The French have their pillowy, like-a-curdled-creme, soufflé-like version of scrambled eggs. The Latin Americans have their huevos revueltos; the Colombians serve theirs with pillowy arepas. Us Pakistanis & Afghans have our own version of scrambled eggs, called Khagina.
To prepare Khagina one needs just a few simple, fresh ingredients: eggs, tomatoes, onions, green chilies and fresh coriander/cilantro. Add cumin and the dish is lifted with an aromatic spice. It is comfort food, a dish which evokes fragrant memories of childhood in Lahore. The eggs are mopped up with chapati; a Pakistani whole-wheat flat bread or cushioned on crusty bread, sliced thick. Khagina is a much-loved dish which can be eaten for breakfast and just as easily served as an entrée for lunch or dinner. It is the layering of flavours; nutty, chili and herbal, which make this a rather special dish. I’ve always managed to find these ingredients in my fridge; a perfect dish to whip up not only for brekkers, but also on that night when you get in very late from work.
Making Khagina requires an indulgent amount of butter, but if you want to employ healthy cooking techniques, use 2-3 tbsps of olive oil. You will need a 7-8 inch non-stick frying pan.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Active time: 15 minutes
* 6 eggs, (preferably free-range)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
* 1 small white onion, finely chopped
* 2 teaspoons cumin seed (zeera)
* 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
* 2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro/coriander, (both leaves&stems)
* 2-3 thai bird chillies, sliced straight into the mixture in the pan with kitchen shears.
*Break the eggs into a bowl, add salt and whisk lightly together, just enough so that the yolks combine with the whites;
* Place pan over a fairly medium heat, add the butter (or olive oil) and tilt the pan from side to side so the pan is coated evenly. As soon as the butter stops foaming and begins to turn a nutty brown, add the onions and stir for 5-7 minutes till soft and golden;
*Add the cumin seeds and fry for 2 minutes till aromatic;
*To this, add the tomatoes and stir till warmed over and slightly soft. Turn the heat to low;
*Add cilantro, the egg mixture and chilies;
*Continue to stir the eggs swiftly, for another 5-7 minutes, until they are at the point of setting and resemble a soft custard. Make sure to keep scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. Serve immediately; while warm and creamy.