Friday, January 30, 2015

Khagina








     Khagina!
     Khagina is a traditional egg entrée in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  This egg entrée can be served for breakfast or any meal.  There actually is two two names for today's egg recipe.  Khagina is the name most often used for this entrée in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Egg Bhurji is the other name for this entrée.  Some folks in Pakistan and many people in India refer to today's recipe as Egg Bhurji.  One thing that is certain, is if an egg recipe like this is popular in three countries and it has two names, then it must be a great egg entrée!

     Khagina is made like no other egg recipe.  Ghee or clarified butter is not used to make Khagina.  Unsalted butter is cooked to the beurre noisette or beurre meuniere stage.  In plain English, the butter is cooked, till it becomes brown and a rich nutty aroma develops.
     Whole cumin seeds are added to the hot butter and they are cooked till they pop.  The complex flavor of cumin seed changes when the seeds are popped.  Care must be taken to not cook the seeds till they scorch.  Cumin seeds do not make a loud popping noise like mustards seed do, so watching the seeds move as they pop is best done by eye.

     The vegetables are always finely chopped for Khagina.  One Thai Chile is required for this recipe and Thai Peppers are fiery hot.  Green Thai Chile has a different flavor than rip Red Thai Chile.  Either can be used for this recipe.  I had Red Thai Chiles on hand, so red Thai chile it was!

     The cumin seed, onion, tomato and cilantro are required ingredients for Khagina.  Green peas are optional, but they are often added because they increase the nutritional value.  Garam Masala is also often added as an optional ingredient, when Khagina is prepared in some parts of Pakistan and Northern India.
     Khagina is usually finished with a light sprinkle of red chile powder.  Khagina is most often served with flat Naan or Roti, but rice can also accompany Khagina.

     Khagina:
     This recipe yields i entrée portion.
     Be sure to prepare all of the ingredients ahead of time.  This recipe progresses quickly after the butter is browned!
     Step 1:  Heat a seasoned sauté pan or non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Cook the butter, till a rich nutty aroma develops and the butter turns a light brown color.
     Step 2:  Add 2 pinches of whole cumin seeds.
     Sauté till the seeds pop.  (About 30 to 45 seconds.)
     Step 3:  Add 1/3 cup of finely chopped onion.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.  (Do not brown the onions!)
     Step 4:  Add 1/3 cup of finely chopped plum tomato.
     Sauté till the tomato becomes tender.
     Step 5:  Add 2 whisked large eggs.
     Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro and cilantro stems.
     Add 1/3 cup of thawed frozen peas.  (optional)
     Sprinkle 1 very thin sliced Thai chile pepper on the eggs.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala.  (Optional, but if no garam masala is used, then add 1 pinch of black pepper.)
     Lightly scramble the eggs till they are only a loose texture.
     Step 6:  Use a rubber spatula to push the eggs to the center of the pan, so they form a round shape.  By doing this step, the eggs and ingredients will become taller and thicker!
     Sauté till the bottom half of the khagina becomes firm.
     Step 7:  Flip the khagina.
     Use a spatula to round the khagina shape and to build height again.
     Step 8:  Cook the khagina, till it becomes firm and the eggs are fully cooked.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
   
     Presentation:  
     Slide the khagina onto a plate.
     Serve with plain white rice, naan or roti bread.
     Sprinkle a little bit of cayenne pepper or paprika over khagina.
     Garnish with cilantro leaves.
 
     Khagina is very aromatic and it is comfortably spicy! 

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