Bafela Eeda Ni Akuri — Parsi Boiled Herbed Eggs
Bafela Eeda Ni Akuri is a breakfast dish but can be used for a quick small meal. An Akuri is usually made from raw eggs scrambled with various herbs and potatoes. Irani restaurants of Bombay (Mumbai) serve Akuri all day as a Mini-Meal— filling, healthy and very, very tasty.
Bafela Eeda Ni Akuri, on the other hand, is not found on any Menu — from the 5 Stars to the humble ‘Irani Hotel’ as the ubiquitous Irani restaurants are spoken of in Mumbai. While the Akuri is quintessentially a ‘Parsi Household Dish’, the Bafela Eeda Ni Akuri is not often seen in our homes.
I chanced upon this recipe amongst some written down by my mother’s family for an introduction to the ‘new daughter-in-law’ (Navi Vau) to the family favourites in the Parsi Cuisine.
The recipe seems to be recorded around the end of 1800s before my Grandmother was born in 1889. The weights and Measures noted in there are old and ni longer in use – Tola, Ratal and such – I have converted these to the nearest Metric Weights and Measures for ease in cooking the Bafela Eeda Ni Akuri.
There is an ingredient mentioned therein which says chutney or ‘VILAYATI SAUCE’. Since I know no one in the family or otherwise who is more than a 118 years old, I have to depend on a good guess to decipher what is the ‘VILAYATI SAUCE’. Most likely, it is the *Worcestershire Sauce or as now termed ‘Worcester Sauce’ (pronounced Wooster), I’d think, from its use in some Meat oriented Recipes or plain old **Tomato Ketchup, if it existed then.
Though both sauces existed at the time this recipe was recorded, I’d lay my bets on Worcester.
* Worcestershire Sauce or as now termed Worcester Sauce, a recipe thought up in 1830 by Lea and Perrins but not marketed as they did not approve of the taste. The Barrels of sauce were set aside and forgotten. Months later, the barrels were rediscovered. The sauce had, by now, matured and the taste mellowed to a full and rich one. The sauce was first marketed by Lea and Perrins in 1837.
However, Lea and Perrins were never able to claim intellectual property rights on the patent for the recipe or on the trademark ‘Worcestershire Sauce’ because of a High Court order in a litigation challenging its origin.
**TOMATO KETCHUP: A sauce of Chinese origin. The word ‘Ketchup’ first appeared in ‘Dictionary of the Canting Crew’ in 1690.
The English colonists were introduced to the ‘kicap’ or ‘kecap’ (pronounced ki- chap or ke -chap) as a fish sauce in the early 18th century in the Malay States (now, Malaysia and Singapore). Somewhere along the way from Malay to England, and then to America (through English settlers) the ‘Kecap’ became ‘Ketchup’.
The sauce was obviously very popular in the British Isles and by 1742, the recipe found its place in a London Cook Book with a distinctly British flavour (addition of shallots and mushrooms).
The popular Heinz Tomato Ketchup was marketed in 1876.
250 grams onions;
250 Gms potatoes;
3 bunch of coriander;
3 green chillies (reduce the number of chillies if preferred less heat);
10 leaves of mint;
1 tablespoon ***chutney or schezwan sauce or your favourite flavouring;
IF making Bafela Eeda Ni Akuri in the MANGO SEASON, replace chutney/sauce with 2 finely cut raw green mangoes, absolutely delicious!
2 tbsp Ghee or butter or preferred cooking medium (original recipe specifies Ghee or butter not oil);
½ level teaspoon salt or as per your taste.
Boil the Eggs and let cool,
Cut each egg into 4 slices horizontally or as preferred;
Peel and dice the potatoes to 1/2 cm cubes;
Preserve the potatoes in a bowl of water till required;
Peel and grate the onions or dice to miniscule pieces;
Pluck the leaves off the coriander and cut the leaves fine (only leaves no stems however tender);
Cut fine the green chillies;
Cut fine mint leaves; Now,
Fry the Potato cubes and grated onions in a pan of hot Ghee,
Stirring constantly till golden;
Add coriander, mint, green chillies and Green Mangoes/chutney/ sauce and fry till a light brown,
Lay oiled eggs on top of the fried mixture,
Mix gently so as not to break/damage the egg slices.
Return the pan to the fire, cover and cook the egg and herb mix for 30 more seconds taking care not to let it burn at the bottom.
Garnish with coriander leaves and eat immediately with preferred bread or chapattis Best with Portuguese Pau.
***If you do not have favourite CHUTNEY, try this:
GRIND together to a smooth taste: 1 tbsp grated coconut, 1 tbsp coriander leaves, 2 green chillies, 1inch piece of dried tamarind, a pinch of dry mint powder or 4 fresh leaves, 1 centimeter piece ginger (peeled) , 2 cloves garlic (peeled), ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 pinch sugar , A Pinch of salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning.