The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy that you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where we talk you through the dishes and drinks we can make with our eyes closed.
It all began with a love affair. A love affair with eggs, that is now the stuff of urban legend.
After gaining independence in 1947, India grappled with its identity in the decades that followed. It was no longer a British colony, and after the painful years of foreign rule, Indian citizens wrestled with what it meant to truly be Indian. For Devi Prasad Kejriwal, a rich merchant in Bombay, this conundrum manifested itself on his plate.
Kejriwal’s love for eggs was unparalleled, but like some practitioners of Hinduism, his family did not eat eggs. His only salvation was the opportunity to devour a plate outside of his home, as long as prying eyes were kept at bay. A regular at Bombay’s Raj-era Willingdon Sports Club, Kejriwal once ordered a plate of eggs and toast and asked the kitchen to disguise the dish, lest he was spotted by a familiar face.
The wise kitchen staff sent out two toasts piled high with melty cheese and green chiles, hiding the illicit eggs underneath. The result was the brilliantly simple Eggs Kejriwal, a dish that became so popular at the club that it lives on today.
In the past decade, the Kejriwal has experienced something of a renaissance, brought back to popular imagination by the hip Mumbai restaurant the Bombay Canteen. They swapped out regular white bread for buttery brioche buns and added a zingy green chutney. Incidentally, their introduction of the dish on the menu coincided with Arvind Kejriwal (no relation to Devi Prasad Kejriwal), the current chief minister of Delhi, settling into office, giving Eggs Kejriwal a new lease on life.
While I can’t recreate the Bombay Canteen’s souped-up version at home, I have made the OG countless times in my kitchen. It’s a regular rotation weeknight meal that asks very little of my pantry. Plus: It’s zero fuss and relatively mess-free. I enjoy a plate of Kejriwal as a quick dinner, dressed up with fancy-ish cheese, and even serve it as a grab-while-you-drink snack for guests. It’s always a surefire hit.
Here’s how to make Eggs Kejriwal:
Turn on your broiler and set the oven rack a few inches below the heating element. Thinly slice ½ serrano or jalapeño into rounds. Melt a knob of butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. I use salted butter but unsalted is just fine. Slide in 1 slice bread, quickly flipping it so both sides get a slick of butter. Soft, white sandwich bread is my preferred medium. Whole wheat or sourdough work, too, but anything too seedy or crusty will mess with the vibe. Toast the bread, flipping once or twice, until it’s a pale brown on both sides. Turn off the heat and move the bread to a broiler-safe tray.
Top the toast with a handful of shredded cheese, distributing it evenly from edge to edge—an ounce of cheese makes the lightest covering but no one ever complains about more, so pile it on. Cheddar, pepper Jack, Fontina, Gouda, or provolone are all excellent. Run the cheese-topped toast under the broiler until melted and blistered in spots. Top with a few slices of your chosen chile.
Heat another knob of butter in the skillet over medium. Crack 1 large egg into the sizzling fat. Season with salt and black pepper. Use your spatula to pop the yolk so it runs into the white and you have a swirly sort-of omelet. (Many prefer this dish with a sunny-side up, but I usually scarf it down while catching up on my binge-watch list, so I like the non-drip convenience of an omelet.) Flip and continue cooking until the egg is set, then transfer it to the cheesy toast. Top with more sliced chile, adding as much as you dare. You can cut the whole thing into smaller squares, go at it with a knife and fork, or simply take big bites while watching your favorite show.
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