Mumbai Disco Fry Eggs

June 17, 2013

My boyfriend is the master of procrastination. To say he gets ‘easily distracted’ is like saying Keith Floyd was partial to the odd glass of wine on special occasions. Sometimes though his habit of poking about in the dark corners of the internet leads to the discovery of gems like this video of ‘disco fry eggs’. How he got there I do not know. I do not need to know.

The recipe is amazing. Oil is heated in a fiercely hot pan like a shallow wok, then green chillies are added and the aromatic bite of capsaicin rises. An egg is cracked onto the sizzling oil and smooshed around, before spices rain down from a hand out of shot. We had to identify them by eye – the pollen yellow hue of turmeric made it easy to spot, while the red and brown ones seemed most likely to be chilli powder and garam masala.

Then comes the best bit, as a bread roll is split and placed cut side down on top of the eggs, before the whole thing is squished down flat with a circular metal thing on a stick. I’ve no idea what this implement is, or once was, but it seems to serve its purpose here very well. We used the obvious substitute – a potato masher.

The whole eggy, bready mix is then flipped and squished, flipped and squished again. There is basically a huge amount of flipping and squishing. Once cooked, and very importantly, really properly squished, the pancake shaped mixture has developed lovely crisp bits around the edge, while there’s still soft, fluffy eggy bits inside. The spices have cooked out but are still boom! definitely there in refreshingly large quantities. At the end the whole thing is split in half and folded to serve.

We basically tried to follow the recipe as accurately as we could from the video, trying to move quickly and therefore making a right mess in the process. There is a pair of trousers which I fear will never recover from ‘turmeric-gate’.  The flipping provided some comedy moments. The end result was pretty special though. The only changes we made were to garnish it with coriander because that just made sense and some finely chopped spring onions because they go on everything in this house.

I shall not hesitate to claim that this is clearly the best hangover breakfast of all time that no-one seems to know about. It has eggy foundations, it contains chilli and spices, it’s a bit filthy, and there are laughs to be had whilst making it. The hangover boxes are ticked. The absolute best thing about this though is that I think the bread and the folding clearly qualifies the dish as a sandwich. An Indian eggy bread sandwich. Joy!

Mumbai Disco Fry Eggs Recipe

(serves 1)

One thing you don’t need to worry about is the mixture in the pan looking a mess. It will taste brilliant, I promise. Anyway, the messy edge bits give you the crispy bits of joy that you desire.

2 eggs
2 small soft round rolls, 1 large soft round roll, or 1 hot dog bun, split
3 green chillies, sliced (or more or less to taste)
Chilli powder
Garam masala
Fresh coriander
Finely sliced spring onions
Oil, for frying

Heat a frying pan or skillet over a medium high heat and add some oil (couple of tablespoons should do it). When hot, add half the chillies and fry briefly. Add the eggs and break them up a bit. Add the rest of the chillies, then sprinkle on a generous pinch each of chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt.

Put the split bun on top, drizzle over a little more oil, and add another dusting of all the spices. Use a potato masher or similar shaped implement to press down on the buns so they are smooshed into the egg. When it’s fairly flat, flip it over and squash down again. Flip again and squash, then flip again and squash. The final result should be flat as a pancake and crisping at the edges.

Cut the eggy pancake in half down the centre. Fold each half into a sandwich, put on a plate, sprinkle with coriander and spring onion, and serve.

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    Reply Kate June 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

    This reminds me a bit of Nigella’s recipe for ‘masala omelette’ in Nigella Bites, which also involves an omelette with chilli, coriander, cumin etc and eaten inside a chapatti – I v much like the idea of using a bread roll instead to make more of a sandwich of it!

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 10:30 am

      yeah it’s a bit like a masala omelette, but MUCH BETTER due to crispy egg bits and toasted bready bits

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    Reply Iain June 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Looks ‘kin amazing

    Only recently discovered that eggs scientifically proven to lessen hangover:

    Now the only problem is summoning up the energy to make this just at the low point of endevour.

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

      WHAT?! This is major *heads off to assess evidence*

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    Reply donald June 17, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Eggs scientifically proved to make EVERYTHING better? (I’m pretty certain I read that somewhere)

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 10:35 am


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    Reply Ivana June 17, 2013 at 10:37 am

    This reminds of something I ate at the Little Goat in Chicago but theirs consisted of eggs mashed up with bacon, pancakes and kimchi which was then served with an Asian style salad pictured here

    I’m going to have to give this version a go.

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 10:38 am

      Crikey check out that beast! I’ll take it without the bean sprouts…

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    Reply Alicia (foodycat) June 17, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Amazing. Masala omelette with bonus fried bread! What could be better?

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    Reply Sir Arthur June 17, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Looks a lot like Roti John to me.

    I used to live in Nassim Hill, Singapore. An old walk-up, colonial mansion block (with no air-con).
    Opposite was a street called Taman Serasi that led down to The Botanic Gardens. More importantly, it led to the Taman Serasi Food Centre – an open air hawker centre, evocative of old Malaya. So evocative in fact that the gov’t in 2002 chose to knock it down and re-route Cluny Road so you couldn’t tell it had ever even been there.

    Anyway in this food centre was a (the) Roti John man.
    Basically, in exchange for $2, the old Malay man would put a lump of butter in a hot pan; add onion, garlic, green chilis, scallions and a little ground mutton. He’d then drop two eggs on top, break them up and put a baguette cut lengthwise over the mixture. After a couple of minutes he’d pull off this browned greasy, rodgeringly hot Chili omelette sandwich, which he’d cut up and liberally cover with cheap chili ketchup.
    This was supposed to be a colonial hangover but for me in my early 20’s, it was heaven (hangover or not).

    I suspect the Gravy Lady would have shared my feelings…

    Sir A

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 11:09 am

      I researched roti john for my book and I think the difference is the addition of meat. I have a recipe for it in the book. Also I think baguette shaped buns more commonly used? Ah yes you said that. And then also as you say, finished with ketchup. I think this is a different thing but obviously there are similarities!

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 11:10 am

      also ‘rodgeringly hot’ did make me chuckle

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    Reply Deepa June 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I’ve got to make this!

    The name is also super.

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

      yeah… I think made up by the person doing the video but still…

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    Reply doledrumdiva June 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

    great thing about making your own is you’ll know how hot the chilli is – ate this in bombay many moons ago and could only manage one bite – made a right prat of myself on a busy streetcorner – even thinking about it makes my eyes water. your pix have made me hungry, tho

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Ha ha ha! Blimey if I ever go to India…I do truly fear the amount of chilli I would face. I think I have tolerance but I clearly don’t.

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    Reply Sir Arthur June 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    On the subject of “rodgeringly hot” and referring to Doledrumdiva’s tale of woe, it’s worth mentioning the Mee Goreng Stall in Taman Serasi.

    Open air, sweatingly hot and humid, concrete tables, plastic stools wailing cicadas. A huge Tamil man, who after taking your $2 would stir up a great wok of onions, chilli ketchup noodles eggs and others. He would then (every time) lean over, look you in the eye like a pirate, and brandish a huge green chili, like some terrifying totem, pointing at the sky. Every time I would flinchingly nod, to regret at my leisure later.

    In waxed brown paper, his mee was so hot and raw, your mouth would be still be burning hours later.

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Brilliant! Such a great story. Love the chilli brandishing.

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    Reply Lizzie June 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Why didn’t I know about this yesterday? Huh? huh? huh?

    It looks deeeelicious. It sounds very similar to a masala omelette, but all incorporated with bread to make it all sorts of awesome.

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      Life is cruel man! The only problem I have with a masala omelette is SO. MUCH. EGG.

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    Reply Selena June 17, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I’ve just got back from 7 months in India and watching the video made me a little nostalgic! I ate a lot of street food out there, including something similar to this and it was all amazing (and so incredibly cheap!). I think the brown seasoning is more likely to be chaat masala than garam masala. Have a look here
    I reckon you could get some in Tooting, maybe even in Khan’s

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      Fab, thanks! Yep, think I’ve seen this in Khan’s.

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    Reply Sally - my Custard Pie June 17, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Off to have a skinful to test. Brilliant

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Ha ha ah ha ha. Oh brilliant. I am driving people to drink now.

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    Reply Eileen June 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I’ve never heard of this before! It sounds amazing–spicy and fast and delicious. And who doesn’t need another quick egg breakfast for those not-so-amazing mornings after? 🙂

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      Reply Helen June 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Never enough egg dishes!

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    Reply Ed June 18, 2013 at 4:59 am

    In Mumbai atm, hungover and about to go search out for breakfast …

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      Reply Helen June 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

      Amazing! A man on the ground. Report back.

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    Reply Sheila June 18, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Get rid of turmeric stains by hanging items in sunshine. Washing doesn’t remove the stain but sunlight does.
    Love lots of your recipes Helen. Going to try your brown Caribbean chicken soon, sounds scrummy

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      Reply Helen June 18, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Oh brilliant! What an awesome tip. Thank you, I’m really glad you like the blog.

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    Reply Sharmila June 18, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Any Indian based egg dishes are a friend of mine, and this looks like it would be a very good friend indeed.

    On the subject of chaat masala, it’s also very easy to make, if you can get hold of some black salt. It also has a lot more of the pungency you would want vs. the store bought stuff.

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      Reply Helen June 18, 2013 at 9:18 am

      Great! I will try making my own. I presume black salt is easy to buy online…

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    Reply Pedro June 18, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Not sure if you saw Rick Stein’s India thing last night but he went to a street food place where they fried a paratha, cracked an egg over it, flipped it over to fry till the egg was cooked, then it was stuffed with spiced mutton and onions rolled up and devoured.

    I can’t get enough of eggs in Indian food.

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      Reply Helen June 18, 2013 at 10:55 am

      No I didn’t watch it – heard it’s not been very well received! That sounds ace though. I agree, can’t get enough.

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    Reply Lucy June 18, 2013 at 11:57 am

    NOM. Made your disco eggs this morning to aid a monster hangover after a heavy night out in.. er.. Camberwell.

    If you’re a bit clever, you can in fact work it so that the whole thing fits back inside the squashed fried bun like a sandwhich. Portable disco eggs!

    True story.


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      Reply Helen June 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Um yes, see last picture LUcy! HA ha ha…is someone hungover? 😉 I suppose it is rather hard to tell they are folded like a sandwich from the pic, especially with the garnish on top like that. I am SO glad I have helped to soothe a hangover!

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    Reply Lucy June 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Ooh I thought you’d cut it into a wedges, but I see now, the portable disco egg had already been discovered.


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      Reply Helen June 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      Ha ha ha well don’t do yourself a disservice. You should be commended for your mental agility whilst in a hungover state.

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    Reply Li June 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Helen,

    Thanks so much for posting this. We will give it a go on our camping stove and let you know how successful it is. We are currently cycling bamboo bikesfrom London to Sydney (having given up our London lives in Peckham) and always on the hunt for new recipes to spice up our repertoire. Your Shaksuka eggs were a foodie highlight for us in Hungary…now we’re to find garam masala in Serbia…how we miss Khans! Keep up the excellent work

    Li and Jules

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      Reply Helen June 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Bloody hell you two get about don’t you! Amazing. Good on ya. Let me know how you get on.

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    Reply Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) June 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    When I’m over my whole low-carb BS I’m going to try this. It does look like the perfect hangover meal!

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      Reply Helen June 19, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      My condolences

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    Reply Explody Full June 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    hahaha I loved your writing the description of the video is hilarious. I like how you tired to reproduce something from a video.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen June 22, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Really pleased you enjoyed it 🙂

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    Reply Hip Hop Shop June 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    oHHH, This looks amazing!!

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    Reply Helen June 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Do you mean, is it a hamburger bun? If so, then yes! A small one. You could use any small, soft bread for this.

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    Reply Lucy June 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve made this four times in five days.

    That’s a fairly good indicator of my alcohol consumption this week.

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      Reply Helen June 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Excellent! Drunkard.

      Only kidding.

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    Reply Lucy June 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    That may be the case but I am now THE MASTER of disco eggs. So my hangovers have not been in vain.

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      Reply Helen June 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      HA! Indeed you are, oh disco egg master. Long may you reign.

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    Reply Sir Arthur June 27, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Lucy – Perhaps you should open a licensed disco-egg stall. I’ll be first in the queue….
    Sir A

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen June 27, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Let’s get a Kickstarter going!

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    Reply Beth June 29, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Just made these – hangover not completely banished but definitely beating a retreat, maybe I need to make some more? Ketchup on the side goes a treat too. Cheers!

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      Reply Helen June 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      I wondered how long it would be before someone mentioned ketchup! I can imagine it works a treat. Yeah, have another round.

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      Reply Hayley c December 10, 2015 at 9:53 am

      No ketchup. It’s a banned substance in my household and putting it on my eggs would make me hurl. But Siracha I’ll allow.

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    Reply Erstwhile Camberwell Gal July 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Funny, you come back from a couple of weeks work in Delhi and two Indian pavement-fried-egg-drool making things have landed up in your feed reader at once…

    What you have there is a fine purveyor of Bread Omlettes, although pretty heavy on the masalas he’s adding – can’t be doing too much for his bottom line! Your post of course makes me shamefully hungry, and sorry I didn’t bring back some of the spicy tomato ketchup with me (you can get a good Malaysian version in Oli Food Stores on the Walworth Road btw. I miss Oli Food Stores).

    The ‘Delhi Wallah’ aka the pseudonymed Mayank Austen Soofi has an excellent post of one Mr Salim Khan, fryer of eggs (with green chutni no less!) on KG Marg, feeding hungry journos and passing trade on the street.

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      Reply Helen July 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      BRILLIANT! Someone has identified the true name of the egg dish! Total legend. Thank you! Will check out that link.

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    Reply Steve February 11, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Wow – These Eggs were amazing

    We also added a red onion at the start and found that a mini Stottie ( worked brilliantly as the bread part!

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    Reply LOUISE VAN DER MAREL August 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    thank you so much.
    I have looked at this film a zillion times, to find out what spices etc. the guy used.
    well. forget it, that was impossible.
    I made it once, with I thought were the right ingredients.
    it was ok, but I missed something and didn’t know what.
    tomorrow buying my chillies and start making it again.
    give your friend a hug from me.
    Louise van der Marel

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    Reply Hayley c December 10, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Possibly my discovery of the year thanks very much. However I’m not sure it’s chilli powder- I’ve substituted cayenne and paprika and prefer it. Likewise I think it could be garam or cumin so I use a pinch of both. It may be inauthentic but a handful of cheddar goes down like a storm. Disco eggs rock.

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      Reply Helen December 10, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Nowt wrong with a bit of cheddar! In fact I might try it.

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        Reply Hayley c December 10, 2015 at 10:47 am

        I’ve just made this (again) with two slices of good (ie eye wateringly expensive) bread from my local, seasonal, organic, hand-made yuppie deli and towards the end I had a revelation. Stack the slices up, fry another egg in the remaining spicy oily juices in the pan, place said egg in between disco egg slices and you have the ULTIMATE DISCO FRIED EGG SANDWICH. OK so the name needs work but I was very happy. Need to have a little lie down now.

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    Reply Kalpana October 28, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Hello ! Looks healthy and delicious . Great idea recipe mumbai disco fry eggs you have shared with us . Can’t wait to make it . Thanks for sharing 🙂

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