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The Egg Dish You Need to Make Right Now

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A Good Appetite

A fragrant mash-up of shakshuka, eggs in purgatory and egg curry, this easy one-pan recipe can be made with pantry ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Melissa Clark loves a runny-yolked pantry recipe.

Poaching eggs in a simmering tomato sauce is a classic path to a quick, meatless meal. Be it an oniony shakshuka or chile-flecked eggs in purgatory, the mix of tangy-sweet tomatoes swirled with runny egg yolk is a perennial crowd-pleaser, as welcome on the table for a steamy Easter brunch as it is for a cozy dinner on any chilly evening.

Recipe: Skillet Eggs With Garam Masala and Tomatoes

My latest take on this saucy combination was born on one of those blustery nights, when the idea of adding warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric to the tomatoes struck me as self-care. I sensed that the aromatherapy alone could help soothe my frazzled nerves.

As I pulled out the spice tins, their combination reminded me of Julie Sahni’s ande ki kari (egg curry), which I adapted for this column a few years ago. In her traditional recipe, the eggs are hard-cooked and peeled in advance, then warmed in a fragrant tomato base spiked with fresh ginger and garam masala.

There are myriad versions of egg curry across India, just as there are endless variations on eggs in purgatory and shakshuka. The more forgiving the recipe, the easier it is to adapt it and make it your own. And tomato-laced skillet eggs are as forgiving as they come.

So, for my dinner on that cold and hectic night, I cherry-picked elements of each egg dish to suit myself. I kept the warm spices of the curry, and borrowed the olive oil, canned tomatoes and poached eggs from shakshuka and eggs in purgatory. The elements melded perfectly, making for a heady, aromatic meal with runny eggs that flowed richly onto my toast (though rice would have worked just as well).

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One note about those canned tomatoes: Although any kind will work, canned cherry tomatoes are my favorite here, giving the dish a particularly sweet flavor and chunky texture. But use what you have: Diced, plum, even crushed or puréed tomatoes are welcome in the pan. Or, if you’re making this in tomato season, substitute chopped fresh tomatoes, making sure to cook them a few minutes longer so they break down.

As quickly as this sauce comes together, you can still make it a few days ahead. Just bring it to a simmer before cracking in the eggs. This turns a fast meal into an instant one, and a comforting dish into a downright cheering one.

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Melissa Clark has been writing her column, A Good Appetite, for The Times’s Food section since 2007. She creates recipes for New York Times Cooking, makes videos and reports on food trends. She is the author of 45 cookbooks, and counting. More about Melissa Clark

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