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22 August 2015 @ 10:38 pm
Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries: Week Forty-Two: Egg Kurma  
Stop the fucking presses--I ate a meal that didn't have any meat at all in it!

Okay, that's not really as revolutionary as I just made it sound. For one thing, said meal still had eggs and cheese in it, so it's not like I was willing to revoke the slaughter of the fatted calf for even as long as it took to sit down for dinner. And second, it's not like I haven't had vegetarian, or even vegan, meals before. It's just that when I'm planning a meal, I start out by thinking what meat I'm going to include, and--more pertinently--every single curry I've eaten before now has had meat or fish in it. But this one still passed the test even without it.

Though, hopefully you don't hate eggs.

I'm going to break from the usual format and tell a story here. Back when I started working at 鈴峯女子高校, softlykarou and I were still teaching a community English class on Wednesday evenings. My work schedule was such that I wasn't able to get back to Chiyoda in time to help teach the class, but we didn't want to cancel it or move it. So while softlykarou valiantly took on the teaching duties of the class by herself for an entire year, I needed to find something to do in the city since she couldn't pick me up from the bus station, which was a forty-five minute walk from our house. I settled on dinner, and while I'd sometimes go to the little place in the bus station and grab a bowl of ramen, I'd usually head down Hondōri and wait outside Spicy Bar Lal's, go inside the moment it opened, and order the curry dinner set with Keema Egg curry. I did that for months on end, and eventually I'd walk in, sit down, and the waitress would ask me いつもで宜しいですか? ("The usual, sir?") I ate dinner there nearly every Wednesday for a year.

It's closed now, and a new restaurant named Rocinante II has taken its place. You cannot step in the same river twice.

Spices make the curry.

Words from the Chef
So as he has mentioned, this was Dorchdas's favorite curry when we lived in Japan! It's intimidating to be comparing my curry mentally to amazing and authentic food made by experts. While my curry wasn't Spicy Bar Lal's level good (what ever is?) it wasn't bad. It was an easy curry to put together, not a lot of ingredients other than tomatoes and onions. I liked the addition of the coconut milk which gave it some richness that would have been missing otherwise. I think if I could do it over I'd have the eggs a little less well done. I let them go a little too long and I think the curry would be better with soft boiled eggs.

There's no third picture this week because the curry was really simple. If you're picture-starved, I suggest looking here.

The curry was pretty good, though I have to admit it's not as good as Lal's keema egg, but egg kurma doesn't have the advantage of years of warm feelings, nostalgia, and an indefinable sense of loss artificially propping it up either, so with that kind of competition it's doing pretty damn well. It was pretty mild as curries go, with the coconut milk of the sauce winning out over the spices, which served mostly to give the curry a pleasant warmth. It even seemed a bit thin at times. I know I bang on and on about sauces, but I've also said that when a curry is all sauce I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with it, and egg kurma just barely managed to avoid that trap. I originally asked for two eggs, but softlykarou suggested three when she was dishing out the curry, and she was right to do so. This is one that could stand for a bit more ingredients in it other than just tomatos and onion.

You know, some ground beef, maybe chopped fish, maybe-  photo emot-commissar.gif

The cheese is unartfully placed. Forgive me.

But seriously, if you've ever seen me eat at all, or indeed read anything I've written about food, you'll know that the fact that I didn't get a big plate of meat to put beside this should tell you something. I suspect with a couple more eggs, or maybe with a bowl of rice on the side, or some bell peppers or broccoli in the sauce itself, would have taken it that extra forward and this whole entry would look like I had been paid to write it as advertising for 50 Great Curries of India, to the extent that this series of blog posts doesn't already fall into that trap. Don't let my whining fool you--egg kurma is worth trying.

Would I Eat It Again?: Even with being a bit mild, it was still very good.
Do I Prefer It to the Usual Thai Curry?: No, and I don't think I would even if it had a few extra ingredients. Maybe if you added ground beef to it I would, but then it's not really egg kurma anymore, is it?
What Would I Change?: I'd try it with a few more vegetables in it and see if that makes it more robust.
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