Complex yet delicate flavour of garam masala.

This traditional Indian spice mix is often used to add fresh spicy flavours to a dish at the end of cooking and, provided you start with a good-quality blend that is well within its use-by date, it needs little more than a touch of heat to bring it alive. Combined with butter, it makes a gorgeous dressing for broccoli and eggs.

Serves 2 

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

  •  About 250g purple sprouting broccoli, woody ends removed

  •  50g butter

  •  1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  •  1 garlic clove, grated or very finely chopped 

  •  2 teaspoons garam masala

  •  Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil. Add the eggs, return to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes. Immediately drain and hold the pan of eggs under cold running water. This stops the eggs cooking at the right point: the yolks should still be a little soft when you cut into them. Carefully peel the eggs (under a trickle of cold tap water is easiest) and set them aside.

You can either steam or boil the purple sprouting broccoli. I like to steam it as it retains a little more of its fantastic colour this way and the delicate florets are less likely to get waterlogged. Either way, cook the broccoli for 2–6 minutes until just tender (just-picked home grown spears will only take a couple of minutes, shop-bought ones a little longer). Drain if necessary.

Melt the butter with the extra virgin olive oil in a small pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, then the garam masala. Turn the heat down low and gently cook the spicy butter for 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Put the broccoli on a large warm plate or individual plates. Halve the boiled eggs and place on the broccoli. Dress the eggs and broccoli with the warm, fragrant butter. Season with a little more salt and pepper and serve.

This recipe features in “Hugh’s Three Good Things”, published by Bloomsbury Publishing plc, and available from rivercottage.net.