The custom of tea-time or chai-time in an Indian household is one that is woven into our social fabric. Chai-time is an integral part of forging friendships, and lasting relationships. In some households, apparently, when a guest is offered tea, it is impolite to decline, and may be cause for friction between the host and guest.
This is not entirely far from the truth. I certainly hold my chai-time rituals very close to my heart. We begin our day with a cup of tea, brewed with grated ginger, milk and sugar. This magical elixir helps me get through most of my day, until around 4 pm when its time for my second cuppa.
These Kerala-style egg puffs are a fitting accompaniment to a hot cup of tea. Puff pastry parcels packed with egg masala, seasoned with curry leaves. Perfect for unwinding on a long and tiring day, easy to whip up, and oh, so addictive.
These egg puffs are a signature fixture in many bakeries in Kerala (South India). Made with local margarine, these puffs crisp up in a way store-bought puff pastry never can. These egg puffs are very popular among office-goers, who very often head to these bakeries for a tea-time break, and grab a steaming hot cup of chai served in a disposable plastic cup and to accompany it, a warm egg puff in a paper plate. In these standing-space-only bakeries, it is par for the course to discuss work-politics and the little things of life, while blowing on your cup of hot tea, and munching your way through an extremely satisfying egg puff.
As I type this, I feel like I can’t have enough cups of chai on a day like today. An unexpected US election result has left pollsters scratching their heads and the internet in a tizzy. I think I should be pulling out that pack of puff pastry from the fridge and making myself a big batch of these. A cup of tea and a nice warm egg puff have therapeutic powers, as several-office goers in Kerala and other parts of India will testify!
- 5 hard-boiled eggs
- 2 large onions
- 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- 3-4 curry leaves (available at Indian Stores)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon ketchup
- Salt to taste
- 1 pack puff pastry sheets (thaw them if using frozen sheets)
- Start by making the masala/ spiced filling for the egg puffs
- Slice the onions finely
- Saute the onions with oil in a pan over medium heat for a minute
- Add the ginger and garlic paste to the onions and stir
- Continue to saute until onions turn light translucent
- Lower the heat and add finely chopped tomatoes
- Continue to saute, until the tomatoes become soft
- Add the curry leaves, pepper powder, ketchup and salt, and saute for another 2-3 minutes. The filling should be semi-dry, and the water from the onions should have evaporated
- Keep the filling aside and let it cool
- Chop the eggs into quarters and keep aside
- Lay out the puff pastry sheets (1 at a time) and cut out little rectangles
- Place a slice of egg and a heaped teaspoon of masala into the center of this each rectangle
- Fold over, and using a brush, wet the edges of the puff pastry and seal it
- Beat a (raw) egg with a little water to prepare the egg wash for the puff pastry
- Brush a little of the egg wash on the surface of each parcel before you bake them
- Bake the parcels at 180C / 350 F for 15- 20 minutes