Years ago, I worked in a café kitchen that, to put it mildly, was rather uninspired with its menu. I wasn’t exactly a Michelin star chef (still not for that matter haha), but I had cooked enough of a variety of things that I could keep a lunch menu at least a bit interesting.
One day I was kicking around ideas with the other cook in the morning about a lunch sandwich special. He was a vibrant, energetic guy from Laos who asked, in an uncharacteristically sheepish manner, because he was used to hearing a dull response from others, “Do you know how to do curried egg salad?”
I, of course, said I could because I was just in my huge curry phase of cooking. And I was also reading my copy of The Joy of Cooking at the time to absorb every detail of those classic recipes (Seriously, buy The Joy of Cooking if you don’t have it. It answers EVERY cooking question you could ever have).
I had made my own curry paste at the time for various things and did it then to add to a relatively classic egg salad sandwich. That recipe has followed me throughout the years since. Today is the day to actually write it down. Enjoy!!
Curried Egg Salad Sandwich
For the Sweet Curry Paste:
1Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp green cardamom pods
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp hot Hungarian paprika (or cayenne pepper)
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cold pressed canola oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
1 cup water
In a spice grinder, add the coriander, cumin, fennel, mustard seeds, cardamom, and black peppercorns. Grind until a fine powder is achieved. Stir in the paprika and turmeric until uniformly combined.
In a large, wide-bottomed pan over medium high heat, add the oil, onions, garlic and ginger. Sauté until softened and fragrant (about 4-5 minutes). Add half of the spice mix and toast with the onion mixture until very aromatic (about 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sauté for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the water, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 12-15 minutes until most of the liquid has absorbed and evaporated.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and purée until mostly smooth. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The rustic nature gives it charm. Return the purée to the pan, add the remaining spice mixture and stir vigorously over medium high heat to incorporate and reduce until a thick paste is achieved. Set aside to cool.
For the Curried Egg Salad:
4 large eggs, hard boiled, cooled completely, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup Reserved Sweet Curry Paste
1/3 cup mayo or Greek yogurt
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo and Sweet Curry Paste until smooth. Add the celery and chopped hard boiled eggs. Fold together gently to maintain the chunks of egg.
Add the Curried Egg Salad to split dinner rolls and serve. Serves 3-4.