It’s been nearly 10 years since my last trip to India, and only a few details are embedded in my mind. I remember the Taj Mahal, I remember being freezing cold in the mountains and drinking watermelon juice at one of the hotels where we stayed.
There was the time at my Nani’s house and the grilled cheese I ate at a different hotel. Clearly my teenage self hadn’t yet developed an appreciation for the beautiful foods and rich experiences that represent my family’s homeland.
During my first trip even longer ago, I do remember riding a train from one city to another and being served a breakfast that I was not interested in, but that my parents happily ate. It was an egg dish brimming with vegetables and spices that, in hindsight, was probably delicious. But as a child, anything that might have a weird texture or funky flavors was usually a hard pass. I only recently stumbled across an article online about the railway omelets found at train stations and aboard trains in India. Soon I was down a rabbit hole of articles about the omelets and eggs in India that brought back that memory of being on one of those trains as a little girl.
When it came time to try and recreate something that I myself didn’t even eat, I thought about those flavors that have now become favorites. I wanted the punchy warmth and funk that Indian spice blends tend to possess. The eggs should be silky and just scrambled — I’m not a huge omelet person, and would prefer scooping just barely scrambled eggs over crunchy toast any day.
I wanted freshness, ease, and tons of flavor, and after a little experimentation, my own version of an Indian breakfast egg dish was born.
I recently learned about a new way to scramble eggs from one of my best friends who had come over and made some of the most delicious scrambled eggs I’ve ever had. The key is to use a healthy serving of oil or butter, keep the heat at a lower heat than normal, and to just go low and slow, which keeps the eggs velvety and silky. For the punch of flavor, I used some staple spices in my kitchen cabinet like garam masala, turmeric, and chili powder. The spices are all so warming and eggs are the perfect canvas to highlight those. Cook it all up and serve the masala eggs over a toasty piece of bread; it might just be the most flavorful breakfast you’ve ever had. You can customize as you like, of course. If you prefer extra spice, I’d suggest chopping up a jalapeño and cooking it into the eggs or even adding an extra dash of chili powder. If you like extra heat, some extra finely chopped ginger is perfect, and for extra freshness, top with all the herbs you can find.
I’m so in love with this yummy treat and have even turned it into a quick and easy dinner. I’m even feeling inspired to find my way back to India and finally give those railway eggs a try! Scroll on for the recipe.
- 2 tbsp oil or butter
- 2 tsp of chopped shallot
- 1 very small clove of garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 tsp very finely chopped ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp red chili powder (more if you prefer more heat)
- 1/2 scant tsp garam masala
- 4 eggs
- optional toppings :: fresh herbs like cilantro and chives, goat cheese, crushed pepper, jalapeño
- In a stovetop pan, add the oil and set to a low heat.
- Add the chopped shallot, garlic, and ginger to the oil and sauté for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the spices and sauté for another few minutes until the spices are fragrant.
- While the spices sauté, crack the eggs into a bowl and scramble with a fork.
- Add the scrambled eggs to the pan with the spices. Keep the heat on low, and using a spatula, slowly stir the eggs every couple of minutes as they start to set. The eggs should cook for about 10 - 15 minutes, longer if needed, and be just set.
- Once eggs are set, remove from heat and serve over toast. Top with desired toppings and enjoy!