4 large eggs
3oz (75g) green lentils
3oz (75g) creamed coconut
1 rounded teaspoon lime pickle
juice and grated zest ½ fresh lime
1 large onion
1 small red chilli (preferably bird eye)
2 fat cloves garlic
1in (2.5cm) piece root ginger
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 dessertspoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons groundnut or other flavourless oil
1 rounded teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon fenugreek powder
5fl oz (150ml) rice, cooked
a little extra lime pickle
You will also need a medium frying pan with a lid.
Start off by getting everything prepared and ready to go. First peel the onion, cut it in
half and then into thin slices. Next deseed and finely chop the chilli, peel and chop the
garlic as well, then measure out the lime pickle and chop that quite finely. Now peel and
grate the ginger - you need a good heaped teaspoonful. The creamed coconut should be
shredded with a sharp knife and placed in a heatproof measuring jug. At this stage put the
kettle on to boil.
Now place the frying pan over a medium heat and, as soon as it gets
hot, measure the whole spices (cardamom, cumin, fennel and coriander) straight into it.
What they need to do now is dry-roast, and this will take 2-3 minutes.
Shake the pan from time to time to toss them around a bit and, as
soon as they start to jump, remove them from the heat and tip them straight into a mortar.
Now place the pan back over the heat, turn it up high and add the
oil. As soon as it is really hot, add the onions and, keeping the heat highish, let them
sizzle and brown and become quite dark at the edges, which will take about 4 minutes.
After that, turn the heat back down to medium and add the chilli, ginger, garlic and lime
pickle, along with the turmeric and fenugreek. Now crush the roasted spices finely with a
pestle, add these to the pan as well, then stir everything together. See to the coconut
next: all you need to do here is pour boiling water up to the 1 pint (570ml) level in the
jug containing the coconut, then whisk it all together.
Now stir the lentils in to join the rest of the ingredients, add the
grated lime zest and the coconut liquid, stir again and, as soon as it reaches simmering
point, turn the heat down. Put the lid on and let the mixture simmer as gently as possible
for 45 minutes, stirring it now and then (don't add any salt at this stage).
About 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, place the eggs
in a saucepan of cold water, bring them up to a gentle simmer and time them for 6-7
minutes, depending on how you like them. When they're ready, let the cold tap run on them
until they are cool enough to handle. When the sauce is ready, season it well with salt
and add the lime juice. Now peel the eggs under cold running water, slice them in half and
pop them on top of the sauce, giving everything a couple more minutes' cooking with the
lid on. Serve the egg curry with rice, some more lime pickle and perhaps some mango
chutney to add a touch of sweetness.