Who gives these hens a bath?

A bemused ten-year old sits staring at cage after cage of hens ranged around a huge yard… the hens are all superbly white and the thought crosses my mind… “Aunty, who gives the hens a bath everyday? They’re so white?” I ask! Aunty, my friend Neeroo’s mother, takes a minute to react – she probably can’t believe what she’s just been asked… and then great peals of laughter ring out, startling the hens – probably affected the number of eggs they laid that day! She’s never let me forget it – even four decades later!

It was my first time on a poultry farm – my friend’s parents owned one and she’d invited us over for a birthday party. Now I knew that hens laid eggs but nothing of poultry beyond that! The entry to the poultry farm is always a bit of a shock – the smell is overpowering and rather sick-making. A few minutes into it and you don’t even notice the smell any more.

A visit to Neeroo’s poultry farm was always a treat because there was no end to the amount of eggs one could eat – omelette after omelette disappeared down our throats – a healthier birthday party option than the chips and Coke that became standard birthday party fare later on.

Being the daughter of a very nutrition conscious doc and the niece of a nutritionist, I am very conscious of what we make and eat. Birthday parties never involve Coke and Pepsi – rather, it’s always a fresh juice – watermelon or orange and aloo tikkis rather than chips. And eggs wherever I could!

And while on the subject, BBC has just broken news that 19 officials in Cuba have been accused of stealing… get this – eight million eggs! Now I know that egg lovers can be forgiven much  – after all, i am one myself 😉 – but eight million? That is 4,21,000 eggs per head! Taking an average age of these egg-loving officials to be forty and a life expectancy of thirty years more for each of them, they would have 1,40,350 eggs each to look forward to – 4,700 eggs per head per year – or thirteen eggs a day! All this assuming that the eggs will last forever! Well, loving eggs is one thing but a baker’s dozen everyday is a bit much!

And so, today we make… what else – an egg curry! But a very different one from Andhra – with milk!


  • 5-6 eggs
  • Onions – 3 large – very finely sliced
  • Green chilies – 4-5 chopped
  • Curry leaves – 2-3 sprigs
  • Jeera/cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil  2 tsp
  • Milk – 4-5 cups

Heat the oil in a flat bottomed pan and add the jeera. When it splutters, add the green chilis, onions and curry leaves. Fry till golden yellow. Lower the flame and add milk. Mix well and let the mixture come to the boil. Break the eggs one by one, gently into the gravy. Cover and let cook till set 8-10 minutes.

Easy peasy and yummy – maybe this is what those Cuban officials were stealing the eggs for!

Pics for the paste few weeks courtesy internet – mostly – still not well enough to cook!