Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Eggs over Greens, Bread

This is a great favourite with us ever since we discovered it. As with all great things, it seemed very simple once it was revealed, but really, the only tiresome bit about it is processing the fenugreek greens. But then, you can leave them out altogether or use larger greens which take lesser time.
The story: This is a traditional Parsi favourite which I read about in the book Parsi Food and Customs by Bhicoo J. Manekshaw, Penguin 1996. This is a real treasure trove full of painstakingly documented recipes, in which some ingredients’ lists run to more than a page! It’s also a good introduction to the community as it contains information about its customs and rituals. Come to think of it, it’s like an extended blog post – the recipes are borrowed from family, relatives, friends and the writing is very personal and involved.
I have eaten in a couple of Parsi restaurants before this book and after. I remember visiting a restaurant in Bombay after reading about it in a food guide. It was run by a Parsi couple and certain dishes were available only on certain days of the week – well, I was a budding, enthusiastic cook then, my cookbook collection was growing by leaps and bounds and mentions of Dhansak and Lagan Nu Custard seemed to be confronting me everywhere – the day after we landed in Bombay, I called the restaurant and asked the lady who answered the phone whether it was open for dinner, and whether we would get Dhansak that day. She said yes, and we went there. When I anxiously asked for Dhansak, she looked amused and asked me whether I was the one who called. It turned out to be regular stuff but the custard was truly to die for! I later ate cutlets in a Parsi restaurant in Pune, and were they delicious!We also ate a curry full of matchstick potatoes, don't remember whether we ordered the chicken or lamb.
But I digress. In these places, I didn’t notice the egg dishes I’m presenting now, so I don’t know how they would look in a Parsi home, but all the same, it’s a dish you must try. Depending on the time available, and the number of ingredients that go in, you can decide whether to serve them at breakfast or a bigger meal. I love making this dish, watching the eggs pool into the depressions, sunny yellow yolks in liquid whites flowing slowly into the rest of the dish until they begin to set and make a whole that you can divide and eat with rice or bread.

You can see the picture of fenugreek leaves and read a bit about it here.

Here’s the recipe as I made it:

Eggs – 4
Fenugreek (methi) leaves/Spinach – 1 big bunch of the big-leaf variety (the book suggests “20 bunches of the small variety that grow in the sands of Bombay beaches” as an alternative) – makes two cups
2-3 onions, chopped
Tomatoes – 2, large
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Turmeric – a hefty pinch
Green chillies – 3-4 chopped, and seeded if you like (in which case, you can add some chilli powder)
Coriander leaves – a good fistful, chopped
Oil – 2-3 tsp
Salt, pepper or curry powder/garam masala – to taste

A pan large enough to hold everything

Wash fenugreek leaves thoroughly and chop. Mix them with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Squeeze them out to get rid of the bitterness and some of the vitamins too. :)
Heat oil in the pan and fry onions till a light brown. Add green chillies, the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric and chilli powder, if you’re using it. Mix well and add tomatoes, coriander leaves and salt. Simmer on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Add fenugreek leaves (or other greens) now, mix well and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Spread mixture evenly in the pan, make depressions in it, and break the eggs into them. Season just the eggs with salt and pepper or curry powder. Wait till eggs set to remove from fire. Do all this in simmer mode.

Here's another version:
Cube 6 slices of crustless bread, fry in oil.
Fry 3 onions till light brown, then a couple of green chillies, ginger and coriander leaves. Season with salt.
Line the base of a pan with cubed bread, top with the fried onion mixture, make depressions and break three eggs into them. Season only the eggs with salt and pepper and wait till set on simmer.

This is my dish for Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Coffeepot of Coffee & Cornbread.



  1. Hi sra,looks mouthwatering.Egg Bhurgi and Dhansak are only two I know of Parsi cooking!:)

    Good reading too,thank you.

  2. It looks great. I got your link and thanks for the submission!

  3. Saw your "don't be a lurk-ness Monster" picture and was scared into offering a comment.
    The dish looks absolutely delicious and a sure try with my next bunch of methi leaves.

  4. I never ate Parsi dishes..may be i should start with this one.

  5. hai sra
    me here first time..nice blog..
    about the dish is my favourite too..once my hubby prepared this dish for me...from then i am a big fan of this one..everytime if i can't make first preference goes to this dish..only..i don't know about the info..for this dish..thanks for that..

  6. Very, very interesting. I've read a few blog posts about methi, but have never tasted it. Great post.

  7. Asha, thank you, always nice to get a response to the writing and not just the recipe.
    Thanks, Coffeepot!
    Ah, my first lurk-ness monster! Thank you for coming out of your lair! Thanks for the comments, let me know how it turned out!
    Sudha, do try it, it's really simple!
    Thank you Swapna. Am glad the post was informative.
    Thank you Kalyn, some people use methi to great effect and flavour - I envy them! Somehow, though, most recipes, including mine, are always telling us how to get rid of the bitterness but not how to extract the flavour!

  8. Methi in a different way..looks delicious.I make a dish like this (of tamilnadu origin though), but no bread or methi.will try this one definitely as here we all like both eggs and methi.Thanks for the info abt parsi cuisine.It was helpful since i haven't yet tried or cooked parsi..

  9. Lot of great stuff in there and the eggs look too good. I love eggs in all forms BTW
    Nice info about Parsi food, shall read the post again in detail

  10. Hey sra matchstick potatoes n chicken dish is called salli boti in Parsi gujarathi....had lots Parsees in the neighbourhood where I grew up.

  11. What's that dish, Maheswari? I'm rather familiar with TN cooking? Post it someday! Glad the info was useful.
    Sandeepa, do try it out, I love making it.
    Anjali, yes, I remember the sali name, not the boti! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  12. Lovely combo!!!!!!! Looks great :)

  13. Happy Pongal, Sra!

  14. Yum! Looks superb! and I've been looking for recipes with turmeric - supposed to prevent/help Alzheimer's (my Dad has it). Thanks for the beautiful photos too.

  15. this dish is fantastic!

  16. Sudha, Sailu, Happy Sankranthi to you too.
    Coffee, thank you.
    Anna, thank you, glad to be of some use. Most Indian dishes have turmeric in them. Hope you, your family and Dad have as easy a time as possible.
    Gattina, thank you.

  17. This dish sounds awesome! I don't have any fenugreek leaves here, so spinach will have to do.

    Thanks for sharing.

  18. Delicious looking! I'd love some!

    Paz ;-)

  19. Ruth, thanks, I enjoyed writing this.
    Paz, you just have to give me a couple of hours' notice, I'll make it for you.

  20. ey I had one more comment after detail read. But I don't see it :(

  21. The dish is very interesting and looks yummy too...Thanks a lot for shring the recipe.

  22. I've always had this dish with eggs over Bhendi (Okra) or Tomatoes, even Eggs over Potatos, but never over Methi !!

    Gotta try this one

  23. Sandeepa, I didn't get any other comment! I had to try thrice to comment on your blog yesterday, btw!
    Nidhi, thanks for visiting, do come back!
    Gigi, yes, we often make the one with onions and tomatoes - these days, I cook some dishes solely because I think they have blog potential (guilty confession, heh heh)

  24. I love foods with eggs - a tomato-y version is popular in Spain. Just something so warming about the eggs. Even on Pizza!

  25. Yes, I think the soft but filling-your-mouth feeling they have is rather unique

  26. Nice variation - Yum!

  27. Thanks, hope you make it and enjoy it!


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