These Nepalese eggs are not really pickled – well, not in a brine, in the way that they would be understood in the West. They are coated in a spicy yoghurt paste and served chilled as a relish or side dish. Nepalese cuisine draws from Indian and Chinese/ Oriental flavourings – so here you will find Chinese Sichuan pepper and Oriental lemongrass alongside Indian mustard oil and fenugreek seeds. It’s well worth hunting down the speciality ingredients from Asian grocers to give this simple dish its distinct and traditional Nepalese flavours. Serve the eggs with vegetable curry and plain or pilau rice. Serves 3.
2 oz/ 50g sesame seeds
1 level tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper
4 tablespoons thick, creamy yoghurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons mustard oil
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
About 6- to 8-inch piece lemongrass, finely sliced
1 to 4 green chillies, sliced
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon red chilli powder
6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
1. In a small frying pan, dry roast the sesame and cumin seeds and Sichuan pepper until the spices are fragrant and a couple of shades darker, taking care not to burn.
2. Let the spices cool a little, then grind them in a mortar or spice grinder. Add yoghurt, lemon juice, salt, and water. Mix well, and set aside.
3. Heat the oil until hot, then lower the heat and one by one add fenugreek seeds, lemongrass, green chillies, turmeric, and chilli powder. The spices should sizzle, and turn no more than a shade darker. Pour the mixture into the yoghurt and spice paste, and mix well.
4. Halve the hard-boiled eggs, and coat each half gently with the spice paste.
5. Transfer the eggs into a serving dish, and garnish with coriander leaves.
6. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.