For Ginger Puree
1 pound ginger, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
About 1 cup water
For the Bhaji:
1⁄2 cup ghee
1 teaspoon lightly crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoon lightly crushed cumin seeds
1 teaspoon lightly crushed fennel seeds
1 cup minced white onion
4 cups diced (1⁄2-inch) vegetables (see head note)
10 to 12 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
11⁄2 teaspoons sea salt
1 to 2 tablespoons red chile powder
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black cardamom
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, or 1⁄2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Ginger Puree (recipe follows)
1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1⁄2 bunch cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
3 tablespoons grated Amul cheese or a sharp aged cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter or ghee
11⁄4 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons distilled vinegar
4 large eggs
1⁄2 cup pickled Mayonnaise (see note)
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
Ghee, for spreading
4 thick slices brioche or challah bread
Make Ginger Puree:
- Pour the water into a blender, then add the chopped ginger. Blend in short intervals, turning the mixture around with a spatula to get at all of it, until pureed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to 2 weeks. Use the puree with the liquid unless specified otherwise.
Make the Bhaji:
- In a medium frying pan, heat the ghee over high heat. Add the crushed coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds and cook until they start popping. Immediately add the onion, vegetables, garlic, turmeric, and salt and cook just until the vegetables take on some color. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the vegetables take on some color, then add 2 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through and soft. If they aren’t, using the back of a spoon, mash them up to create a thick yet chunky mixture.
- Add the red chile powder, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, tomatoes, and ginger puree to the frying pan and simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the peas and cook for another minute or two, or until they are cooked through but still bright green, then turn the heat off. Stir in the cilantro, cheese, and butter. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups water with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the vinegar and place over high heat. Crack each egg into small bowls. As soon as the water comes to a boil, drop the eggs in one at a time. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the whites have firmed up but the yolk is still soft, then gently remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate or in a bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the pickled mayonnaise with the heavy cream and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and heat over medium-low heat. Do not let it boil or bubble.
- Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Spread ghee on both sides of the brioche and pan-sear until crisp and browned on both sides. Spoon ½ cup bhaji on each toast. Top with a poached egg and drizzle the pickled mayo sauce over it. Serve immediately.
Note: For a shortcut, pickled mayonnaise - stir together ½ cup store-bought mayonnaise with 1 teaspoon minced Indian pickle (mango, lemon, or mixed). In the bowl of a food processor or with a hand mixer, combine one whole egg and one egg yolk with the juice of one lemon and 1 tablespoon Indian pickle. Mix until smooth, then add 1 cup sesame, avocado, or peanut oil in a slow steady stream until the whole mixture congeals in to a light-colored mass. Stir in 2 tablespoons of thick Greek-style yogurt. This makes 1½ cups of mayonnaise and it will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator
Reprinted with permission from Masala: Recipes from India, the Land of Spices by Anita Jaisinghani, copyright© 2022. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photographs copyright© 2022 by Johnny Autry.