Eggs and tomato sauce seem to pop up everywhere these days. Most chefs have their own version of eggs in purgatory or shakshuka somewhere in their repertoire. But the Golden Egg Curry in Naomi Duguid's Burma is decidedly different. The eggs are hard-boiled, peeled, and then fried in turmeric-laced peanut oil. The tomato sauce is sparse but redolent of sautéed shallots, garlic, and chiles, leaving the eggs to take center stage. There may not be a runny yolk to mop up, but the golden crisped exterior of the eggs more than makes up for it.
Why I picked this recipe: Honestly, the photograph of golden fried eggs dancing in a tomato sauce was enough to add this dish to my must-make list.
What worked: Fried hard-boiled eggs are, in themselves, wondrous morsels. Throw in a mildly spicy tomato curry fragrant with shallots, garlic, and fish sauce, and you've got perfection in a bowl.
What didn't: Nothing. These eggs ruled.
Suggested Tweaks: There isn't a lot of sauce in the dish; next time I'd probably double up on the sauce components just so I could keep spooning it up. If you can't find green cayenne chiles, you can substitute a smaller number of jalapeños, serranos, or spicy banana peppers.
Reprinted with permission from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid. Copyright 2012. Published by Artisan. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- 4 large eggs or extra-large eggs, preferably free-range
- 1/3 cup peanut oil or unroasted sesame oil
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 small shallots, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon red chile powder, or to taste
- 2 medium tomatoes (about 1/2 pound), finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 or 3 green cayenne chiles, seeded and sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 strips each
Place the eggs in a saucepan, add cold water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook at a medium boil for 8 minutes. Drain the eggs and cool in cold water. When the eggs are cool enough to handle peel them.
Heat the oil in a wide heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and stir to dissolve it. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle when a drop of water is dropped into it, add the peeled eggs and fry until golden and a little blistered all over. Cook on each side in turn, then try to balance the eggs on their ends to cook the tips. Frying the egg is a fun little task, quickly done, and it makes them very attractive. With a slotted spoon, lift the eggs out of the hot oil and onto a plate. Cut them lengthwise in half and set aside.
Pour off all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil (the oil can be used again for stir-frying). Heat the oil remaining in the pan over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic, and fry briefly, until translucent. Add the chile powder and tomatoes, and, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, cook at a strong simmer until the tomatoes have broken down into a softened mass, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the fish sauce and salt, then taste and adjust the seasoning if you wish. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the chile strips, and stir. Place the eggs cut side down in the sauce and cook until the oil sizzles, about 3 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.