to pound cloves, cinnamon, fennel and nutmeg to powder. A coffee or spice grinder also works.
That is most of the labour. All that remains is cooking the egg curry and boiling the eggs. An important step in cooking any masala or curry paste is slowly cooking the paste till the ‘oil separates’. You must’ve seen this phrase in may Indian recipes. Essentially it means that once you have added the spice paste to the oil or ghee, cook it on a low to medium heat so that the one, the ginger and garlic are cooked and don’t give off a raw smell, two, the water slowly evaporates leaving behind a thick intense base and three, flavours that would otherwise burn on a high heat get a chance to slowly develop. You will know your masala paste is cooked when tiny bubbles of oil appear on the edges. This egg curry recipe is no different. Do this patiently, and your egg curry or any curry and you’re unlikely to fail the flavour test. Patience is paramount.
Fresh, natural yoghurt is common to many curries and this creamy cashew egg curry is no different. Once the spice paste is cooked, I add the brown onion paste followed by the beaten natural yoghurt. It’s worth remembering that yoghurt added to hot mixtures curdles oe splits. So what I do is, take the pan off the heat for 20 seconds and then stir in the beaten yoghurt before returning it back to a low flame. It’s foolproof. The yoghurt just brings everything together and makes the egg curry ever so slightly tangy. Yoghurt added, cook the curry paste for a minute more, add the ground spices and pour in a little water to loosen the sauce a little.
Boil the eggs for no longer than six minutes, rest them in cool water for 15 minutes and shell them. On the narrower end of the eggs I make two cuts with a sharp knife at right angles taking care to cut only a quarter of the way down. Then I add them to the curry taking care to coat them with the sauce. And they just sit there and soak in the flavours till we’re ready to eat.
Creamy Cashew Egg Curry
- 4-5 eggs
- 30 g fresh, natural yoghurt, beaten
- 3 tbsp brown onion paste Slice 2 medium onions, deep fry till golden and grind to a smooth paste
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder / cayenne
- 1/4 tsp powdered green cardamom
- 1/4 tsp powdered cloves
- 1/4 tsp powdered cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp powdered aniseed (saunf)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil used to fry the onions for the brown onion paste
For the masala paste
- 40 g cashew nuts soaked in water for 2 hours
- 1 1-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and cut into chunks or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
- 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled
To make the masala paste, grind all the ingredients to a smooth, thick paste using a little but not too much water.
- Boil the eggs for no longer than 6 minutes, peel, make two small slits at right angles on the narrow end and set aside.
- Heat the 'onion oil' in a pan on low flame and add the cashew masala paste. Stirring intermittently, cook the paste till the water cooks off and bubbles of oil start appearing on the edges of the spice paste.
- Now stir in the brown onion paste and cook for a minute more on low heat.
- Mix the coriander and chilli powder into the beaten yoghurt. Take the pan off the flame and gentle stir in the yoghurt mixture till it's fully incorporated into the masala.
- Put the pan back on low flame and cook the masala for a further 2 minutes.
- Now season with salt and the ground cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and aniseed. Cook for 20 seconds more and add the eggs. Coat with masala paste and turn off the heat. Serve hot