The calendar may insist it’s still summer, but the weather here suggests otherwise. The warm weather has left Toronto after a season of record-breaking heat and its exit was painfully abrupt. I’m usually not one to complain about cooler temperatures but two months of heatwaves have seriously thinned my blood. Temps in the mid-to-low twenties (Celsius) are inspiring shivers, and frankly, it’s embarrassing. I’m a proud East Coaster, I learned to swim in the frigid Atlantic and relish picnics in the snow. And now look at me, reaching for my cable-knit the second the sun disappears. I know I will eventually pull it together. Come November, I’ll be back to my hearty self. But until then I have these Chickpea Curried Eggs to keep me warm.
I find this time of year emotionally confusing for several reasons. First off, I love summer and I don’t want to see it go. But on the other hand, I love tall boots and cozy meals. Fall is a pretty excellent season. It might even be my favorite, except welcoming it feels irresponsible. I know how long it takes for summer to get here and I know come February I will be positively crying for it. So shoving summer out the door because I miss apple pie feels negligent. But I find myself daydreaming about holiday menus and researching mulled wine recipes. Honestly, this in-between-season ties me up in knots.
This is why I’m such a big fan of these Chickpea Curried Eggs. While they are cozier than the average summer meal, they still have a fresh and lively flavor profile. The coconut milk keeps things light, while a burst of lime brings a high note of acidity. See? These eggs sound downright tropical. This dish definitely isn’t showing summer the door. It’s merely hinting at the season to come.
Okay, now that you know I’m not here to wreak havoc with the last days of summer. Let’s talk about these eggs. Now, I gathered a lot of inspiration from the Middle Eastern dish shakshuka but in the place of saucy tomatoes we have saucy chickpeas. There is an tomato-y element to this dish but it is tiny. Just the barest amount of tomato paste to bring sweetness to the sauce. For the most part the sauce is comprised of chickpeas. It’s studded with whole chickpeas and thickened with a chickpea puree.
These Chickpea Curried Eggs come by their name honestly. The sauce’s primary flavoring agent is curry powder, a madras curry powder to be exact. I used a blend I got in a jar but you can make yours from scratch if you like. I also added ground cumin because you can always have more of that, ground coriander, and turmeric for color.
Now for the most technical aspect of this recipe – cooking the eggs. If you’ve ever made shakshuka before, you know the greatest possible downfall for the dish is the eggs. A shakshuka with fully set yolks is, quite simply, tragic. But it is a completely understandable pitfall. It is so easy to take your eggs past that threshold. Most of us are so used to being able to cook our eggs where we can see them. But when they’re obscured with sauce, the usual visual markers of doneness are largely invisible. So, we have to look for new ones.
What I do to ensure my eggs are runny is crack the eggs into the sauce when it is bubbling ever so slightly. You definitely don’t want a rapid boil here, but you also want the sauce to be good and hot. Then I wait for the white immediately touching the sauce to become opaque. Once that happens, I lower the heat as far as she’ll go and cover the eggs. When the surface of the yolk becomes cloudy, I take the pot off of the heat and serve immediately. The process shouldn’t take more than 6 minutes. You have to be swift or your eggs won’t be soft.
Finally, before I leave you to simmer your chickpeas and poach your saucy eggs, let’s talk paratha. Have you ever had paratha? It’s a Indian flatbread like chapati or roti except it’s laminated. Yes, laminated like puff pastry. The result is not unlike the interior of a croissant and paratha are heaven when dipped into egg yolk.
Now, I can’t take full credit for the paratha recipe below. I leaned hard on this recipe from Serious Eats to create it. And their accompanying video on forming paratha, starring Sohla El-Waylly btw, was ultra-helpful and very clear. So, if you’d rather not get the info second-hand, I strongly urge you to pay them a visit.
So that’s everything you need to know about these Chickpea Curried Eggs with Paratha. It’s sure to warm you up and prepare you for fall while still honoring the season outside. Oh and, more importantly, it’s delicious!
Chickpea Curried Eggs with Paratha
- A large deep cast iron skillet or braiser
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp neutral oil I used canola
- 1 cup hot water
- 16 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee softened, divided
Chickpea Curried Eggs
- 2 tbsp neutral oil I used canola
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 3 shallots halved and sliced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Madras curry powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 2 cans chickpeas drained and rinsed, divided
- 2 cups veggie stock
- 3 green chilies or serrano peppers sliced thin
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 lime juiced
- 6-8 large eggs
- ½ cup fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
For the Paratha
- Place the flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the oil and, using your fingertips, rub the oil into the flour mixture until it resembles damp sand. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the water. Using your hand, mix the dry ingredients into the wet until a shaggy dough forms.
- Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for 5-8 minutes. The dough should come together but still look lumpy. Return the dough to the bowl and cover. Let rest for 1 hour.
- Once the hour is up, cut the dough into 8 pieces and form them into balls. Cover the dough pieces. Working with one ball at a time, roll the dough out until paper-thin on a very lightly floured surface. Spread butter or ghee evenly over the surface of the dough and lightly sprinkle with flour.
- Take the edge of the dough closest to you and begin to roll it away from you, taking care to form a tight spiral. Once the dough has been rolled into a thin log, roll each end of the log onto itself in opposing directions to form a sort of coiled S. Place one coil on top of the other and press the dough flat with the palm of your hand. Transfer the dough to a plate and cover. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Let rest for 1 hour.
- Once the second hour has passed, roll each dough ball out to a form a disc. Fry the paratha one by one in a dry cast-iron skillet to set the dough but not brown it. You can hold the paratha at this stage until you're ready to serve.
- When you're almost ready to serve, add a tablespoon of the remaining butter or ghee to the skillet and fry the paratha until golden on both sides, adding more butter or ghee as needed. Keep the paratha warm until ready to serve.
For the Chickpea Curry Eggs
- Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet or braiser over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the shallots and sauté until just translucent. Add a pinch of salt and the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste, curry powder, cumin, coriander, and turmeric to the pan and sauté briefly. Add 1 can of the chickpeas and toss to coat. Pour in the veggie stock and season generously with salt. Bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes.
- When the 15 minutes are up, transfer the mixture to a large food processor. Blizt until smooth. Return the puree to the skillet and place it back on the heat. Add the remaining chickpeas, chilies, coconut milk, and honey. Bring the mixture back up to a boil and then reduce to medium. Cook the curry at a spirited simmer until reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes.
- Once the curry has reduced, turn the heat down to low and stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt accordingly. Crack each egg over the surface of the sauce and bring to a gentle boil. Once the egg whites on the surface of the sauce have turned opaque, turn the heat down as low as it will go. Cover the pan and cook for a minute or two or until the egg whites on the surface are just set.
- Take the pan off of the heat and sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately with warm paratha on the side for dipping and scooping.
- The Paratha Recipe is Adapted from recipe for Serious Eats