You may not think of eggs when pickling is discussed, but you should. Curry pickled eggs are tasty eaten by themselves or use for a flavorful egg salad. Give it a try!
Pickling is usually done by making a brine, which is a liquid solution of an acid such as vinegar, with water added to tame its heat and potency. It is also a good idea to add salt to the brine for flavor, and because it helps to pull the moisture out of the food. More often than not, and as is the case with curry picked eggs, adding spices and herbs will elevate the flavor of the pickled food from mediocre to extraordinary.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need two to three ounces of water and vinegar brine for every tightly packed pint jar of food. Spices can be added in any combination your imagination can dream up.
Achieving the Perfect Hardboiled Egg
This recipe adapted is from the book Cured Meat, Smoked Fish & Pickled Eggs by Karen Solomon (Amazon). The author’s recipe calls for boiling the eggs, then taking them off the heat and covering for six minutes. I found this turns out to be a semi hard-boiled egg, so I will cook them longer next time. The texture of the egg did not affect the taste at all; they were still delicious.
Peeling the egg turned out to be somewhat troublesome, and I was left with a hot mess of an egg. There was no way I could put a positive spin on those babies, they were mangled and not worthy of pictures for article publishing.
The process that takes place when egg whites cook is called coagulation. It also makes boiled eggs challenging to peel. Proteins are very sticky. When the egg white cooks, it can bind to the membrane and the shell, and you end up with a torn, pockmarked egg.
Farm Fresh Eggs
It seems my trouble started when I used fresh farm eggs for this project.
Farm fresh eggs also tend to have a lower pH, which is why the eggs from your local farmer’s market tend to be more stubborn than the ones from the grocery store. Yep, my recommendation: let your farm fresh eggs age a bit before you try this recipe.
I adapted this recipe by using dried, powdered herbs in place of the fresh and I used powdered cumin because I did not have seeds available at the time. I still went through the process suggested in instruction 2 (below) with the powdered spices. I found that the brine was somewhat thicker than I expected and it helped to shake the eggs every day to stir them up.
Curry Pickled Egg Recipe
Makes: 6 eggs
Time: At least 4 days
Like jerky, pickled eggs are portable, long-lasting, and full of protein and savory, piquant flavor. The curry flavor here is light, but the sunny color of these beauties will make you return to them again and again. This recipe works well with fresh or dried herbs and spices.
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 3 thin slices fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Carefully place the eggs in a single layer in a medium saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Cover the pot and cook over high heat until the water is boiling rapidly. Turn off the heat, keep the pot covered, and set a timer for 6 minutes. When the time is up, immediately drain the eggs and then run them under cold water until cool enough to handle.
- Dry the saucepan and return it to the stove. Add the cumin and the coriander and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they become fragrant, about 2½ minutes. Immediately add the 1½ cups water to stop the cooking, then add the vinegar, garlic, ginger, turmeric, peppercorns, and salt. Bring the heat up to high and boil the brine. Once it reaches a rapid boil, turn off the heat and cover it to keep it warm and let the flavors steep.
- Meanwhile, crack an eggshell by gently rapping its top and bottom against the countertop, then roll it along its side. For best results, start peeling the egg from the large, round top, where you’ll notice a small pocket of space beneath the shell. Follow suit with the rest of the eggs.
- Place the peeled eggs in a 1½-quart canning jar. Pour the brine (including its solids) over the eggs to submerge them in the brine.
- Cover the eggs and refrigerate for at least 4 days to let them take on the flavor of the brine.
Storing Pickled Eggs
Completely submerged in the brine and refrigerated, the eggs will keep for at least 3 weeks. The brine can be reused for at least one more batch of eggs. The eggs end up having a beautiful, curry flavor that penetrates the egg white and gives the flavor. Try other herb and spice combinations too.
I was inspired by several recipes in the book that can easily be adapted for those always on the go. Next up – Pickled Garbanzo Beans, Dried Yogurt Bombs, and Simple White Cheese all fit into our lifestyle. But first I’m going to make Meat Energy Bars – sounds questionable I know, but it’s actually a mix of jerky, fruit, and seeds bound together with honey. Now that looks tasty!
About the Author: Karen Soloman is a food preservation teacher and food writer whose cookbooks include Asian Pickles; Jam It, Pickle It; and Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It. Her articles and recipes have appeared in Fine Cooking, Prevention, Men’s Health, and Every Day with Rachel Ray. She lives in San Francisco.
Recipe excerpted from Cured Meat, Smoked Fish & Pickled Eggs © by Karen Solomon. Used with permission from Storey Publishing. Photo credit © Aubrie Pick.