Mayai Maani

This casserole is as ubiquitous in Indian East African homes it gets. Although the dish didn’t make it in the final version of Accidentally Engaged, I imagine this is something that both Reena and Nadim would have grown up eating. A dry curry of ground beef and potatoes is topped with eggs, then baked in the oven until the eggs are set. Served with fresh maani or rotli (chapatti), the finished dish is a bit like huevos rancheros with an Indian twist. It’s a family favorite around here.

1 lb lean ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

½ tsp grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground coriander powder

1 tsp ground cumin powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

4 tbsp tomato paste

2-3 potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes

1 cup water

6 eggs

3 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, cook the beef and onions together, stirring constantly to break up beef. Cook until beef is no longer pink, and the onions are tender.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and cook one minute, stirring.
  4. Add turmeric, Kashmiri chili, coriander, cumin, garam masala and salt. Stir, and cook one minute.
  5. Stir in tomato paste. Cook 2 minutes.
  6. Add potatoes and water. Sir. Increase heat until it boils.
  7. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes until potatoes are just cooked.
  8. Transfer beef and potato mixture to a casserole dish. Smooth top.
  9. Crack six eggs evenly spaced over the dish.
  10. Bake 20 minutes or until eggs are set to desired doneness.
  11. Top with cilantro, and serve with fresh maani (Indian flatbread) or soft bread.

Maani (chapatti, rotli)

2 cups durum atta flour (or substitute whole wheat flour)

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp vegetable oil

¾ -1¼ cup warm water

Extra atta flour for rolling out

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Add 2 tbsp oil, and rub between fingers until it looks like a coarse meal and holds together when squeezed in hand.
  3. Drizzle warm water over it, a little at a time, and mix by hand until a soft dough is formed. It should be quite soft and pliable and a little sticky.
  4. Knead dough for about five minutes until no longer sticky. Add more flour if necessary, but dough should be soft.
  5. Form into a ball and cover. Rest at least 10-30 minutes.
  6. Knead dough briefly again and divide into 8 equal balls.
  7. Coat one ball completely in flour, and roll in plenty of flour to prevent sticking. Roll thin with a rolling pin to a 7-to-8-inch circle.
  8. Place rolled maani on a dry pan heated on medium. Cook about one minute until you see small bubbles on surface. Flip and brush with oil/ghee. It should start ballooning up at this point. Press with spatula to encourage layers. Flip again.
  9. Keep cooking, flipping often and pressing the bubbles and edges with the spatula until cooked through, with dark spots on both sides. Keep in covered container to prevent drying out.
  10. Repeat with remaining dough balls.