There are many schools of thought on the origin of the Scotch egg. Of the two most notable, the first claims it was invented by the London department store Fortnum & Mason in 1738 and the other claim is that it traveled from Persia to India with the Moghuls, where it is now known as nargisi kofta. In fact, a version of a kafta-encased egg appears in several volumes of Middle Eastern cookery books, including my upcoming cookbook. Anyone have any interesting historical information about the origins of the scotch egg?
Historical whispers aside, my idea of the perfect Scotch egg is a runny yolk and a crisp outer-fortification. Usually, Panko breadcrumbs would be used to create a crisp outer-layer but, what’s brilliant here is that the falafel mixture works to create that envious texture all on its own. The addition of ginger to the tahini is not at all traditional and quite unique in fact, but I find it really fits in with the tahini (tarator), which is traditionally paired with falafel. I really hope you’ll give this recipe a try, as I know you’ll enjoy this vegetarian version of the scotch egg as much as we do.
On another note, I’m thrilled with the positive response I’ve received regarding the Jewelled Kitchen cookbook cover. The design team over at DBP and I put a lot of time and effort into it. Also, a huge thanks to Lama Khatib Daniel -who’s also the talented artist behind my different website logo designs -for her input and support!
- 250g/9oz/ 1 heaping cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 2.5cm/1in piece root ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- (sea) salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tbsp verjuice
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- ½ green bell pepper, seeds removed
- 3 tbsp roughly chopped mint leaves
- 3 tbsp roughly chopped parsley leaves
- 3 tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tsp allspice
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 carrot, shredded
- Vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 7 medium eggs
- Sea salt and Freshly ground pepper
- Mixed leafy greens, to serve
- Cover chickpeas in plenty of water and soak for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, add tahini, ginger, garlic and a pinch of salt to a bowl and slowly pour in the verjuice, whisking quickly as you pour. Add about 3 tablespoons of water to thin out consistency and more if required. Cover and transfer to the fridge.
- Once the chickpeas have finished soaking, drain them and leave them to sit in a colander for a couple of hours to air dry and remove as much moisture as possible, shaking the colander every once in a while. Alternately, a faster approach would be to use a salad spinner, if available. Add the chickpeas, close with the cover and spin 2-3 times until water is removed. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, herbs and spices to a food processor and whiz for 1-2 minutes till a paste forms. Pass this paste through a mesh strainer to remove excess liquid then return to the food processor with the well strained chickpeas and whizz for a couple of minutes or until you achieve a rough paste; not too smooth or the batter will fall apart during cooking. The consistency of the paste should be grainy with a shade of pistachio green. Mix in the shredded carrot. Remove the tahini dressing and bring to room temperature.
- Fill a large pot with plenty of water, a generous pinch of sea salt and place on high heat. Add 6 of the eggs and bring to a gentle boil. Once the water reaches a boil, cook the eggs for 4-5 minutes for soft boiled eggs (this will vary depending on the size of your eggs, climate and elevation) or longer for desired consistency. Fill a large bowl with ice water and once the eggs have finished cooking, drain them immediately and transfer them into the ice water to shock them which also makes peeling their shells easier. Leave them to sit in the ice bath for about 10 minutes before peeling.
- Preheat the deep-fat fryer to 190C/375F. Season the falafel mixture with salt and pepper to taste and then add in the remaining egg and mix well to combine. The addition of the egg here will help the mixture bind better around the cooked eggs. If you're finding the mixture is too moist, stir in a pinch of breadcrumbs, flour or very fine burghul and test again. Flatten ⅙ of the falafel mixture into a very flat, thin patty. Gently enclose one of the peeled eggs in the falafel mixture making sure the entire egg is covered and the mixture is smooth. Dab your fingers in tiny amounts of water to help seal the mixture together, if you find it necessary. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Deep fry the eggs for 3 minutes till golden and crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel, serve them warm with the ginger and verjuice tahini. Serve with some mixed leafy greens, if you wish.