Mumbai Disco Fry Eggs

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 (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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59 thoughts on “Mumbai Disco Fry Eggs

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. I’ve made this four times in five days.

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

  5. 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

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


  7. 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.


    1. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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? :)

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    1. 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.

  16. 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

    1. 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!

  17. 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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