Growing up I was constantly at one of my best friend's house feasting on the heaped plates of Akoori that were served. Akoori, also spelled as Akuri, and always misrepresented as egg bhurji is a classic Parsi dish that is redolent in history.
The Parsis are a community that practices one of the oldest religions in the world, Zoroastrianism, because of which they had to flee Persia due to persecution. As the legend goes, Parsis arrived in Sanjan, Gujarat and were received by Jadi Rana, a native ruler in Gujarat. Rana offered the immigrants a full glass of milk to indicate that there was no place for them. The Zoroastrians responded by adding a spoon of sugar to the milk, demonstrating their intention to blend in and subtly sweeten the figurative glass of milk without filling it to the brim. Today Parsis are integrated into Indian society, leading some of the largest business empires and have spread out worldwide.
Akoori is often mistaken for its "evil twin" the Bombay scrambled egg or bhurji. But gormands know the difference and so should all of us. An akoori is soft with the eggs barely cooked, mildly spiced and very creamy. A bhurji, on the other hand, is well-cooked, almost dried-out eggs with bold flavours.
This recipe stays true to the core of the dish, creamy, the added optional cream makes it even richer, and delicately spiced. These eggs are a delight and can be served in a number of ways. I like to have them for breakfast but also serve them on toast as an appetizer. In addition, akoori can also be cooked with meats for a heartier dish.
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2 tablespoons butter or ghee
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion, finely diced
2-3 green chillies, minced
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 tomato, finely diced
4 tablespoons cream (optional)
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced, a bit more for garnish
White bread or toast
Heat the oil on a low flame and add the cumin seeds. Sautè for 10 seconds till the cumin seeds are lightly coloured and add the onions and green chillies. Fry till the onions are lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the ginger and stir for 30 seconds till the ginger no longer smells raw. Stir in the turmeric and chilli powder till mixed in. Add the tomatoes and cook on a low flame for 2-3 minutes till the tomatoes are heated up and start turning soft.
Whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and add to the pot with the cream (if using), salt, pepper and cilantro. Whisk continually to get a smooth almost custardy eggs scramble. Cook for 3-5 minutes till the eggs are cooked through but still very creamy, do not dry out to a dry curdle.
Serve immediately on a plate with white toast on the side and garnished with additional cilantro.