Eggs Kejriwal is one of my brunch go-to’s. A fancy-looking, but simple dish of fried egg on chili cheese toast made famous in Mumbai social club circuits. Legend has it that it was developed in the 1960’s specifically for a Mr. Kejriwal at Willingdon Sports Club. Some even suggest that the original design of this dish may have been an effort to hide its egginess from his critical public since Mr. K was a professed lacto-vegetarian.
The version I made here is the love-child of Tejal Rao’s NYT Cooking recipe and a recipe from Dishoom‘s cookery book (transportive and truly worth the hard copy purchase). I liked the inclusion of mustard, minced red onions, and cilantro in Rao’s recipe and scallions and mature English cheddar in Dishoom’s recipe, so I (essentially) just put them all together. Within the framework of toast, chili, herbs, and cheese, topped with a runny egg, I think Eggs Kejriwal lends itself to interpretation. So have some fun!
For basic ingredients, you’ll need slices of good bread, chili, herbs, cheese, eggs, oil or butter, and salt and pepper. Alliums (onions, garlic, shallots, etc.) and mustard are optional. Beyond that is your heart’s desire! Process and tips for making your own version, including notes on what I did here:
- Mix together the chili, cheese, herbs, and alliums (if using), and set aside. I used a combo of grated mature white English cheddar (so tangy!), thinly sliced serrano chilis, minced red onions, and cilantro leaves. But, feel free to use a melting cheese of your choice. I think any cheddar gets close. If you’re chili-sensitive, I’d highly recommend reducing the amount of chili suggested in the recipes, deseeding the chilis, and/or using a milder green chili like jalapeño or Anaheim. It was hot, even for me. But you’re going to need some!
- Pan-toast the bread. I pan-toasted the slices of bread on both sides with a little butter. As for the bread itself, I’d suggest just getting good-quality bread that will stand up to the toppings. Many recipes call for white bread, but I rarely have that at home. I experimented with two breads, a good-quality, multigrain Pullman-style loaf from a local grocery store and Bub & Grandma’s Sesame Loaf. I had a slight preference for the Pullman-style loaf, as it was easier to cut through or pick up for a bite (the crustier Sesame loaf definitely required a knife and fork, and was chewier, but still super tasty). With easier grocery access, I might try the white Pullman loaf suggested in Rao’s recipe or brioche next time.
- Place the toasts on a sheet pan and fire up the broiler. This is the moment right here when you realize you can mass-produce this very fancy-looking brunch for a post-COVID crowd. Dreams.
- Spread a thin layer of mustard on the toasts (if using). I used Dijon mustard. And I actually used way too much on one of the toasts and experienced some striking wasabi-style nose burn and yes, still kept eating. So thin, people. Keep it thin.
- Spread the cheese mixture on top of the mustard layer. Enough to fully cover the toast.
- Broil the toasts in the oven until the cheese is bubbling. Keep an eye on this; the process happens faster than you think!
- Fry up the eggs while the toasts are broiling. One per toast. Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. A 10″ skillet can handle two eggs. And though it’s an extra step, it does help to put the egg in a bowl before gently transferring to the pan rather than cracking straight into the pan. That will help the yolk and white stay nice and cozy, instead of the white spreading like the sea in the pan.
- Plate the toasts. Sure, you could slide the eggs onto the toasts in the sheet pan itself, but I’d recommend plating the toasts first. Hot sheet pan is no friend of anyone’s in case you run into it while sliding the eggs onto multiple toasts. And you’re less likely to break the yolks since you’ll only be moving them once from the pan onto the toast in the plate.
- Slide one fried egg onto each plated toast, & season each egg with salt and a tiny crack of pepper. I used a little crunchy Maldon sea salt and Aranya Peppercorns from Diaspora Co.
- Garnish. I used a little thinly sliced onion stalk and cilantro leaves. Yeah, you probably only need one leafy thing to garnish. But I’m always a little “extra and I like it” in this department.
Et Voilà! Enjoy!