Friday, June 28, 2013

Andhra Egg Roast

Recently, a very close friend invited me over for a casual lunch party. My friend cooks yummy Andhra dishes and her food has a great home-style flavor. The lunch table was decorated with matching table scape, silverware and linen. I was very much pleased and delighted for the time we were spending together. For lunch, she made delicious Andhra Egg Roast, the recipe for which comes from her Mom.

She informs me that this Andhra Egg Roast makes use of lots of garlic pods which are never peeled, plenty of caramelized onion bits with lots of green chillies. Another interesting thing about this dish is its supposed to be an accompaniment to a lentil based dish, the everyday Indian Dal. "The Andhra Egg Roast goes well with Dal," she added. I agreed completely with her. The heat comes from green chillies and she asked me not to add any red chilli powder as the powder affects the texture and alters the taste of the dish. I nodded and made notes and replicated the same in my kitchen.

The result was an out-of-world egg recipe that I'll be making often. I concluded that this recipe is a keeper. Use a non-stick if you are frugal about the amount of oil required to caramelize the onions. 

Andhra Egg Roast
Simple Egg Roast with caramelized onions and whole unpeeled garlic pods

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

Hard boiled eggs (boiled, peeled and long gashes made) - 4

Onions (finely chopped) - 3, medium
Green Chillies (finely chopped) - 2
Garlic pods (unpeeled, lightly crushed) - 8-10

Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/3 tsp


Hard boil the eggs. Cool, peel the shell, make four wide long gashes on each egg. Sprinkle salt and turmeric powder on the eggs. Give a good toss and keep aside.
In a skillet, heat some oil. Once the oil is smoking hot, add the chopped green chillies. Saute for a minute and add the onions. The idea here is to get a crispy texture for the green chillies. Caramelize the onions to a brown color. Add oil, if required. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to aid the brown color of caramel. This process takes around 10-15 minutes.
Crush the garlic lightly with a pestle. Once the onions are partially brown, add the garlic pods and saute well. Lower the flame, add the spice powders, adjust salt. The onions and garlic will get an even coating of spice powders, also turning into crispy textured bits. Add the Eggs now, give a good toss. This will take another 15 minutes. 
Cook for couple of minutes and turn off flame. The dish goes well with home made Dal.

Black Jamun/ Java Plum (Jambul)

I am back after a brief hiatus.

A recent activity of fruit tasting prompted this post. The fruit in question here is, Jamun also known as Black Plum which I am very fond of. With that, I am back doing what I do best - writing and documenting about food, memories, people who influence the experiences and the tiny world that weaves stories around them. People who blog and write regularly will understand what I am referring to and why, writing as an occupation gives a different kind of joy to many writers who simply have to write. On a different note, I am pleased to announce that I've moved to India with family. For now, all is well and we are busy settling down. I look forward to my journey in my home base and have a lot of gratitude to the US, the land that adopted me and moulded me with lot of love and gave me some of the most cherished experiences of my life.

Black Jamun aka Jambul/ Java Plum is  a fruit native to Indian heritage and finds appearance in local markets, hawkers and street vendors between May-July. The berry of sorts, is unripe and once it turns ripe blossoms into a purple fruit which is a mix of sour, sweet and astringent flavors. A dash of salt is what Mom added to the fruits once they were thoroughly rinsed and drained in order to balance the flavors.

Growing up, my school had tiny hills which served as a great ground for our annual summer camps. Mom sent us for all the camps religiously, may be for a decade. The hardest part was waking up at the crack of dawn and learning Yoga at 5:30 in the morning. As much as I despised it, I went for the class because Yoga made me feel good about my body. All of a sudden, I could do cartwheels and spin like a top. The tiny hills were dotted with Cashew, Wild Berries and Black Jamun trees. I was gifted a wood and leather Catapult by one family friend. All my friends made good use of the Catapult to pelt the stones at the perfectly aimed trajectory to ensure that the fruits fall right into a cloth towel, which we balanced according to the location of the fruit. Our teachers used to get mighty annoyed with our adventurous pursuits, particularly because the forests were owned by private parties. 

That was the first time I actually saw Jamun berries happily perched on the tall, gigantic trees. The sight made me respect all the vendors who would sell the berries during sweltering hot summers, in a small leafy cone for a paltry sum. I think its experiences like these that help you connect the dots and enable you to respect Mother Nature all the more. The purple stains it left after it splashed on the hay and grass covered forest terrain was certainly a sight to behold. Adding to that the sweet scent of berries wafting around in the forest attracting birds of all kinds made it perfect ecological base for curious minds like ours.  

A tiny bit on the health benefits of Black Jamun -
- Its a great digestive aid and has cooling effect on the body.
- The fruit is a great medicine for Diabetics and is believed to be instrumental in reducing blood sugar levels.
- The seeds of the fruit also find use in ancient medicinal practices like Ayurveda and Unani.
- The bark of the tree is also used for many herbs and medicinal concoctions.