The Scotch Egg, originally called Nargisi Kabab or Kofta goes back hundreds of years to the Mogul Empire of India. Although the London department store, Fortnum & Mason, claims to have invented Scotch eggs in 1738, clearly the inspiration came from the Mughlai dish Nargisi Kabab, which the British must have encountered as they claimed British Raj upon India. Furthermore, every Scottish cook book containing traditional dishes includes a recipe for Scotch Eggs, making them Scottish rather than English. They were in essence a poor man’s lunch, made from left-over meat and eggs, quite handy because they were so easily transported.
In India, Pakistan and Bangladesh there is a significant difference between a Kabab and a Kofta. When a Kofta, the whole thing is served in a gravy, whereas the Kabab is served as is. Therefore, in the case of a Scotch Egg, it would originate from the Nargisi Kabab. The Mughlai dish consists of a hardboiled egg that is wrapped in a spicy ground beef mixture and then breaded and fried. In the United Kingdom it has been transformed into boiled eggs wrapped with a seasoned sausage meat, then breaded and fried.
This common picnic food in the United Kingdom, is pub food in many “British-style” pubs and eateries across the United States. It has now become a Gastro-Pub sensation, and Scotch Eggs in the US are usually served hot with dipping sauces such as ranch dressing, hot sauce, or hot mustard sauce. The proper Scotch Egg in the UK may be served with some lovely cheese and pickles.
I think Scotch Eggs make a wonderful variation to the typical devilled eggs for a holiday party. Better yet, the original Mughlai version of Nargisi Kabab adds a little heat to the holiday table, which is perfect for cold weather. Today, I’m showing you how to make Scotch Eggs the very original way with ground beef and Indian spices to give our taste palates a bit of a kick.
Nargisi Kabab – Original Indian Scotch Eggs
2 lbs. ground beef or lamb
8 hardboiled eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 green chilies pared
2 teaspoon ginger powder
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 quart oil for deep frying
Combine bay leaves, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, green chilies and cumin seeds in a bowl and set aside.
In a frying pan heat oil, fry the onions until golden brown. Remove from the pan, strain oil and set aside.
To the same pan add the mixed spices into the remaining oil, fry over very low heat for 3 minutes. Drain spices from the oil and grind the mixed spices and fried onions together.
In a large bowl combine the onion and spice mixture with the rest of the spices and add the meat. Mix well.
Divide the meat into eight equal parts. Mold each part around one of the hard-cooked eggs, rolling between your hands to shape.
Place the beaten egg and bread crumbs into separate dishes. Dip the balls into the egg, then roll in the bread crumbs until coated. Shake off any excess.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or deep fryer to 365 degrees F. Lower the eggs carefully into the hot oil. Fry for 5 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
Serving suggestion: For a large party, cut the eggs in half and serve warm with lemon and lime wedges.