My favorite eggs are poached or fried (I love those runny yolks), but scrambled eggs are a close second, as long as they’re properly cooked. The right way to do it is slowly and at a very low temperature; this guarantees the eggs’ creaminess, but it also requires a measure of Zen-like patience. Properly scrambled eggs constitute the entirety of my dad’s culinary repertoire. He takes his time cooking them up for the whole family on Christmas morning and drives us nuts in the process, because no one’s allowed to open presents until after we eat.
What’s so Indian about these scrambled eggs? The flavorings—chile, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and cilantro—and the pappadams. Pappadam is an East Indian bread made with lentil flour: wide as a good-size pancake, but thin, crispy, and flavorful as a potato chip. Usually, pappadams are deep-fried, but I figured out that you can sauté them in much less oil, cutting way down on their calories while maintaining their crispiness.
If you can’t find pappadams locally and don’t want to order them online (see Sources, page 359), you can substitute pita crisps. Just take some pitas, split them crosswise, brush them with a little vegetable oil, sprinkle on some salt, and bake them at 400°F for 5 minutes,
or until golden and, yes, crispy.
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
Four 8-inch pappadams
1⁄2 small onion
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large serrano chile
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
8 large eggs
1⁄3 cup plain low-fat or full-fat Greek-style yogurt (see page 49)
1⁄2 pound plum tomatoes (about 2 medium)
1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro or basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot; add 1 pappadam, press it down with a metal spatula, and sauté for about 30 seconds, or until it begins to brown and puff slightly. Turn the pappadam and repeat the procedure for about 30 seconds more, until it is bubbly and opaque. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pappadams, adding vegetable oil as needed.
2. Finely chop the onion (about 1/4 cup) and peel and Microplane-grate the ginger (about 1 teaspoon). Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the onion and ginger and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Finely chop the chile (about 1 tablespoon). Add the chile, cumin, and turmeric; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
3. Lightly beat the eggs with the yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon salt; reduce the heat to low. Add the eggs to the onion mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until the eggs are creamy and just set, about 12 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, seed and finely chop the tomatoes (about 1 cup). Chop the cilantro (about 1/4 cup). Stir in the cilantro, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Mound one-quarter of the scrambled eggs onto each pappadam and serve.