Thomasina Miers’ recipe for poached eggs with tamarind and coconut sauce

·3-min read

Given that I have a weakness for eggs as well as for curries, it is not surprising that I love an egg curry. While some traditional recipes use hard-boiled eggs, I can’t resist a runny, bright orange yolk, especially if I have some just-toasted garlic naan for mopping up. This recipe uses an old-fashioned method of poaching that I came across last year: think of it as “frying” the eggs, not in oil but in water, which saves time (and energy) by not heating up a large pan of water and is blissfully simple.

Poached eggs with tamarind and coconut sauce

The tamarind gives the spicy, coconut sauce a light, tangy acidity – leave out the fish sauce, if you are vegetarian. You will need a large frying pan with a lid.

Prep 5 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 3-4

200g white basmati rice, preferably pre-soaked
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
Salt and pepper

2 tbsp vegetable oil
200g chopped tinned tomatoes (ie, ½ tin)
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
4 eggs
The juice of
½ lemon

For the curry paste
4 tbsp tamarind paste (from 65g tamarind pods, if making from fresh)
3 banana shallots
, peeled
1 large thumb ginger, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 bird’s eye chillies
2 tbsp coriander seeds
, freshly ground
½ tsp turmeric powder

Put the rice in a large pot, cover with twice its volume of cold water, add two tablespoons of the coconut milk and season generously. Bring up to a boil, simmer gently for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to its lowest setting and cover the pan until you are ready to eat.

If you are making your own tamarind paste, break open the pods and cover with boiling water. Don a pair of washing-up gloves, rub the tamarind into the water to dissolve the paste, then sieve out the puree and discard the seeds. Roughly chop the shallots, ginger, garlic and chillies, throw into a food processor and blitz to a rough paste. Stir in the tamarind paste, coriander seeds, turmeric, and season generously.

Set a saucepan over a high heat, add the oil and, when hot, tip in the paste. Turn down the heat to medium, stir-fry for three to four minutes, to cook out the raw flavour of the onion, then stir in the rest of the coconut milk, the tomatoes, sugar and fish sauce, if using, and simmer for five minutes while you poach the eggs.

Pour water into a large frying pan to a depth of 5mm and bring to simmering point. Crack in the eggs, turn down the heat, cover the pan and leave to cook for a few minutes, until the whites are set. Squeeze the lemon into the sauce and taste for seasoning. Spoon the rice on to plates, cover with the curry sauce and pop an egg on top of each serving. This would be lovely scattered with fresh parsley or coriander and eaten with a bowl of steamed greens and grilled flatbread.

And for the rest of the week …

The sauce is delicious with grilled fish or mussels. If you have fresh tamarind pods, make more of the tangy paste than you need here, and use the excess to add a sour note to cocktails.

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