Kitchn Love Letters

I Tried Yotam Ottolenghi’s Fried Boiled Eggs in Chili Sauce, and It Is Absolutely Magical

published May 12, 2022
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Credit: Karishma Pradhan

I’m a huge fan of punchy, flavor-packed meals, so naturally I keep a close tab on the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen’s delicious cooking exploits. Yotam Ottolenghi’s iconic recipes burst with spice, acidity, and complexity. Hence, when I stumbled across his recipe for fried boiled eggs in chili sauce, I was intrigued.

The dish features boiled eggs fried in a cornstarch coating and served in a spicy sauce garnished with fresh herbs. Reading through the recipe, I immediately thought of my mom’s spicy Indian egg curry: a pot of boiled eggs simmering in a spicy tomato gravy. I wondered if egg curry (or egg fry, a dry-fried variation) served as the inspiration for this recipe. Regardless, I knew I had to try the dish to find out!

How to Make Yotam Ottolenghi’s Fried Boiled Eggs in Chili Sauce

This recipe involves a few different components: boiling the eggs, frying the eggs, and preparing the sauce. First, you bring a pot of water to boil, then lower the heat and gently add the eggs. Cook the eggs for six minutes, then run them under cold water and peel them. Next, coat the eggs in a cornstarch and salt mixture, and fry them in hot oil until golden-brown. Finally, make the sauce by frying onions until golden-brown. Add caraway, cumin, tomato paste, and garlic, then simmer with ancho chili (and its liquid) and pul biber (Aleppo pepper). Let the sauce turn a deep, rich red hue before coating the eggs. Garnish with pickled chilies, scallions, and cilantro.

Credit: Karishma Pradhan

My Honest Review of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Fried Boiled Eggs in Chili Sauce

I had some tortillas on hand, so I grilled them for serving. I scooped up a tortilla with a bit of egg and the beautiful red-stained sauce and took a bite. I am happy to report this breakfast is magical. I picked up hints of acidity and spice like with my mom’s egg curry, but the sauce was thicker and sweeter. A large ratio of onions in the sauce provides a nice sweetness; the mix of chilies offers a moderate heat without feeling overpowering; caraway and cumin’s earthy flavors help round out the dish; the herbs brighten everything. 

The recipe did require some prep, from toasting and crushing spices to rehydrating the ancho chili in water. On its own, that would be very manageable, but with the number of other components required to execute the dish, it could feel daunting. 

A Few Tips If You Make Ottolenghi’s Fried Boiled Eggs in Chili Sauce

  1. Prepare your mise en place: This recipe significantly benefits from a workspace organized with all of your ingredients measured and prepped ahead of time. 
  2. Tag team: If possible, tag a friend, partner, or family member to help make this recipe with you. It will save time and smooth out any road bumps along the way!
  3. Keep a safe distance when frying the eggs: As noted in the recipe, the eggs may split and splatter when frying. A few minutes into frying, I noted a large splatter as I turned an egg. Make sure to keep a safe distance from the stove, and place a splatter shield on top of the pan if you have one. 
  4. Or, speed up the recipe and skip the frying. Eggs are naturally slippery, so the cornstarch coating helps the sauce cling to the egg better. But I recently came across a faster alternative. Kumar Nachiket, who runs the Instagram account @thatindiancurry, recently posted a video of a South Indian egg fry where he slits the eggs slightly to allow the sauce to seep in. 
  5. For a make-ahead brunch, prep the components separately. You can prepare the sauce the day before, then boil and fry the eggs in the reheated sauce just before serving. Warm crusty bread, tortillas, or pita are all great vehicles for scooping up sauce. For a full spread, pair the dish with a cooling element, such as labneh, and a fresh salad.