This Kerala egg curry recipe makes a South Indian boiled egg curry made with dried spices such as mustard seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, and coriander, and quintessentially Keralan ingredients such as coconut cream and green chillies. It’s typically eaten for breakfast with Malabar paratha or idiyappam but you could really tuck into it at any time of day.
Our Kerala egg curry recipe will make you Kerala’s quintessential breakfast dish, a gently-spiced boiled egg curry from Southern India that’s typically eaten with Malabar parottas or paratha, a delightfully chewy and flaky flatbread, or idiyappam, steamed rice noodles.
If you like an egg curry as much as we do and you’ve made our Burmese egg curry recipe with deep-fried eggs or Indonesian egg curry recipes – we shared a recipe for telur petis, a funky egg curry with shrimp paste and lemongrass from Java, and a Padang style eggs recipe for gulai telur Pedang, a spicy egg curry from Sumatra – then you should enjoy making this Kerala egg curry recipe.
This Kerala egg curry recipe is this week’s edition of our Weekend Eggs recipe series of breakfast dishes from around the world, which we launched with Grantourismo and our year-long global grand tour focused on slow, local and experiential travel back in 2010.
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Kerala Egg Curry Recipe for a South Indian Boiled Egg Curry with Coconut Cream and Turmeric
We’d been cooking and eating Indian food for more than ten years before we discovered Keralan food, and the Southern Indian food more largely, after moving to Abu Dhabi some years ago, and it was a revelation.
Most of the Indian food we’d been making at home or eating out in Australia had been Northern Indian food because most of Australia’s earlier Indian immigrants were Sikhs from Punjab and Hindus from India’s northern and central regions. Southern Indians migrated to Australia later.
After moving to Abu Dhabi, we were quickly to learn that many of our work colleagues were from Kerala and the UAE capital was home to an abundance of Southern Indian restaurants, much to our delight.
What distinguishes Keralan food, and much of Southern India’s food, especially that of the coast, are the same ingredients that we adore in Southeast Asian cuisines. A southern state of India, located on the along Malabar, Kerala boasts sandy beaches skirted by coconut palms and an interior lush with spice plantations.
Most of India’s spices are grown in Kerala, particularly cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, and nutmeg, and aromatics such as garlic, ginger and turmeric. Many recipes begin with a call to fry mustard seeds in hot coconut oil until they crackle. Tamarind is often used as a souring agent and fresh chillies are used more than dried.
Coconuts are one of the key ingredients in Keralan cuisine, and while you’ll come across plenty of coconut-based desserts and sweets, it’s the savoury dishes cooked in coconut oil and made with coconut milk, such as the luscious creamy curries that set Keralan food apart from that of the north.
Which is why this Kerala egg curry recipe with its dried spices such as mustard seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, and coriander, and typical Keralan ingredients such as coconut cream and green chillies, is Kerala in a bowl.
Just a few tips to making this Kerala style egg curry.
Tips to Making this Kerala Egg Curry Recipe for a South Indian Boiled Egg Curry
I only have a few quick tips to making this Kerala egg curry recipe as it’s really very straightforward and comes together quickly.
Boiled egg curries have historically been made with hard boiled eggs, however, it’s perfectly acceptable to cook the eggs as you like and we have a preference for soft jammy eggs. If you do, too, take a look at Terence’s guide to cooking perfect boiled eggs.
If you do prefer hard boiled eggs you can slice a small slit in each egg and let them simmer for a bit longer to allow the spicy flavours to permeate the eggs. If you don’t and you like softer eggs, then add them at the end.
This Kerala egg curry recipe calls for coconut oil, but if you can’t source it opt for a neutral vegetable oil, but whatever oil you use make sure to fry the mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and crushed peppercorns in the oil a little to wake up the spices.
You’ll smell the perfume, particularly of the cinnamon and cardamom and you’ll hear and see when the mustard seeds are ready, when they start to crackle and pop.
With the ginger and garlic, I like to pound them a little in the mortar and pestle to soften them, then finely chop them or mince them. Don’t pound them too much as you don’t want a paste.
When frying the onions, I’ll alternate between medium and high heat to do them quickly, frying them until they’re translucent and soft, however, you could fry them for longer over low-heat to caramelise them instead. There is a version of this Kerala egg curry that is darker that does just that and does not include coconut milk or coconut cream.
For a rich creamy egg curry, use coconut cream. For a lighter egg curry, opt for coconut milk. If you can source fresh coconut cream/milk or even make your own, by all means use that, otherwise canned coconut cream or canned coconut milk is just fine, albeit a sweeter.
Garnish with more fresh green chillies and fresh coriander leaves. You could also fry up some curry leaves until they’re crunchy and pop those on top.
The flaky flatbread called paratha is a popular accompaniment and it’s perfect for mopping up the creamy gravy. If you don’t want to make your own paratha, you can probably find some frozen paratha in the freezer section of your supermarket or Asian grocer, however, cooked rice also works.
Kerala Egg Curry Recipe for a South Indian Boiled Egg Curry
- 4 eggs boiled to your liking
- 2 tsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cardamom pods
- 6 peppercorns lightly crushed
- 4 fresh long green chillies sliced lengthways
- 1 tsp ginger lightly pounded and finely chopped or minced
- 8 garlic cloves lightly pounded and finely chopped or minced
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 4 medium fresh tomatoes finely diced - or canned tomatoes
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground red chillies
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 400 ml can coconut cream or coconut milk or fresh-pressed coconut cream
- 6 curry leaves
- 2 green chillies
- 4 coriander leaves
- Boil the eggs to your liking, then set aside to cool and peel.
- In a large fry pan or a round flat-bottomed wok over medium heat, heat the coconut oil or vegetable oil, then add the mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and crushed peppercorns, until the mustard seeds start popping and oil is spluttering.
- Immediately add the fresh green chilies, ginger, garlic, and onions, stir well to combine, and fry for five minutes or so until the onions are translucent and soft, stirring occasionally to ensure the garlic and onion don’t burn.
- Next add the diced tomatoes, ground turmeric, ground coriander, ground chillies, and salt, combine well, and allow to simmer until the tomatoes have reduced.
- Add the curry leaves and coconut cream or coconut milk, stir well to combine, and simmer over medium-high heat to reduce to a thick creamy gravy.
- Transfer the boiled eggs to the curry, simmer for a few minutes, garnish with more fresh green chillies, fried curry leaves, and sprigs of fresh coriander if you like, then serve immediately with paratha or rice.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make this Kerala egg curry recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.