This recipe is based on one I have eaten many times at a South Indian restaurant in my hometown of Southend on Sea. I have tweaked it a little, to simplify it, while trying to maintain the baseline of the original.

I try not to tinker with other cuisines too much if I can help it – I did when I first started out as a food writer, I was young and more naive than I am now, and less tuned in to the politics of food outside of my own topics of poverty and austerity. This isn’t a conversation for now, as I am still trying to pin down my thoughts on the complexities of appropriation with regards to recipe writing – and I hope that my work falls on the right side of appreciation rather than riding roughshod over culturally important treasures. An essay for another time, however.

For now, here’s my take on a South Indian inspired egg curry – for a more authentic recipe, I recommend you check out Swasthi Shreekanth’s recipe here, and Maunika Gowardhan here. Vegan readers can use the base sauce and add either chickpeas, kidney beans, or mushrooms for a delicious, if rather different, dinner.

Serves 4 from 57p each.

(This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients.)

1 large onion, 12p (90p/kg)

1 tbsp cooking oil, 2p (97p/1l)

6 fat cloves of garlic, 10p (20p/bulb)

20g fresh ginger, 6p (£1.50/500g)

1 tsp english mustard, 1p (32p/200g)

1 tsp turmeric, 2p (50p/100g)

1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1p (65p/100g)

1 tsp ground coriander, 2p (75p/100g)

400ml coconut milk, 50p

400g chopped tomatoes, 28p

1 tsp tamarind paste or lime pickle, 7p (99p/190g)

8 eggs, £1.06 (£2/15 mixed weight free range)

a pinch of chilli, to taste, 1p (50p/100g)

salt and pepper

First peel and dice your onion and toss into a large nonstick pan. Add the oil and place on the smallest burner, on a low heat. Peel the garlic and slice finely, and grate the ginger, and add both to the pan. Stir briefly to combine.

Measure in the mustard, then the turmeric, cinnamon and coriander. Turn the heat up full to cook the spices. Add the chopped tomatoes, then pour over the coconut milk, and spoon in the tamarind or lime pickle. Cook for around five minutes, stirring, until the edges start to caramelise, then turn the heat down low again and simmer for 20 minutes to thicken the sauce.

I like to remove half the sauce and blend it to smooth, then return it to the pan, but this isn’t compulsory. I thought I’d mention it in case it tickles your fancy though!

When the sauce is cooked, turn the heat off completely.

Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full of water. Bring to the boil. Set a timer for exactly four minutes for medium eggs, four minutes and thirty seconds for large ones. Don’t start the clock yet! Carefully lower each egg into the pan with a spoon so they don’t crack. When the last one is in, start the timer and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Fill a large bowl or jug with cold water and set to one side. This will cool the eggs, making them easier to peel and stopping them from cooking beyond a perfect soft-hard boil. That’s hard boiled whites with slightly runny yolks, I’m sure there’s another term for it but I can’t think of it!

When the four minute timer is up, carefully remove the eggs and lower gently into the cold water. Leave to stand for one minute to cool, and turn the sauce back on full blast to hear back through.

Carefully peel each egg and halve it, then place into the pan of sauce. Serve hot with extra lime pickle or tamarind, and a generous amount of black pepper.

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All text copyright Jack Monroe.

My new book, Tin Can Cook, is available to preorder now.

Click here for Cooking on a Bootstrap.

Click here for A Girl Called Jack and here for A Year in 120 Recipes.

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