Zarreen’s Khagina- Scrambled Eggs with Potatoes in the Pakistani Manner

Khagina

Aglio, olio, peperoncino. Tossed with some spaghetti and it’s a full meal for the five friends who end up at your place after a night of hearing the legendary jazz pianist Chucho Valdés perform at the Villa Celimontana. There isn’t much in your fridge or pantry, but you are all hungry, and you do have that holy trinity of garlic, olive oil and red pepper chilli flakes in your pantry. Add a bottle or two of Morellino to the late-dinner mix, even if it may be a bit too tannic for a spicy pasta dish, but it is all you have in the house that night and besides, everyone loves a good bottle from the Maremma. To cleanse the palette after the pasta course, there is a packet of rughetta; arugula- in the fridge, and some tomatoes you bought from the Testaccio market that very morning- tiny, china-red orbs, which your friend slices and tosses with the peppery leaves, adding a drop or two of musky, tart, sweet balsamic vinegar and splashes of fruity, grassy olive oil, from your favourite casale in Umbria.

For dessert, there may be a bar of Green and Black’s Maya Gold dark chocolate in your purse which you brought back from London a few weeks ago.

No ‘posh nosh’, but no one notices, because you’re all there for the chatter as Mulatu Astatke plays in the background off of your ipod.

Khagina

Zarreen’s khagina is the Pakistani equivalent of the spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino- it’s that meal of spicy scrambled eggs you make for your close friends after you’ve been walking around all day together. You are in London, it is end of term and you have the freedom to be tourists in your own city. You walk towards the Edgware Road to stop at Maroush and have a shish taouk slathered with toum; that lovely Lebanese garlic aïoli- cocooned in a soft, warm pita for lunch. Then you walk up towards St. John’s Wood, making your way into Regent’s Park, where you enjoy a creamy ‘99’, impaled with Cadbury’s Flake. After a stop at Top Shop at Oxford Circus, you buy that teal blouse, the one which looks a little bit skanky, and by the time you get to Zarreen’s uni residences near Russell Square, you already have buyer’s remorse.

Khagina

You all sit there with cups of dense, milky cardamom tea and Zarreen begins to prepare dinner. The kind of dinner you prepare when you don’t have much in the fridge or pantry except for some eggs, bread, potatoes and spices. Zarreen starts to mince the onions and chop the potatoes into small, perfectly rectangular pieces. Then she cracks open the eggs, one by one, adding them to the bowl. A flicker of salt, a few more flickers of chilli pepper for us chilli-heads, and she whisks it all together. The potatoes and onions sizzle as they go into the pan, and after a few minutes, the fragrance of caramelising onions begins to hit us. Zarreen pours the eggs into the pan and lowers the heat. The eggs start to look like a soft and creamy custard. She swiftly ladles scoops of the scrambled egg into our plates, which we mop up with toasted slices of bread, smothered with salty butter. We listen to Omara Portuondo’s ‘Veinte Años‘ and wonder if there will be any chocolate HobNobs for dessert.

Sometimes no truffle, foie gras or rare steak can take the place of a meal your closest friend prepares for you, even if it is made in the humble spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino manner…

Serves 4
You will need a 25cm / 10inch stainless steel frying pan. I would recommend you don’t use a non-stick frying pan as the onions and potatoes will not caramelise as nicely as they do in a stainless steel pan. For instructions on how to make scrambled eggs without a non-stick frying pan see this link.

Ingredients:
*½ small onion, minced
*2 medium-sized red potatoes (approximately 120g / each), peeled and diced into ½ cm (approximately ¼ inch)
*olive oil
*1 tbsp unsalted butter
*4 eggs
*½ tsp salt
*½ tsp red chilli pepper
*pinch turmeric *optional
*chives or herb of your choice for adornment
*slices of crusty bread, rubbed with olive oil and grilled

Preparation:
*Break the eggs into a bowl, add salt and chilli pepper and whisk lightly together, just enough so that the yolks combine with the whites.
*Heat a stainless steel frying pan for a minute or so on medium-heat, then add olive oil and butter, allowing it to melt.
*Immediately add onions and potatoes and sauté for 7-10 minutes till they are caramelised and look bronze.
*Pour in the egg mixture and let it sit, without stirring, for 20 seconds. Stir till the eggs are at the point of setting and resemble a soft custard. Make sure to keep scraping the bottom and sides of the pan.
*Serve atop crusty bread (bruschetta) immediately; while warm and creamy.
*Adorn with chives or herb of your choice.

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Comments

  1. really nice ,specially for hot summer days when you don,t want to cook curry and bread.

  2. This looks so awesome…I love eggs prepared in such ways!!! I’m a big fan of you blog….

    Regards,
    Manju

  3. YUM. Khageena is for days when there isn’t any food and you don’t want left overs. It’s such a blessing.

  4. My sehri staple. Aaloo Anday (that’s what I call this type of Khageena). Light velvety soft & double delicious with a crisp paratha followed by a bowl of yoghurt, unknown glasses of water & a huge mug of chai just before Fajr Azan. I’m ready for the roza/saum.
    In my family we rarely cook this outside of the month of Ramazan. You made me crave some right now. :)

  5. Lovely. I’ve really gotten back into scrambled eggs since I’ve found Burford Browns; wonderfully eggy eggs with the richest orange yolks I’ve seen. This looks perfect.

  6. I felt the love in your story for how the the simplest food can create such wonderful memories. :)

    Your khagina is so elegant – lovely!

  7. Absolutely delicious! Love the clicks.

  8. Yumm!! looks amazing!! and beautifully written. any excuse I can have to eat potatoes and eggs!! Lately I have had access to some awesome organic free range eggs, I will make this with those!! And potatoes are my favourite thing for brunch! Thank you for posting this, and adding colour to my breakfast.

  9. Love this kind of simple food ! And lovely story to go with it :-) Beautiful blue floral prints on your plate is also pretty

  10. These tartines would be great for brunch. I often make bistrot style tartines with left over chicken curry at home and serve with a simple salad and a glass of red.

  11. Shayma, you had my mouth watering by the end of your first paragraph above. This is all about perfect, unpretentious food shared between friends, what could be any better?

  12. deliciously done looks wonderful

  13. Would you believe I have never made Khagina, my mom always makes it. I will have to give your lovely recipe a try! Food equals loving memories! xx

  14. This looks delicious – it’s going on my to-cook list for sure!

  15. This is ideal for me for the days when I am alone and lazy to cook.

  16. I wish you still lived in rome and we could make Aglio, olio, peperoncino together every now and then – while listening to mulatu of course. Zarreen’s khagina sounds just delicious and my sort of thing (as does dense, milky cardamom tea). I agree with your food sentiments entirely. I also agree with your latest post – brava – those words needed to be written.

  17. Hi Shayma ji!
    I’m 14 and I absolutely love your blog and recipes! Your style of writing brings back so many memories as a young child raised in the heart of Lahore and brings back stories my grandad narrates to me about the country. I live in the UK now but your blog is a great reminder of the tastes, smells and history of our heritage and its nice to see that there are still pakistanis willing to stick to their roots but are innovating at the same time! Your amazing Shayma ji! Please update more often and open a facebook page :D
    Thankyou :)
    Zainab

  18. my favorite breakfast. Well I’m kidding I have khagina (though I didn’t know its called that) for lunch and dinner too. I wish one day you cook something for me too :-)

  19. I am trying to cut down on potatoes, do you think I can make this with zucchini?

  20. Rehana Fazli says:

    Shayma,

    I am so, so impressed with you – your recipe (first stop khagina), the photos, the way you write! I hadn’t been on your blog for a long while but I promise I shall very often! I think my mother and I are having khagina tonight – while Saadi and Anees are in Hunza – unless I bump into another of your recipes!

  21. yumm! just Made it and it tasted good

  22. Loving this simple, yet elegant recipe, and your blog! :)

    Got a request for you.. I have made a bunch of your recipes, and continue to use them to cook wonderful things. I am a visual person, and need to read and re-read the recipe a thousand times before executing; and then again read as I go. Could you maybe provide a print-only format on your website for the recipes? This would help get the main contents of the recipe on one sheet of printer paper, and use a larger text font…to help us visuals out a bit. Just my two cents!!

    Thanks!! Hena 3>

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  1. [...] since reading Spice Spoon’s recipe for khagina scrambled eggs, I’ve quickly worked it into my regular repertoire for a quick weekday dinner.  Scrambled [...]

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