The Kerala egg roast song and how it all started
The origin of this post is when we got inspired from our friend Tanushree. She shared a picture of Kerala egg roast in our facebook post of Dim Kosha. The recipe was simple, easy to make and looked similiar to Dim Kosha. Dim is a comfort food and any experimentation is welcome. We tried this at home. I also wondered what must be the memories of Kerala egg roast with Malayalees and I was lucky enough to get some primary data, as they say in any research program.
Oh yes, have you heard this Kerala roast song? Sawan Dutta who has a YouTube Channel- The Metronome and whose fan we all are, created this video. She starts with ‘Mutta Roast, Mutta Roast….’ Here’s where you can watch it- Mutta Roast
Kerala Egg Roast is also Mutta Roast and to be authentic make it Nadan Mutta Roast.
Mutta is egg in Kerala and as I spoke to my friends, I figured out that Nadan means local produce. It’s not necessary that the mutta roast has to be made with duck eggs. My twitter friend, Resh Susan from Kottayam, who is a freelance writer and editor, explains Nadan means local. She confirms that Mutta roast can be made with both chicken and duck eggs. Nadan Kozhi is the hen grown in a household, Nadan Palharam means snacks of Kerala etc. Nadan Mutta roast is made from Nadan Kozhi and or Nadan ducks. It’s believed that Nadan eggs are superior in taste.
Breakfast stories with Mom for Susan
Susan shares her childhood memories. On busy days her Mom would normally make egg curries but holidays were reserved for Kerala egg roast. Just like it happens with Dim Kosha or Kosha Manghso in a Bengali household, there would be squabble amongst siblings over who got more. Susan remembers her bachelor uncle visiting them on weekends, Upma with Mutta roast got made and everyone enjoyed it. She remembers there were times, when Kerala egg roast was made with both chicken and duck eggs and elders would remind the classification.
Mutta Roast in early morning for train Journey for Nandita.
Puttu is a very popular breakfast in Kerala and most of the time, the Kerala egg roast accompanies. Nandita Abraham, head of Pearl Academy says – It was so versatile that we had it with Appam, rice, Chapatti or even bread. The best of her memories of this popular Kerala dish, comes from her train journeys. Kerala egg roast used to get packed in banana leaves along with rice, when she travelled in trains. Did you just remember ruti and dimer dalna for a typical Bengali durpalla (long distance) train journey? She confesses, as a child, she couldn’t wait for the train to move so that the banana parcels could be opened.
Nandita fondly recollects early mornings of a train journey. The sound of vendors shouting out ‘roast, roast’ at stations like Trichy, Alwe and Ernakulam, while passing by your compartment was a treat to the ears. When her grandmother used to have Kerala egg roast, she would ask- ‘who wants to share my mutta roast?’ This was a question which always excited the grandchildren and everyone wanted a piece, half in this case.
Three friends, a restaurant called Mahabelly and Kerala Egg roast
Zachariah Jacob, Thomas Fenn and Prem Kiran were school friends in Kerala. Zachariah and Thomas came to Delhi as under graduates in 2006 in St Stephen’s college. They never went back, Zach went on to become a lawyer but that’s secondary here. In 2015, they opened up Mahabelly in DLF Place Mall Saket and they also have a cloud kitchen in Gurugram. Tanushree, had got her recipe of Mutta Roast from Mahabelly while she was working with them for some collaborations. My intention of reaching out to various people was to get different perspectives and luckily someone referred Zach. My first question had to be – the reason behind including Kerala Egg roast in the kitchen.
Kerala egg roast, Sunday morning church mass and the matriarchial grandma
In no time, within opening Mahabelly, Zach and his team realised that Delhi has eggyterians and mutta roast soon became a very popular dish in Mahabelly. He reinstates the love of eggs in Kerala and mutta roast in particular, where in the evening, they have mutta puffs. It’s sheer coincidence that a couple of days before, I tasted Mutta puff in Monkey Bar Kolkata. “We Syrian Christians love eggs of all types and given a chance, I will like to start my day with Coffee, Puttu, Banana and Egg roast.
Zach recalls his childhood, when his Grandma used to cook Mutta roast at home for celebratroy occassions like Christmas and Easter, along with Appams and stew for breakfast. He remembers, how he used to wait eagerly for the Sunday mass to end, so that he can rush home for a tryst with his favourite Kerala egg roast.
Like most of the traditional dishes, when Nadan Mutta roast travelled to Mahabelly, they recoined it as Egg roast. They use normal hard boiled eggs as its done in Kerala also.
Hat tips for making a perfect Nadan mutta roast, treat your onions and tomatoes well
As confirmed by Resh’s Mother, Zach almost echoes the same thoughts. It’s all about how you treat your onions. They have to perfectly browned which maintains the taste and the texture of this dish. At times, adding a bit of cashew paste will do no harm as it will add richness. It needs to have more flavour of tomatoes, though adding tomatoes is not mandatory. Susan warns, her mother doesn’t believe in any shortcuts in making the egg roast. The onions need to be slow cooked for long hours on the stove, and the onions need to be thinly and uniformly sliced.
The Journey is the destination
What started as a search for memories of Kerala egg roast, turned out to be a plateful of Kerala cuisine. I learnt about Tharavu roast or the duck roast which is another popular dish for Syrian Christians. The closest cousin of Mutta Roast is mutta piralan, which is more of a festive dish, a celebratory dish when folks meet after a long time. I can remember Mangshor jhol, cholar daal , shukto, basanti Pulao for us. A visit to Kerala is now on the topmost agenda to experience the melting pot of influence of different religion and cultures in its cuisine. I realise, it’s not commumism which is the only common factor between West Bengal and Kerala.
Tanushree with her husband Om host unique dining experiences at her residences or in an offsite location under Fork tales and you must try out one of their pop ups. She was kind enough to share the recipe of Mutta roast, which she acquired from Mahabelly restaurant.
Do try this recipe and share your feedback. You can reach out to us at our social media handles: Instagram, Facebook or any of our personal Facebook (Madhushree and Anindya) and twitter profiles. Post a picture and tag us.
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Kerala Egg Roast with Duck Egg
- 5 nos boiled duck eggs I have used duck eggs. You can use chicken eggs too. (see notes)
- 3 nos big onions cut into fine slices
- 1 no large tomato finely chopped
- 4 nos green chilies slit lengthwise
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp red chili powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp Kerala garam masala optional
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- salt to taste
- 7 nos garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 inch ginger
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
Kerala Garam Masala
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 15 nos cloves
- 15 nos black peppercorns
- 3 inch cinnamon stick
- 1/2 no star anise
- 20 nos green cardamom
- 1/2 no nutmeg
To make the Kerala Garam Masala
- Dry roast the spices (individually would be better but you could do it together as well). Grind the roasted spices to a fine powder. Use as needed and store the rest in an airtight jar.
To make the mutta roast
- Make a spice paste of the ingredients listed using a little bit of water and keep aside.
- Take the boiled eggs and cut long slits into the egg white, reaching as deep as possible without breaking them,
- Sprinkle 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and a little bit of salt on the eggs and coat them.
- In a kadai or a frying pan, take the coconut oil and heat it. Fry the eggs very lightly in the medium hot oil on all sides. Drain and keep aside.
- In the same oil, add the spice paste and fry over low heat. If the paste is sticking to the bottom, sprinkle some warm water.
- Once the raw smell goes away, add the sliced onions and fry over medium heat. Let the onions caramelise nicely.
- Add curry leaves and slit green chilies once the onions have softened and caramelised. And then add the tomatoes.
- Stir and mix all the spices. Fry over medium heat till the tomatoes have become soft and mushy. Once the water from the tomatoes have evaporated and the tomatoes have cooked, add the spice powders as mentioned in the ingredient list.
- From this point on, it is all about slowly cooking the onions with the spices over medium to low heat. Keep sprinkling warm water when the spice paste become too thick and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Cook till the spices start releasing oils and it looks like a red thick gravy. Add the boiled eggs and toss them in the gravy.
- Add 1/3 cup of water and mix everything. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes till the eggs are well coated with the gravy.
- This gravy should have a thick and dry consistency. Add more slit green chilies if you like.
- I also sprinkled 1/2 tsp of sugar (just as a matter of habit from bengali cooking) and it actually balances the taste quite well. But this is completely optional.
- Serve Kerala Egg roast with appam or rice or any kind of bread of your choice.
- The eggs need to be hard boiled but if you like a little soft centre, it is absolutely alright.
- I was told by many that there is nothing called Kerala garam masala. However, I am no authority. The roast tastes very good with the garam masala and if you look at the spices individually, they do go into the roast.