Friday, November 18, 2016

Eggs in Coconut Milk

If  close my eyes, I can still picture my grandmother’s chicks in coats the color of well whipped butter. She tosses out a handful of grain and they bob about in a frenzy. 

By  the age of four, I had stood before the Taj Mahal, watched yards of sari silk unfurled, and seen goldsmiths handcrafting jewelry. And yet it was the chicks (and their free-wheeling brethren) that represented the beauty of India to me. I would have given anything to scoop one up.

During my first trip to Kerala, I encountered animals throughout the day. I woke to a rooster’s call, accompanied by the solemn sound of Muslim prayers. After breakfast, I got to touch a cow's jiggly udder. Her milk was churned into butter by mid-day. I kept an eye out for the neighbor’s goats, which appeared like magic, in search of tender leaves. Eyes alert. Heads held high.   

Fast forward more years than I care to admit, and nothing much has changed.  I have developed a deeper appreciation for India’s architectural and artistic wonders, but it’s still random encounters with animals that compel me the most. From poufy-bummed chickens pecking around the yard to free-range goats frolicking about to hulking elephants ambling down the road with their trainer. So much of life in India goes un-curated, and to me, that’s the most wondrous thing of all. 


This dish is traditionally served with a fermented Syrian Christian bread called appam. In our family, they are served together for breakfast on Christmas and on Easter. When I'm strapped for time, I pair this dish it with white rice. Either way, it's delicious!

Serves 4


6 eggs
1 1/4 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cloves
3 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 cups finely sliced onions
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons finely cut ginger
1 teaspoon finely cut garlic 
1/2 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced tomatoes
10 to 15 fresh curry leaves
1 cup coconut milk


Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. 

Peel the eggs and score lengthwise. 

Blend the coriander, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and fennel in a coffee grinder or spice grinder.

Heat the oil in a medium size skillet over medium-low heat. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the onions and salt. Cook until they become translucent, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Add the curry leaves, potatoes, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic. Cook until the potatoes and tomatoes soften, about 15 minutes.

Add the spices to the onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water.

Add the eggs and stir gently. Add the coconut milk, stir, cover and cook on low for 5 minutes.  

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Making Pie Crust

Pie is the peacemaker of the culinary world. It eases the transition from summer to fall (teaching us that peaches must give way to pears and pumpkin) and broaches the sweet and savory divide so that chicken pot pie and pecan pie happily co-exist in kitchens across the country.

Sadly, there are few endeavors as angst-producing as making pie crust. The key is to be kind when mixing, rolling, and shaping the dough. It will develop an elastic texture if overworked and end up hard as a board. In this post, I’ll share tips to help you produce an eye-catching crust.

How to Roll Pie Dough

Dust a cutting board and rolling pin with flour.

Dust flour over cutting board

Place a disc of pie dough in the center of the cutting board.

Place disc of dough on floured cutting board

Position the rolling pin in center of the disc and roll it towards the edge of the dough using even pressure.

Roll out dough from center to edge

Rotate the dough to prevent it from sticking to the board and repeat.

Rotate dough and continue to roll it

Continue until you have a circle of dough that is a 1/8 of an inch thick. 

How to Place Dough in a Pie Plate

Place the rolling pin at the edge of the dough and slowly roll the pin to wrap the dough around it.

Place rolling pin over dough

Hold the rolling pin over a pie pan. Carefully unroll the dough allowing the edges of the dough to hang over the pie pan.
Roll dough over rolling pin
Lay dough over the pie pan

Tuck the dough into the corners of the pan.

How to Embellish the Edges of Pie Dough

Fold dough under along edges

With the tips of your fingers, lift the dough that is hanging over the edge of the pan and fold it onto the lip of the pan.

To crimp the edges: Hold the index finger of one hand over the edge of the dough. Press it into the index finger and middle finger of the other hand. Repeat until you've worked all the way around the rim.

Press index finger into dough

Or, to simply decorate the edges with a fork: Gently press the folk along the edges of the dough.

Crimped edges
Press dough with a fork

Advance purchase required!
Book your Chicago Food Tour today!
buy tickets at zerve
or call Zerve at (800) 979-3370