Lately, I’ve been flummoxed by the sheer number of things thrown my way, and don’t get me wrong, I love it. It’s just that I don’t have the luxury of time anymore to even cook the often crazy, mostly lazy meals I’d take to the TV every other day. These are often stir-fries, dips and crackers, something I found whiling away in the refrigerator stirred with rice, or you know, instant noodles. They’re quick and don’t require much prep, so yeah, sitcoms and stews do not go together. If I’m going to have company, I’d make a shakshuka like this one. It’s mean, green, and makes for a very nutritious one-pan meal. While the Shakshuka itself has a very fun Eggs Kejriwal-esque appeal to it, it’s also very responsible as a dish- for one, it cooks greens like chard root to leaf, so there’s no wastage. Second, the green sauce I use in the shakshuka is plain ol’ pudina or mint and green chilli chutney, only made better and greener with the addition of Ridge Gourd peels (turiya or turai). Turiya ki sabzi gets made quite a bit in my house, so there’s plenty of peels leftover- perfect to blitz into a chutney like this one. But don’t feel compelled to make this green chutney if you have a bottle of something similar lying in your refrigerator. Go for that one instead.
Rainbow Chard 1 medium bunch, divided into three (you can use spinach or a mix of complimenting greens instead- spinach and kale, mustard leaves, bathua and spinach, you get the idea)
Onion 1 small, sliced
Salt and pepper
Eggs 2-4 (one egg per serving)
Chilli powder to sprinkle over
Fresh coriander or parsley chopped, to garnish
Turiya or Ridge Gourd Peels a little less than 1 cup
Mint 1/4 cup, leaves picked
Green chillies 3-4
Garlic 2-3 cloves
Toasted Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Onion 1 small, sliced
Tamarind juice from 1 marble-sized ball soaked beforehand
To begin separate all the rainbow chard from the ribs. Portion out 1/3rd of these chard leaves and set aside. Continue to trim the remaining chard, chop it’s ribs up into 1-inch sized stems and tear the leaves into large pieces.
Blanch the 1/3rd portion of the chard leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds, then immediately remove them and dunk them in ice cold water. Squeeze all the water out from the leaves using your hands and chop it roughly. In a mixer grinder, blitz together the blanched chard, the gourd peels, mint, chillies, garlic, cumin seeds, onion and the tamarind water with a teaspoon of salt, or more to taste. You can adjust the tamarind and salt and thin out the chutney using a bit of ice water if needed. Set the chutney aside.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. Heat 2 tbsp oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook till it has softened. Add in the rainbow chard ribs with some salt and pepper, and let it cook down till it is crisp and tender to taste.
Add the remaining chard in batches, allowing to wilt, before adding some more. Once all the leaves have wilted, add in the chutney and use a spoon to make wells for the eggs. Crack in the eggs in these wells and transfer to the oven and let it cook for 15-20 minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Serve with a sprinkling of red chilli and garnish with fresh parsley or coriander.