If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that my New Year's resolution for 2013 was to have at least one vegetarian day a week - and I've kept it up for over a year now. I find it harder to eat vegetarian when the weather is cold, wet and miserable though - tonight's planned tabbouleh and vegetable koftas have been postponed in favour of a steamed steak pudding.
However it really IS possible to eat vegetarian meals that are warming and comforting - think of a hearty butternut squash risotto or macaroni cheese. And of course there's nothing quite as warming as a curry. Here is one I devised yesterday when we'd reached the day before our shopping trip with little more than a box of eggs in the fridge. It turned out to be perfect cheap, hearty comfort food so I'm sharing it here.
Curried eggs in tomato sauce
serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side
4 eggs1 x 450g tin chopped tomatoes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbs sunflower oil
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1 cm slice of fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
salt to taste
Heat the oil in a deep, lidded pan over high heat and fry the mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds until they start to pop. Immediately reduce the heat and add the onion. Cook gently until soft and translucent, then stir in all the ground spices plus the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the tinned tomatoes and the same volume of water (measure this by filling the tin with water so it picks up all the tomatoey residue in the tin). Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for around an hour, checking the liquid level from time to time. It needs to thicken until when you pull the wooden spoon through it, it takes a few seconds to fill the space. Don’t let it boil dry, but if it looks too liquid after an hour, either cook it for a bit longer or turn the heat up and bubble it uncovered for a few minutes, depending on how much time you have. Taste and add seasoning at this point.
Now to cook the eggs. You’ll need to add them one at a time, breaking each into a cup first. Use a wooden spoon to pull the sauce quickly away from the side of the pan and quickly tip your egg into the space. Repeat with the other three eggs. Replace the pan lid and cook gently until the eggs are cooked - 5 to 8 minutes for soft yolks, 10 minutes for hard ones.
Serve with rice or naan bread. We added some poppadoms and a tomato and cucumber salad for crunch, and a selection of chutneys.