Long before the name Kejriwal became inseparable from the Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi's current chief minister, it was linked to a certain mouth-watering chilli cheese and fried egg sandwich, revered by Mumbai's food lovers. Like all iconic dishes, Eggs Kejriwal has a captivating story behind it.
As the legend goes, it was invented by a Mumbai-based Marwari businessman named Devi Prasad Kejriwal in the 1960s. His family was strictly vegetarian, but Devi Prasad was fond of eggs. Since he couldn't eat them at home, he ordered them at his favourite clubs in south Bombay. His favourite dish comprised a toast topped with fried egg, chopped green chillies and melted Amul cheese that disguised the egg.
The item grew so popular that it became a mainstay at clubs such as the Willingdon Sports Club and the Cricket Club of India. More recently, Eggs Kejriwal has been introduced in popular Mumbai restaurants such as The Bombay Canteen, Theobroma, The Nutcracker, Jamjar Diner and SodaBottleOpenerwala, even travelling outside India to eateries in London and New York City.
"It is spicy, cheesy and really comforting," says Thomas Zacharias, executive chef at Mumbai's acclaimed restaurant, The Bombay Canteen. "It is hard not to like it."
"It is spicy, cheesy and really comforting. It is hard not to like it."
Now, a version of the iconic dish served at the New York restaurant, Paowalla, has been shortlisted among the top ten dishes in the city by the New York Times food critic Pete Wells. "It's a fried egg on toast under melted Cheddar that stands out from all others because of a throat-catching green chutney that has a glossy underpinning of coconut oil," Wells wrote in the New York Times.
Mumbai-born chef Floyd Cardoz, who owns Paowalla, first introduced the dish in his restaurant, The Bombay Canteen in 2014. Here, the restaurant's executive chef Thomas Zacharias tweaked a quintessential Mumbai dish with regional flavours, by serving it with a in-house pao and a chutney made of green chilli and coconut oil, that he'd grown up eating in his home state of Kerala. Though the Kejriwal Toast wasn't on the original menu, it is now the most-ordered dish at the Bombay Canteen.
"It has a lot of contrasts — the dish is warm and the chutney is cold, the bread is crispy and contrasts with the creaminess of the egg yolk, cheese and chutney," Zacharias said.
"It's a very homely dish that everyone can connect with because everyone ate cheese chilli toast growing up."
Its popularity prompted Cardoz to introduce Egg Kejriwal at his New York City restaurant, Paowalla, in 2016, where it has been again adapted to the local palate. The eggs are cooked in a wood-fired oven for a smoky flavour, with Chedddar cheese and fresh Serrano chillies, and served on a French brioche bread instead of toast.
"It's a very homely dish that everyone can connect with because everyone ate cheese chilli toast growing up or in the US, a grilled cheese sandwich," Cardoz told the Times of India.
If you want to make eggs Kejriwal at home, here's a recipe from Saransh Golia.