Anyday, Anytime: Curried Egg Scramble (Egg Bhurji)

Breakfasts in India are typically savory affairs, and there’s nothing like a little kick of spice to get you started in the morning. Egg Bhurji is a mashup of quickly scrambled eggs along with some finely chopped onions, peppers, and tomatoes, all tossed with a touch of spices. Although the ingredients and preparation can vary from region to region, the idea of making eggs this way was probably introduced by the Parsis, followers of the Zoroastrian religion, who emigrated to India from Iran about a thousand years ago. They have surprisingly managed to keep many of their original traditions and customs intact, including their very interesting cuisine. Even today a plate of Parsi akuri, consists of scrambled eggs, vegetables, and a couple of threads of saffron for good measure.

My rendition of Egg Bhurji is based of the versions I grew up eating, along with a couple of my own improvisations. For many people, the spice aspect of this dish is simply consists of green chilies, cilantro, and maybe a smidge of turmeric and cumin seeds. I take on the green chilies and cilantro, but I simplify things in the spice department, by simply throwing in a dash of curry powder. It is important to note that curry powder is not an Indian invention whatsoever, and rather it was created by Westerners who were trying to interpret the complexities of Indian cuisine and encapsulate them into a single spice blend. Therefore, I typically only use curry powder when I want to give simple things, such as these eggs, a little burst of exotic flavor. It works quite well because turmeric and eggs make for a wonderful combination. I finish off the dish with a little grated cheese to bring everything together and a sprinkle of black salt, which works perfectly here because it lends a sour note and it has an aroma reminiscent of boiled eggs. While eggs may originally be a breakfast thing, the volume of vegetables and the tingle of masala in this dish makes it fit for anytime during the day and any day of the week.

Recipe: Egg Bhurji

This recipe makes enough eggs for 1 person, but feel free to multiply the amounts to feed more people!

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 plum tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/4 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 green chili, finely sliced
  • a dash of curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • a little handful of grated chihuahua, Monterrey jack, or cheddar cheese
  • kala namak (black salt) and pepper for sprinkling on top

Method:

Heat a pat of butter in a small pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onions, tomatoes, peppers, and green chili and saute for about 2-3 minutes, till the vegetables have softened a little. Then add the curry powder and cook for another minute. Pour in the eggs and scramble them till they are cooked through to your desired level of doneness. About a minute before finishing, sprinkle on the grated cheese to let it melt, and then add the cilantro. Remove the eggs from the heat and transfer to a plate. Sprinkle some black salt and pepper on top and enjoy with some toast, chapati, or naan.

Cooking Notes:

  • Black salt can be found in Indian grocery stores. If you can’t find it, use normal salt and perhaps add a little squeeze of lime juice to get that sour flavor.
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