It was interesting – in fact, it was better than that. It was superb, the sauce a perfect balance of sweet and sour and spicy... but the chilli hit snuck in very quietly behind the tangy explosion on the tongue. The only thing that stopped the dish from being perfect was the amount of oil in it, but once I had spooned out the worst of the stuff, the sauce was delicious. In fact, Pete liked it so much that I declared I would try and replicate it at home.
A few weeks later, I had still not done anything about it (big surprise). But then circumstances butted in and forced my hand. I’ll list the circs because I’m sure y’all would want to know – hey, it’s interesting, allright?
Circ 1 - Nearly a dozen eggs that were very close to their use-by date
Circ 2 – Pete’s son’s friend who was staying over unexpectedly
Circ 3 - A nearly empty tin of Alphonso mango puree
Circ 4 – Some new potatoes... oh all right, potatoes that had been new awhile ago, but were now on the verge of parenthood right there in my potato bin.
Circ 5 – Pete, who had been persistently NOT forgetting to remind me to make “that tamarind thing” for the umptyninth time (and that was just counting that week).
(Told ya the circumstances would be interesting. Or perhaps not. But this post needed content, and one way or the other it's now got a decent amount of text in it.)
Anyway, given all that, what could I do but get down to making that tamarind thing. Which incidentally turned out very nicely, thank you for asking.
PS. I read on somebody's blog that making slits in the boiled eggs would allow the sauce to flavour the interior of the eggs while they were simmering in the sauce. I am here to say that the slits did nothing of the sort. But this didn't detract from the taste, so I didnt worry about the unreceptive eggs one bit.
And if unreceptive eggs should happen to happen to you too, neither should you. Not one bit.
Recipe for: Sweet-sour roasted egg curry
8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 onions - 1 chopped fine, 1 pureed
1 tomato, chopped fine
1/4 cup slow-roasted tomato puree (or just puree one tomato)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
3 tbsp mango puree (if this isn't available, use 1 heaped tbsp jaggery or dark brown sugar)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp tamarind paste
3/4 cup milk
Water as required
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
Salt to taste
1. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large pan and add the 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder and turmeric powder. Let them sizzle for 20 seconds.
2. Make four deep vertical slits in the hard boiled eggs, being careful not to cut all the way through to the other side.
3. Fry the eggs in the tempered oil over medium heat, turning them over gently from time to time, till they are lightly golden all over and the surface is slightly blistered.
Remove the eggs from the oil and reserve.
4. Add the remaining 1 tsp oil to the pain now and fry the chopped onions for 2-3 minutes.
5. Then add the chopped tomatoes and let them cook till they begin to turn mushy.
6. Meanwhile, in a small jug or glass, put in the tamarind paste and 1 tbsp sugar, add 1/2 cup warm water and whisk to mix.
7. Then add the mango puree (or jaggery/brown sugar) and red chilli powder and whisk again.
8. Pour this into the pan over the tomato-onion mixture,
then add the peeled chopped potatoes
and the pureed tomato and onion.
9. Stir it all in, then pour in the milk, and mix.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pan and let the contents simmer for 10 minutes, or till the potatoes are nearly done.
Taste the sauce now for the sweet-sour-hot balance. Add some lemon juice if required (or amchur if you have it) if it needs to be a bit more sour.
10. Now add the garam masala and stir it in, then add salt to taste and finally the roasted boiled eggs. Simmer the eggs gently in the masala for 7-10 minutes, turning them over occasionally and being careful not to break them, until the potatoes are completely cooked.
Let the curry rest for 5 minutes, then garnish with chopped coriander and serve with any simple pulao or plain white rice.