Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Shakshouka - The Bong way!

This was supposed to be my post for the Bengali New Year, which was on the 15th of April 2014.

I missed it.

Then again I thought of posting it as my Easter post.

I missed again.

So before I miss posting it again, let me hurriedly finish the post.




The Tuesday morning of the Bengali New Year greeted us with a spat of snow. The last of the season I hope! 101 errands and chores later, when I came back home at 5:15 PM with an equally exhausted, hungry and cranky kid, I desperately wanted to pick up the phone and order pizza. But I really did not want to eat a pizza. I was craving for some homemade comfort food.

Mom at this stage stage would whip of a super quick and delicious Bengali Egg Curry.

The Egg curry is perhaps the first dish a Bengali mother teaches her son or daughter when they are about to leave the nest. It is easy, quick, cheap, nourishing and comforting. Making Egg Curry is a breeze especially if you use your blender or processor. 





On Bengali New Year day, when Bongs around the globe are feasting away, no way was I going to feed my family something as basic and mundane (albeit delicious) as Egg Curry. That's when Shakshouka steps in.

Shakshouka, which sounds more like a  Japanese Martial Arts form, is actually a Tunisian dish of eggs poached in a sauce made of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions and spiced with cumin

The first time I heard of this dish was from my friend Mandira (who blogs at Ahaar). Her post left me salivating. Shakshouka has also been making rounds in the various Food Groups on Facebook and I felt  it was high time I tried it.  





Although many version of this North African dish does exist, the most common way is to poach eggs in a spicy, cumin infused tomato based gravy. My version, though has tomatoes, is completely different than its traditional form. It is essentially a Bengali style Egg Curry, where instead of adding hard boiled eggs, I poached the eggs directly in the gravy.

Needless to say it was delicious.



The best thing of coking is that how you can take one recipe and depending on your pantry and personal taste, customize it and make it your own.

On a rather stormy Tuesday, the first day of the Bengali Calender, we enjoyed our Bong Style Shakshouka, with store bought Pita bread and Cucumber Salad.


Recipe Snapshot: Shakshouka  - The Bong way!

Serves: 3 serving
(1 serving = 2 eggs)

What I used:
Eggs - 6

Onion - 1 medium sized, cut into chunks,

Garlic - 2-3 cloves, smashed and the roughly chopped

Ginger - 1" piece, roughly chopped

Tomato - 1, ripe one, roughly chopped

Bell pepper - 1, diced into small cubes (optional)

Bay Leaf - 2 

Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp (more or less. Substitute paprika for milder taste)

Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp


Coriander- Cumin Powder - 1.5 tsp (or use 1 tsp of Coriander Powder and 1/2 tsp of Cumin Powder)

Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp (I use my home made one, which has only Cinnamon, Cloves and green and black Cardamom)

Sugar - 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Cooking Oil - 2 tbsp

Green Chilies and Coriander Leaves/ Cilantro for garnish



What I did:

1. In a processor, dump the roughly chopped onion, ginger, garlic and tomato. Pulse till its a coarse paste.

2. In a large skillet (big enough to hold six eggs in a single layer), heat up 2 tablespoon of oil. Temper with bay leaf. (You might want to add some aromatics like cumin seeds , cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. I skipped and added a little garam masala powder later). 

3. Add the coarse paste of onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes. Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander and cumin powder, salt and sugar. Mix everything . Cover and lower the heat to Medium-low/Sim and cook for 7-8 minutes, checking and stirring twice in between. Add a splash of water, if you feel the masala is sticking at the bottom.

4. When the masala is cooked and lost its raw smell and you see little oil on the sides, add the chopped bell pepper. Cover and cook for a minute minutes till the bell pepper is cooked. Also add the Garam Masala powder at this point.

5. Add a cup and half of water and increase the heat to medium high.

6. Once the gravy comes to a boil, lower the heat to gentle simmer. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. This is important because once you add the eggs you wont be able to add anything to the gravy.

7. Now gently cracks six eggs (one at a time) over the simmering gravy. Sprinkle a little salt over each egg. Cover and cook till the yolk is set and the egg is ready. About 7-8 minutes.

8. Garnish with green chilies and finely chopped Coriander leaves/ Cilantro and serve hot.

9. It can be served with any Indian flat bread (Roti, Paratha, Naan), Pita bread or any other Artisan bread. I served it with Whole Wheat Pita Bread and Cucumber salad. 




Diabetic Platter:
Eggs are so nutritious that they’re often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin”. They also have unique antioxidants and powerful brain nutrients that many people are deficient in.

Here are 6 reasons why eggs are among the healthiest foods on the planet.
1. Whole Eggs Are Among The Most Nutritious Foods on Earth
2. Eggs Improve Your Cholesterol Profile and do NOT Raise Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
3. Eggs Are Loaded With Choline, an Important Nutrient For The Brain.
4. Eggs Contain High Quality Proteins With a Perfect Amino Acid Profile.
5. Eggs Are Loaded With Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Which Protect The Eyes.
6. Eggs For Breakfast Can Help You Lose Body Fat.

Please read this full article here.
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4 comments:

  1. I'm so so making this ... ebhabe kokkhono eggs banaini. The eggs need to be completely cooked and not stay soft inside ... right?
    Eyi weekend e banabo.
    And yes ... love the new look of your blog ... very clean and neat. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharmila: Amio aage kono dinei bhabe dim banai ni. Ma normal dim er jhol r omelet er jhol banato, put the egg used to be pre cooked before it went into the jhol. This is a far quicker method.

      The texture of the eggs is absolutely personal choice. My family prefers completely set eggs, hence I cooked for 9 minutes. If you prefer soft set eggs, cooking for 5-6 minutes will suffice.

      Delete
  2. Japanese Martial Art form ! lol .. now when I think of it, it does sound something like that ;)

    Everyone loves Shakshouka, such a wonderful no hassle meal it is.. Beautiful step by step presentation Progna :)

    ReplyDelete

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