Creamy, spicy and herby, akoori is the perfect savoury breakfast.
Funny story. A few years ago when we were having breakfast in Queenstown, my newly eggtarian mum ordered shakshuka at a local café. It sounded exotic and tasty and was one of the two vegetarian dishes they served. After a long wait, the shakshuka appeared – a skillet of simmered tomatoes that had been lightly spiced with a couple eggs on top. Mum’s face fell. “Oh, this is like tomato per eedu. I just paid $22 for this?”. She ate it, but vowed to order from the cabinet for the rest of the trip.
Akoori suffers a similar translation fate in India. Both akoori and egg bhurji loosely translate to “masala scrambled eggs”. People confuse the two and think they are the same dish.
Yes, they are both spiced scrambled eggs, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Egg bhurji is a dish commonly found on the breakfast menu of long distance trains or at early morning street vendors around offices. It’s spicy, sometimes oily, and dry in texture. Bhurji pav, where the eggs are stuffed into a dinner roll-esque bun, is how bhurji is commonly served.
Akoori, on the other hand, is the royalty of scrambled eggs. It’s creamy and fragrant with just a little bit of heat. The melt-in-your-mouth creaminess of akoori comes not just from the ghee that’s used to cook it but also because it’s cooked until the eggs are just cooked. Normally, to taste akoori you’d need to frequent the popular Irani cafes of Mumbai or be invited to a Parsi home for breakfast.
Or you could try this simple recipe.
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 100-150g diced tomatoes – fresh or canned
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (use less if using the spicier variant)
- 1 heaped tsp coriander-cumin powder (available at Indian grocers, or you can make your own with a 50:50 blend of both seeds, dry-roasted and ground)
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp salt
- 50g tasty cheese, grated (optional)
- Handful chopped fresh coriander leaves
In a saucepan, warm the ghee and saute the onions. When onions are soft, add in all the spices and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and allow to cook until tomatoes are soft. This will take longer if you’re cooking with fresh tomatoes. Add salt.
Turn the heat to low and add your eggs.
Keep mixing until the eggs are just scrambled and switch off the stove. Add the fresh coriander and take the pan off the stove so the eggs don’t overcook
Top with finely grated cheese if you like.
Serve hot with toasted garlic bread or some crusty sourdough.