Joshua Thomas, a chef at my restaurant Dévi, stayed with us at the farm one New Year’s Eve. It was wonderful ringing in the New Year with a fellow New Yorker, and even better sitting down to the lovely breakfast he made for us on New Year’s Day. Joshua made an egg roast, a dish that has been a Christmas Day tradition in his family since he was a child. The key was lots of onions, thinly sliced and slow cooked until they melted into one another, becoming sticky sweet and deeply flavourful. The eggs were hard-boiled and then cooked in the onions, along with tomato and plenty of spices, creating a dish that instantly transported me to the coastal canals of Kerala. Do take the effort to grind the finishing powder with a mortar and pestle just before serving – you will be amply rewarded.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time



  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 20 fresh or 30 frozen curry leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 large red onions, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 whole green cardamom pods
  • 2 medium very ripe tomatoes, halved, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp roughly ground black peppercorns
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 2-inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup neutral-flavoured oil 


  1. Heat the oil with curry leaves, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds in a large heavy-bottomed pot for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-high heat until the cinnamon begins to unfurl, stirring often so the cumin seeds don’t burn.
  2. Stir in the ginger and cook for about 1 minute until it becomes sticky and fragrant.
  3. Add the onions, salt and turmeric, reduce the heat to low, and cook the onions for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are deeply browned and caramelised. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pot or get too dark, splash the pan with a few tablespoons of water and stir up the sticky bits at the bottom of the pot.
  4. While the onions caramelise, grind the fennel seeds and peppercorns into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (if using a spice grinder, you may need to double the amount, so that the spices get finely ground).
  5. Add the hard-boiled eggs to the onions and gently roll them to coat with the onion mixture. Fry the eggs for 2-3 minutes until a light brown skin forms.
  6. Toss the tomato into the pot and cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato juices have evaporated and the onions look jammy.
  7. Stir in the fresh coriander, cook for 1 minute, and then stir in the fennel-peppercorn powder. Taste for salt. Serve immediately.
Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran, the Chef-Owner of The House of Celeste in Gurgaon, is Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for August. A legend in New York’s food circles, Chef Suvir garnered a Michelin star at Devi, a first for Indian cuisine restaurants in North America. He is the chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America and has written three cookbooks: ‘Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food’, ‘American Masala: 125 New Classics from My Home Kitchen’ and ‘Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country’. His fourth book, ‘Instamatic: A Chef’s Deeper More Thoughful Look into Today’s Instaworld’, released earlier this year. Chef Saran’s approachable style helped demystify Indian cuisine in the US and ultimately formed American Masala, his culinary philosophy that celebrates the best of Indian and American cooking.

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