Baghdad Eggs

Sophie Tevlin shares a reliable favourite for dark winter evenings.

I’ve cooked this recipe or variations of it for several years, and though I tweak it a bit every time I make it, it hasn’t really changed in its essentials. I can’t remember where I stumbled across it – all I know is that it rejoices in the wonderfully evocative appellation of ‘Baghdad Eggs’. It’s quick, not too fiddly, and very soothing – the creamy richness of the egg yolk is cut with the sharp lactic tang of the yogurt and combines very well with the spiced onions. I like to serve it with toasted wholemeal pita bread, sliced cucumber and garlicky spinach, but it’s also nice with some salad leaves and a roll. Makes enough for one hungry person but will feed two in a pinch.

A word on the spices: this is a safe space to mess around a bit and experiment. I always start off with two teaspoons of cumin seeds and one teaspoon of coriander seeds (pre-ground is ok if that’s all you have, but the seeds keep their potency for longer and add textural crunch). Then whatever odds and ends I have knocking around in the cupboard – garam masala, dukkah, curry powder, chilli flakes, fennel seeds – bearing in mind that the overall effect should be warming and aromatic, and not blow your head off.

You will need: two eggs,
one onion,
aforementioned spices,
olive oil,
about half a mug of good-quality full fat natural yoghurt per person,
fresh herbs (parsley and mint is the knockout combo here, but basil is good too),
flaked salt and black pepper.

Start by chopping the herbs quite finely, mix into the yogurt with a bit of salt and set aside. Chop the onion into small cubes. If you have any handy, chop up some celery and add that, for a sweet and herbal undertone. Dice in some carrot as well and it’s a sofrito. Congratulations! You are now officially Fancy. Heat the olive oil in a small heavy-bottomed frying pan, and gently sauté the onion etc. for about ten minutes or so. Add your spices and shimmy around. When they start to release their aroma, crack in your eggs on top of the layer of onions and cook until the white is set and the yolks are your favourite point on the runny-gooey spectrum. Lever out onto a warm plate, dot with the herby yoghurt, season with salt and pepper and serve with your preferred accompaniment.