Dodi and Lexa Newman
Serves three or four for dinner, six for lunch
For one of our virtual cooking get-togethers recently, my older daughter suggested we cook something vegetarian, along the lines of a Sicilian dish called Eggs in Purgatory (isn’t that a great name!) but using curry and almonds as a base rather than tomatoes. This dish is the result, it is very loosely based on two recipes: Egg Mappas – hard-boiled eggs in a curry sauce, published in “Coconut Lagoon” by Joe Thottungal; and Chicken in Almond Sauce, published in Gourmet magazine, March 2004. I’ll leave the exact timing to you – everyone’s stove is different, and you may not want your egg yolks runny. Check progress often and trust your judgement.
1 cup (250 ml) almond flour
2 three-inch (75 mm) cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fennel seeds
½ teaspoon (3 ml) cumin, ground
2 medium bay leaves
2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut oil
2 cups (500 ml) finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated or finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons (30 ml) grated or finely chopped ginger
2 cups (500 ml) coconut milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml) tomato paste
1½ teaspoon (8 ml) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)
½ teaspoon (3 ml) cardamom (optional)
¾ teaspoon (4 ml) salt
6 large eggs
Heat a dry, heavy bottomed 10 inch (25 cm) skillet over medium heat and in it toast the almond flour, cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, cumin, and bay leaves, stirring constantly, until the almonds are pale golden, about five to seven minutes. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
In the same pan, over medium heat, heat the coconut oil, add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and golden, about five to eight minutes.
Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in ground almond mixture, coconut milk, tomato paste, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper and/or cardamom if using, and salt. Turn the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir now and then to prevent the sauce from burning.
Up to this point the sauce can be prepared up to two days ahead, refrigerated, and reheated 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. This will allow the various flavours to marry and the dish to become greater than the sum of its parts.
Discard cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. With the back of a spoon, make six divots in the sauce, then crack an egg into each divot. Cover the pan and let cook until the eggs are set to taste, about four or five minutes for runny yolks. Covering the pan is important if the eggs are to cook properly.
Spoon the eggs and sauce over Basmati rice and serve. Enjoy!