I first tasted this dish in the mid ‘90s at Middle Eastern restaurant Fez in Darlinghurst, and it became my go-to breakfast dish. Years later I discovered that it’s the long slow cooking that gives hamin eggs their creamy texture and brown onion skins that add the beautiful colour. In Israel these eggs are called haminados as they’re cooked over the Shabbat stew (chamin) and I gather that’s where their name comes from. Hamin eggs are popular throughout the wider Middle East however, including Tunisia where tea leaves or coffee grounds are also used to colour them. They’re best eaten warm, spread onto bread and also make a delicious topping for ful medames.
Serves 6 as an entrée or breakfast
- 20-30g brown onion outer skins
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt flakes
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Pita Crisps or fresh flatbread, for serving
Find an obliging greengrocer to save the onion skins for you (you could cook a dozen eggs with 20-30g of skins).
- Place onion skins in a large saucepan, add eggs and fill with cold water.
- Bring to the boil, reduce heat to lowest setting, cover and simmer for 6-12 hours, the longer the better, overnight is perfect if you’re sure the heat is low enough that it won’t boil dry. Check them occasionally to ensure they’re always submerged, pouring a thin layer of oil on the water helps ensure this.
- Meanwhile, crush salt and cumin seeds together and set aside.
- Drain eggs, peel and serve warm with cumin salt on the side and Pita Crisps or flatbread to spread them on.