Sambal Goreng Telur (Indonesian Egg Curry) with Chinese Long Beans
I’m writing today from the midst of a blizzard.
(In fact, our power is out, but thanks to my brother installing a back-up battery for our wireless router, I have internet! …just not heat.)
Today’s weather forecast is: 33 degrees Fahrenheit (“feels like 20”) with (“100% chance of”) heavy snow and wind. And man is this a change from sunny Santa Barbara.
I’m back in Wisconsin, visiting my family. And even though it means an adjustment to dry skin, chapped lips, wearing socks, and constant shivering, it’s good to be home.
The evergreens and bare tree branches are all coated with snowy highlights, and the ground is bright and white, untarnished by mud, slush, or even snowplows or shovels– for now.*
As often happens in the winter, and around the holidays, it feels a bit like I am subsisting on coffee, baked goods, and chocolate. Oh, and clementines. Oh so many clementines.
The best antidote to this habit of holiday snacking is a hearty, spicy, warming curry. I know just the one.
I love eggs in curry. I used to be hooked on an Indian egg curry that I often made with chunky onions and tomatoes, but I haven’t made it once since I met my girlfriend (nearly two years ago now, in Jan. 2011). She doesn’t like the texture of cooked tomatoes (!) or onions. Thank goodness she can at least enjoy their flavors once blended up into a curry sauce, though.
Not too long ago, I was flipping through my Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, and this recipe jumped out at me as a tasty vehicle for a decadent amount of hard-boiled eggs.
The idea of adding almonds to the curry sauce struck me as very appealing, too. (Yet another use for the whole, raw almonds from my friends Bekki and Nate at Fat Uncle Farms! …not that this recipe is going to sell very many almonds; it only calls for 15.)
Surprisingly, though, in a sad, rare Moosewood fail, the curry was nowhere near spicy or flavorful enough. It was also too sweet– significantly lacking in spice and acidity. Unsure whether it’d ever be blog-worthy, I re-made it last week, upped the chili paste, and added tamarind, lime, and tomato to balance things out. It was delicious.
The warm coconut milk sauce has a creamy, almondy, comforting flavor. It’s as if the sauce is aiming to reproduce the richness of egg yolks, but with spicy, tangy hints of chili and tamarind/lime that offset the decadence with a savory bite.
I picked up the accompanying Adobo-style long beans recipe from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook, too. (Unlike the curry, it needed little modification.) It’s a speedy, tasty preparation for long beans, or any kind of green beans really, which is truly addictive and fresh tasting, thanks to the tang of vinegar. It makes for a nice, healthy alternative to that other speedy green bean strategy: vegetables in butter sauce.
These two dishes don’t particularly rely on one another; I just wanted something green on my plate.
You might want to make them separately, especially if you prefer your vegetables in your curry, rather than on the side. I bet some bamboo shoots, green beans, eggplant, onions, or broccoli would be right at home in this curry, along with the eggs…
If you’re adding more than a little handful of vegetables, though, you might want to consider making more curry sauce, too. As it was, I sopped up every last spoonful of the thick sauce with fluffy jasmine rice. I practically licked the pan afterwards. It was that kind of curry.
* I just saw a lovely movie called Monsieur Lazhar, which takes place in Montreal. The main character (from Algeria) explains that his city is known as “Algiers the white” and his Canadian student counters back that you could call her city “Montreal the slush”– I think that could easily apply to Madison, too.
Chinese Long Beans with Vinegar, Pepper, and Garlic
(adapted from the “Greens Adobo” recipe in “Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant”)
~ 1 pound (about 4 cups) Chinese long beans (or green beans, or broccoli), washed and trimmed
~ 3 cloves garlic, sliced (or store-bought crispy fried garlic)
~ 1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
~ ¼ cup water (or stock)
~ 1 tsp. white vinegar (or Chinese black vinegar)
~ 2 tsp. soy sauce
~ fresh ground black pepper
How to make it:
1. If making your own fried garlic, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet or wok, stir-fry the garlic slices until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
2. Heat the oil, add the beans to the skillet or wok, and toss over high heat for 3-4 minutes. Then pour in the water, lower the heat, and cover. Allow the beans to steam for another 3-6 minutes, checking them occasionally to make sure they’re not too soft.
3. If the beans seem cooked enough but not all the liquid has been absorbed yet, then use a large pot lid to “drain” the extra water off into the sink, then put the pan back on the burner, but turn off the heat. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, and black pepper, and toss until the beans are coated well.
4. Transfer to a serving dish right away while hot (or serve in the skillet), and sprinkle with the fried garlic before serving.
Sambal Goreng Telur (Indonesian Egg Curry)
(roughly adapted from “Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant”)
~ 3-4 pieces dried galanga (laos root)
~ 1 Tbsp. pureed frozen (or fresh) lemongrass (or use dried lemongrass)
~ ¾ cup water
~ 15 almonds, peeled (see Step #2 below)
~ 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
~ 1 small tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
~ 3 cloves garlic, peeled
~ 3-4 Tbsp. sambal oelek (or other chili paste), or to taste
~ 1 tsp. tamarind paste (or fresh lime juice)
~ 2-3 Tbsp. peanut oil
~ 1 tsp. salt
~ 1 tsp. brown sugar
~ 1 can coconut milk (use slightly less for a thicker curry sauce)
~ white pepper (or black pepper), to taste
~ 6-8 hard-boiled eggs (see Step #1), or use fried tofu!
~ 2 scallions, sliced, to garnish
~ lime wedges and/or tomato slices to serve on the side
1. Hard-boil the eggs by placing them in a pot, filling it with enough water to cover the eggs, and bringing it to a strong boil. Once boiling, put the lid on, and remove the pot from the burner. Let sit with the lid on for 10 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl or colander and run cold water on them for a minute to stop them from cooking more. Peel the eggs once they’re cool.
2. Peel the almonds: Boil water in a kettle (or bring the water from the eggs back to a boil). Place the almonds in a heat-resistant bowl and pour hot water over them. Let them sit in the hot water for 1-2 minutes until their peels loosen enough to pop them off easily.
3. Use a very small saucepan to simmer the galanga, lemongrass, and water, until the liquid reduces by at least half, or to 1/4 cup. Pour through a tea strainer into a container (or don’t bother straining out the lemongrass, and just remove the galanga).
4. Use a food processor to purée the almonds, onion, seeded tomato, garlic, chili paste, and tamarind or lime juice. Once Step #3 is complete, heat the peanut oil in a wok or large deep skillet, then add the liquid from Step #3 and the puréed mixture to the pan. Cook the sauce over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated (no liquid remains behind in the path when you push the sauce around with a wooden spoon). Be careful of splattering.
5. Then add the salt, sugar, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Taste and season with white pepper, or additional salt, chili, or tamarind/lime if necessary. Add the eggs and let simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Serve warm in individual dishes over rice, with tomato and lime wedges on the side. Garnish with scallions. This curry is nice with a side of steamed vegetables, such as Chinese long beans, broccoli, or green beans.
Related recipe posts:
> South Indian Green Bean Curry with Shredded Coconut
> Kimchi Fried Rice (Bokkeumbap)
> Simple Lemongrass Laksa with Shrimp