Egg Curry/Dimer Dalna

Dimer Dalna
I don’t make egg curry very often but was moved to write this up after reading a comment by someone I follow on Twitter that referenced a complicated recipe they use. This foxed me because, in Bengal at least, one of the chief attractions of egg curry is more or less the fact that it’s a simple, quick thing to make: something you make because you don’t want to go through the hassle of cooking chicken or mutton (or if you don’t have any). As you’ll see, the recipe below is as basic as it gets. You boil the eggs and some potato; you make a spiced tomato “gravy” and then you simmer the potato and peeled eggs in it for a little bit longer; you eat it with rice. It’s certainly possible to add more twists along the way, and it’s also possible that there are more elaborate approaches by default in other parts of India, but you should be able to make a pretty decent egg curry in not more than 30 minutes.

By the way, in Bengal the dish is called “dimer dalna”. Dim (pronounced closer to “deem”) means egg, and “dalna” refers to the specific mode of prep (dalnas have thicker gravies than jhols).

Ingredients
Wet Masalas

  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 small/medium waxy potatoes, a little smaller than the eggs
  • 1 medium onion chopped fine
  • 1 tblspn grated ginger
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • Whole garam masala: 2-3 green cardamom pods, 1-3 cloves, a small piece of cassia/cinnamon bark, 1-2 small cassia leaves/tej patta
  • The following ground into a coarse powder: 3-4 hot dried red chillies, 1/2 tspn coriander seeds, 1/2 tspn cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tspn turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tspn sugar
  • 1/2 cup peas (optional)
  • A pinch of garam masala or bhaja moshla.
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • Oil

PreparationWhole Garam Masala

  1. Put the eggs and potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover and bring to a steady boil till the potatoes are just cooked.
  2. While the eggs and potatoes are cooking assembled everything else.
  3. Heat oil and add the whole garam masala and stir-fry for a minute or so till fragrant.
  4. Add the chopped onion and saute till beginning to brown around the edges.
  5. Add the grated ginger and garlic (I grate them directly into the pan) and saute for another minute or so till their aroma changes.
  6. Add the ground spices and turmeric and fry for another minute or so.
  7. Add the tomatoes and cook down completely.
  8. While the tomatoes are cooking down peel the potatoes and eggs. Make some lengthwise slits through the whites of the eggs.
  9. Add the potatoes and eggs and roll them around gently in the reduced tomato mixture.
  10. Add 2 cups of water and the sugar, gently stir everything together, bring to a boil, cover the pan and cook at a simmer for another 10 minutes or so. If using peas add them at this point.
  11. Sprinkle some bhaja moshla or garam masala over and serve with rice.

NotesMasalas to be Powdered

  1. Some use a 2:1 egg to potato ratio.
  2. If not in a big hurry lightly fry the boiled potatoes and eggs before adding them to the pan. This is an additional fussy step when in a hurry and also adds more oil to the dish.
  3. Some grind the onion to a paste. You can certainly do that but when in a hurry the thought of cleaning a blender is not appealing to me. If you do use a paste you have to watch out for the potential for it turning bitter.
  4. I probably add more ginger than most people—what can I say? I love ginger.
  5. You can use far less of the dried red chilli (and you can also just use a red chilli powder of your choice). You can also go with just coriander seeds or just cumin seeds.
  6. The peas are optional but add some nice colour to the dish.
  7. In my maternal grandparents’ house a special treat when we were kids was an omlette curry. For some reason I’ve never tried to replicate it but you can give that a try too.

2 thoughts on “Egg Curry/Dimer Dalna

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