Are eggs vegetarian or non-vegetarian? The debate was in the news again when Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan declared a ban on eggs from mid-day meals at government schools. It has been argued that this is unadvisable, as eggs are one of the cheapest sources of protein.
Even the Indian judiciary has weighed in on whether eggs are vegetarian. A Supreme Court bench of Justices Shivaraj V. Patil and DM Dharmadhikari noted that strict vegetarians did not eat eggs. The judgement can be accessed here.
What might surprise some people is that Mahatma Gandhi, a staunch promoter of vegetarianism, did not consider eggs to be non-vegetarian. In a speech that Gandhi gave to the London Vegetarian Society, he said, “A sterile egg never develops into a chick. Therefore, he who can take milk should have no objection to taking sterile eggs.” This speech, titled The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism, was later published as book, the PDF of which can be found here.
Vegetarian or not, eggs have been part of several cuisines in India. The Moplah cuisine from south-Indian cuisine features some great egg preparations. It also has a unique method of cooking eggs where the white and yolk are cooked separately.
Another community that is known for its love for eggs are the Parsis. Kurush Dalal, a popular Parsi caterer in Mumbai, passionately rattles out names of Parsi egg dishes – bheeda par eedu, papeta par eedu, taameta par eedu and even parwal par eedu, which, he adds (light-heartedly), are a way of stuffing vegetables down Parsi throats.
And while we’re talking about egg dishes that originate in India, we must mention the Eggs Kejirwal. Its history goes back a few decades when Debi Prasad Kejriwal invented this dish at The Willingdon Sports Club in Mumbai.
We got Sandeep Sonawane, the head chef at Jamjar Diner, a popular restaurant in Mumbai to share their recipe.
– 2 slices of multigrain breads
– 4 eggs
– 40 gm cheddar cheese
– Chopped green chilies as per taste
– Salt and Pepper to taste
– Toast the bread slices lightly, till they are slightly firm.
– Add a layer of cheddar cheese on the toast and cook it in the oven for a a few minutes till the cheese has melted evenly on the bread.
– Set the toasted bread aside, fry the eggs (two for each slice) and fold them over to fit onto the toast.
– Season with salt, black pepper and top with freshly chopped green chilies.
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