Scrambled eggs have been around since the time of Ancient Romans. Apparently, one of the earliest known references to Scrambled Eggs is in a 14th century Italian book called Libro Della Cucina!
So it’s not surprising that many countries across the world have their own versions of the dish. In India, we have two versions of Scrambled Eggs that I know of. The first one is known as Egg Burji which is more of a street food but cooked in many homes. The second one, the subject of this post, is Akoori which is made famous by the Parsi community.
The Parsi community are Zoroasrians by faith and came to India sometime in the 1600s when they fled the Arab invasion of Iran. Over time, their Irani cuisine has married with aspects of traditional Gujarati and Marathi cuisine, resulting in a unique and distinctive Parsi cuisine. Even the English have left a mark on Parsi cuisine as can be seen the range of puddings and jellies they make. A lot of Parsi cuisine is non-vegetarian and their food still retains much of its original Middle Eastern influences. So the use of ingredients like plums, pomegranate, barberries, apricots, nuts, saffron, and cinnamon, for example, is common.
The Parsi love for food in general and eggs or “edu” in particular is legendary. So much so, that you will almost always find a separate chapter on egg dishes in Parsi cookbooks. It is said that Parsis can eat egg with just about every dish and many of their recipes involve breaking an egg over a variety of cooked bases.
In Goa, about a ten minute walk from where we lived, there was a small private book lending library. It functioned out of a small room that had barely enough standing room for about four or five people at any given time. The books were arranged on the bookshelves in some order known only to the elderly couple who ran it. If you are a book lover and love poking about in small bookstores you would understand my love for the place.
I used to be a regular there and on one visit I came across a pile of old cookbooks in a corner. Sifting through, I discovered two old Parsi cookbooks. One was simply labelled “The Cook Book” by Members of All Day Spend Group, published by The Zoroastrian Stree Mandal in 1965. It was water stained but otherwise in reasonably good shape. The other was a more recent book on Parsi Cusine by Bapsi Nariman. Obviously, both hadn’t been borrowed in a long time so I persuaded the library to sell them both to me.
This recipe for Akoori is adapted from that second book. Typically, Parsis serve this version of Scrambled Eggs on toast. You can see the Indian influence in this dish with the use of cumin, turmeric powder, garlic and coriander leaves. The fat of choice to cook Akoori is ghee or butter because it apparently keeps the eggs more moist.
This recipe calls for tomatoes and you can add a tomato chopped small, if you like it. I don’t like tomatoes in my eggs so I’ve left it out. Parsis, like the British, and unlike a lot of other India like their eggs cooked soft. So soft cooked consistency of scrambled eggs is what you should be aiming for when you cook this dish.
Akoori – Parsi Style Scrambled Eggs On Toast
- 2 tbsp ghee/ clarified butter
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 green chili chopped
- 1 pinch smallturmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- Heat the ghee in a pan. Lightly crush the cumin and add to the ghee. Stir a couple of times and add the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes and then add the chopped chilly, turmeric powder and salt. Stir a couple of times. Then mix in the chopped tomato and sugar and cook for about a minute.
- Now pour in the lightly beaten egg. As it begins to set, gently move the eggs across the pan with your spatula breaking up the “omelette”. Keep doing this process moving and folding until you have a “curd” like texture to the cooked egg. There should be no visible liquid and the egg should be soft, cooked and not rubbery.
- Take it off the heat and spoon equal portion each on four slices of toasted and buttered (if you like) bread. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve immediately. This is usually eaten for breakfast or served as first course in a multi course meal.