The season of Lent is upon us once again. It is a time when you deny yourself, or rather give up your vices and indulgences for 40 days. I have many vices and I overindulged in many more; so it wasn’t hard for me to give up something. Food is my greatest indulgence, and many people fast for all 40 days, but I think I may have to crawl before I run; so I’m giving up my favourite foods this year.
I love my meat, I love my alcohol, and I love my chips (french fries). If they had a support group for people addicted to chips, I would be front and centre! “Hi my name is Wairimu, and I am addicted to chips” I eat them almost everyday, if not for lunch, then most likely with dinner. I like all kinds of chips, big ol’ fat chips, skinny chips like McDonald’s does them, curly fries, spicy ones, cheesy chips… I could go on for days!
I’m giving up all three this year. that is; NO Alcohol, NO chips, and NO meat. Last year I didn’t eat meat, which was a bit of a challenge but I made it through. This year I am more prepared, with plenty of new recipes to try out!
First up was the Egg Curry Masala. Made this one for Gathoni for dinner, after she was kind enough to scoop me up from work.
It is a bit of work, boiling and peeling the eggs. But it is all worth it when the meal is cooked. I did end up putting a lot more spices than I was supposed to, I would advise that you don’t put too much curry powder.
Here is the recipe (adapted from Lisa’s Kitchen)…
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons ghee or a mixture of butter and oil
- 2/3 teaspoons turmeric
For the sauce:
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 small onion, finely sliced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, grated or minced
- 3 – 4 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
- pinch of ground cinnamon
- pinch of asafoetida (Found this at Chandarana, in a little yellow pot)
- 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
- good handful of dried curry leaves (Any Indian shop will sell curry leaves, they sometimes have fresh ones at the greengrocer)
For the paste:
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup raw cashews, halved
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili and vinegar paste (optional)- I didn’t use this because I had already used so much chilli in the sauce.
- pinch of dried mint (I didn’t have mint, so I used dried basil instead)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- fresh parsley or coriander leaves for garnish
Begin by hard boiling the eggs. Place the eggs in a medium large heavy bottomed pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cook for a few minutes, remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, let sit for a few minutes and peel.
Heat a combination of butter and oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over low heat. I didn’t have ghee on hand, but it is best to cook with, I for some reason love the smell of ghee.
When hot, add the eggs along with the turmeric and gently stir and fry for a few minutes until the eggs are slightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
In the same pan, increase the heat to medium and toss in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds -I may have forgotten this part, so I just tossed some ground cumin and mustard in with the onions. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Now add the onion and stir and fry for another five minutes or so or until the onion begins to turn slightly brown. Next add the ginger and chillies and stir and fry for another few minutes.
Next into the pan are the spices *my favourite part*. Toss in the coriander powder, chili powder, cayenne, curry powder (if using), ground cumin, cinnamon and asafetida. The smell of the spices is almost intoxicating! There is a certain warmness I feel with the smell spices filling up the kitchen, I just know it is going to be good!
Stir and fry for a minute and then add the tomatoes and curry leaves. Simmer until the tomato mixture is thickened – roughly 10 – 15 minutes.
While the tomatoes are simmering, prepare the paste. In a food processor or blender, blend together the coconut milk, cashews, yogurt, red chili vinegar paste (if using), dried mint and salt. I left the paste a little chunky. I wanted a little bit of crunch in my curry. Add the paste to the tomato mixture and continue to simmer until you have a gravy that has thickened to your desired consistency.
Add the garam masala and eggs and gently simmer for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Garnish with fresh parsley or coriander and serve hot.
I served it with rice.
I can foresee this being a regular meal in the next 40 days. I am determined to explore more meat-free dishes that are just as filling!
Dizzee-Yvo, you would be so proud:)
Has anyone given up anything for Lent? Do let me know what you have given up…
I wish you all luck this Lent, and if it does get challenging for you, PRAY about it!