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Guest recipes with Serene Tharian

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Traditional Kerala Egg Stew (Mutta Ishtew)

Let me introduce you to the humblest and tastiest of curries, made with boiled eggs.

The thick yolk of boiled eggs combined with the spicy and buttery coconut flavours of this curry is always a winner. This Egg Stew or Mutta Ishtew (Mutta is egg in Malayalam, the language of Kerala, Ishtew is how stew is pronounced in Kerala) is a spicy egg curry made in Kerala, usually for breakfast and eaten with our fermented rice breads or pancakes. Using coconut oil for cooking really brings the taste of Kerala to it.

The toasted onions and cashews add an extra crunch and flavour to the stew. A pinch of pepper sprinkled on the top flavours the stew so well. I suggest not skipping this step. Rest the curry for a half hour and the gravy will thicken.

6 hard boiled eggs (sliced in half)

4 cardamom sticks

4 cloves

1 big piece cinnamon

1/2 tsp whole black pepper

1/2 tsp Fennel seeds

1 Bay leaf

2 sprigs of curry leaves

5 tbsp coconut oil

Salt to taste

1 & 1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)

2 large onions (sliced)

1 tbsp fresh ginger garlic paste

2-3 green chillis (slit lengthwise, optional)

1 medium carrot (cubed)

1 medium potato (cubed)

1/2 cup green peas (I used frozen)

1 tin thick coconut milk

1/2 cup coconut milk

10 cashew nuts toasted in butter

1 small onion (sliced thin, toasted till brown in a little butter)

A pinch of powdered black pepper

3 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped


Warm the coconut oil in a pan, Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, whole black pepper and fennel seeds and bay leaf. Fry for a minute on low fire. When fragrant, add sliced onion and cook till it becomes light brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and green chilli. Cook for 2-3 mins, or till the raw smell goes. Add the coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric powder. Stir till blended and cook on low fire for 5 minutes.

Add cubed potato, carrot and green peas. Mix well. Add 1/2 tea cup water to this mixture, close and cook till all the smells and flavours are blended well. Add the salt. The mixture should be slightly thickened after the water evaporates.

Add the 1/2 tin thick coconut milk. Bring it to a simmer stirring well. Reduce flame to lowest, cover and cook for 12-15 mins, stirring often, till the veggies are done. Add the remaining coconut milk. Stir well.

Add boiled and sliced eggs. Continue to cook on low flame for 5-6 mins. Switch off the gas.

Add the toasted sliced onions, and the toasted cashews. Garnish with the coriander leaves and add the pinch of pepper.


Serene runs amateur cooking club The Best Exotic Kerala Kitchen, where cooking lessons are held for friends and family. Tel: 99 222462

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