Duck Egg Curry

Myanmar (Burmese) Duck Egg Curry

Myanmar Duck Egg Curry

Egg curry is a new idea for me, and it really surprised me that I hadn’t considered it before! I tend to bake more than I cook so always have eggs in the house. But often the eggs go passed their best as I struggle to use them up. The main reason I don’t do much cooking is because I don’t like to cook unless there is someone else to cook for. These days my partner is living away as he has gone to university as a mature student, so I find myself having dinner at my sister’s or my mum’s house. Cooking for one can be pretty dull since I tend to stick to a few one-pot recipes.

This Duck Egg Curry I tried for the first time on a recent trip to Myanmar has become my new ‘one pot curry’ recipe! It’s also a tasty way to use up all those left over eggs without having to break out the butter and sugar to bake a cheeky cake… Best served with fresh boiled rice and some stir fried greens!

This dish is commonly found in Myanmar and is a very popular lunch time meal as it is very cheap to make as well as being a quick meal to cook in the morning. I was only in Myanmar for a couple of weeks but learnt that there is still very much a culture of shopping in local wet-markets first thing in the morning. There are more supermarkets popping up in the cities but not many people have refrigerators and electricity is temperamental so it still isn’t practical to stockpile perishable foods.

There are very few ingredients in Duck Egg Curry so can be made from store-cupboard  ingredients if there is no time to visit the market in the morning before the working day starts. In Myanmar it is still the norm that women in the household do the shopping and cooking. As wages are low, it is common to see workers carrying metal tiffin lunch boxes to work in the morning, usually a layer of rice, some curry and some stir fried vegetables. When my colleagues brought out their lunches, I was always excited to see what they had prepared that day. It was so much more exciting than the standard English lunch of sandwiches!

Myanmar Egg Curry

Myanmar Egg Curry

*Recipe courtesy of Harmoneat

Ingredients:

  • 6 Duck Eggs
  • 3 Tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Shrimp Paste (can fish sauce instead or omit for a vegetarian version)
  • Water
  • 2 tbs Vegetable Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Dried Red Chilli
  • 6 Inches Ginger Root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 Shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

Method:

  • Soak the dried chilli in some warm water for 10 minutes to soften
  • Boil the duck eggs for 5 minutes until hard boiled, once boiled peel the eggs and cut in half horizontally then set to one side
  • Make the curry paste by pounding the re-hydrated chilli, garlic, ginger and shallots in a pestle and mortar until you get a smooth paste (use a blender if you want to be are short on time)
  • In a deep sided frying pan (with a lid) stir fry the curry paste in the vegetable oil to release the fragrance of the spices, around 3 minutes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, shrimp paste, and a cup of water. Stir to combine and make a thick curry sauce
  • Place all the egg halves face down into the sauce in one even layer and simmer for a few minutes, before turning all the eggs over so the yolks are facing upwards
  • If the sauce is very thick, add some more water before putting the lid on the pan and simmering for 10-15 minutes. Add salt for seasoning
Duck Egg Curry

Duck Egg Curry

I have cooked this recipe using chicken eggs as a substitute very successfully, as duck eggs are a bit harder to come by back home in the UK! This dish is pretty healthy as not a huge amount of oil is used and the eggs yolks bring richness to the curry. It still tastes great without the shrimp paste for vegetarians; I once forgot to add it! 😉

Red Curry Paste

Red Curry Paste

This red curry paste is a very simple recipe that forms the basis for ‘red’ curries in Myanmar. Make a big batch and keep a home made jar in the fridge sealed with a layer of oil for an fresh curry paste free from preservatives! 😀

For more recipes from Myanmar, check out Harmoneat’s website where you can find downloadable recipe cards. 😀

Chicken Tikka Potstickers: the dumplings with a twist!

I have previously posted about potstickers/dumplings/gyozas before but for this recipe I have used the basic idea of the potsticker and given it a South Asian twist!

Chicken Tikka Potstickers

Chicken Tikka Potstickers

Chinese potstickers are traditionally served with a milder flavours in comparison to spicy South Asian cooking (as with a lot of Chinese cooking the flavours are simple and subtle) and the dumplings served with a simple dipping sauce, usually based on soy sauce and vinegar. Taking inspiration from the was South Asian samosas are served, I decided to add a little spiciness to the filling of the potstickers as well as serve them with a couple of punchier dips!

Recipe

For the dumplings:

  • 1 packet of pre-made dumpling pastry (I’m too lazy to make my own this time!)
  • 4 skinned and boneless chicken thighs (chopped very finely or minced)
  • 2 tbs Tikka Masala curry paste (or make your own spice marinade)
  • 1 medium cooked potato, crushed (I used left over roasted potatoes)
  • 2 chopped spring onions (can use leeks or onions)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 tsp oil (for frying)
  • Boiled water (for steaming)
Potsticker wrapping

Potsticker wrapping

For the Chilli, Mint and Yoghurt Dip

  • 1 cup of natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbs green chilli sauce (I used bottled)
  • 2 tbs mint sauce (I used bottled but you can use fresh mint too!)
  • Salt (to taste)
Mint and Chilli Yoghurt

Mint and Chilli Yoghurt

For the Spiced Tomato Dip

  • 5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs oil (for frying)
  • Spices (I used 1 tsp each of mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and dried chilli flakes)
  • Curry leaves (a few)
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 0.5 tsp sugar
  • Salt (to taste)
Spiced Tomato Chutney

Spiced Tomato Chutney

Method

For the dumplings:

  • Mix the chicken with the Tikka paste and allow to marinade for a few hours of over night.
  • Mix the raw chicken with crushed potatoes and leeks and add a little salt.
  • Wrap the dumplings using about 2 tsp of filling per dumpling. Line a couple of plates or baking trays with ling film to put the dumplings on to avoid them sticking the plate. make sure the dumplings aren’t touching as they will stuck together. You can also stick them straight into the freezer on the tray/plate then stick them into freezer bags for later use.
  • In a heavy based sauce pan that has a lid or wok, add the oil and warm up. Add the dumplings into the pan, fairly close together, completely filling the pan but with a little space between each dumpling as they expand during cooking. Fry for a few minutes until the bottom of the dumplings have browned a little.
  • Now it is time to cook the filling, so add some water to the pan (about 1 cup), cover with the lid and steam for 5-10 minutes on a low heat (until the filling is cooked through). If there is still water left in the pan, increase the heat to evaporate the remaining water and crisp up the bottoms.
  • The dumplings will stick to the pan (hence the name ‘potstickers’ but with a little care and the help of a fish slice spatula, you can easily lift them out!)
  • If cooking from frozen, no need to de-frost them. Just stick them straight in the pan and steam for an extra 5 minutes.
Potstickers- chicken tikka

Potstickers- Ready for the freezer

For the Chilli, Mint and Yoghurt Dip:

  • Mix everything together and add salt to taste, simple!

For the Spiced Tomato Dip:

  • Dry roast the whole spices and curry leaves in a saucepan
  • Add oil and cook the onions until softened
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, stir and then cook for a few minutes until they are soft and most of the juices from the tomatoes has gone
  • Add the salt, sugar and vinegar and cook for a couple more minutes
  • Taste and allow to cool
Chicken Tikka Potstickers

Chicken Tikka Potstickers

I made a batch of these and froze them for future meals when there is no time to cook or I’m too tired. Today was that day!

The filling was nicely spiced and very much reminiscent of the taste of chicken samosas but a lot lighter since they aren’t deep fried. The potatoes in the filling help to keep it all quite dry so there is less risk of the dumplings bursting, however it also means that dips/chutneys are very much necessary!

The spiced tomato chutney worked very nicely, as the vinegar added a sharpness that lifts all the flavours and brings back in the freshness that you would normally get from a traditional Chinese dipping sauce. Then the minty yoghurt cools everything down… So delicious! I ate at least 10 in one sitting! 🙂

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Wintery weather equals warming soups. I made a version of this soup over the Christmas period as I had a massive bag of carrots to use up, but it ended up tasting lovely so I’ve made it again today with a couple of adjustments. You’ll need one large and one medium sauce pan. a blender and a wooden spoon.

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Recipe:

  • Toor Dal (2 handfuls)
  • Carrots (500g or about 9 medium ones)
  • Oil (around 1 tablespoon)
  • Crushed garlic (about 5 cloves)
  • Small red onion (use white or shallots, whatever you have in)
  • Spices (I used mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander powder, cumin powder, cayenne pepper and garam masala- about a teaspoon of each or more if you like lots of spice)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Lime (optional- I had one so used it up)

Step 1) Blanch the dal until al-dente in the medium saucepan (I used a pressure cooker). Drain and set to one side.

Toor Dal

Toor Dal (blanched)

Step 2) Chop carrots into small pieces, put into the large pan and cover with enough water so that all carrots are covered. Boil until cooked through (again I used the pressure cooker)

Step 3) As the carrots cook, fry whole spices in oil in the smaller pan and add garlic and onions when the whole spices are fragrant. Once onions and garlic are softened, add powdered spices and salt (I used about 1.5 teaspoons of salt)

Spices, onions and garlic

Spices, onions and garlic (fried)

Step 4) Add the spiced garlic and onions to the cooked carrots (still in the cooking water). Then blend the carrot mixture until smooth. I had to do this in two batches as I only have a jug blender.

Step 5) Put the blanched lentils into the smaller pan that you cooked the spiced onion and garlic mix in, and then add the blended carrot soup. Stir it all up and taste to see if there is enough seasoning. (At this point I added the juice of one lime as it needed to be use up and the soup tasted very sweet, so the lime helps to cut through the sweetness a little).

By keeping the lentils whole and al-dente, it gives a nicer texture to the soup. It has more of a bite and keep you fuller for longer. The Toor Dal I used has an extra earthy flavour which I think adds an extra dimension to the taste, but any lentils can be used! I also used whichever spices I had to hand, so feel free to mix and match the recipe. I’ve also got some cream in the fridge, so may add a sneaky dollop in to add extra richness. 😉

I have portioned up this wholesome spicy soup for office lunches. The longer you leave it in the fridge, the more the flavour develops. This soup took me less than an hour to cook, wash the dishes and eat for lunch today! 🙂