Mother’s “Italian” Eggs

Deviled eggs are one of my favorite warm-weather foods. They are perfect around Easter, Mother’s Day, and at tea parties, park picnics, and cocktails on the porch.

One of my favorite cookbooks is titled My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking, coincidentally another James Beard award winner. In its pages I learned that deviled eggs are also a Parsi hors d’oeuvre—and the tastiest deviled egg recipe I’ve followed. Here’s the recipe by its extraordinary author, Niloufer Ichaporia King, who points out that although the recipe is Gujarati-Parsi, her mother referred to them as “Italian Eggs.” I guess that when something’s this good, it belongs to all the mothers.

Adapted from My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking, copyright Niloufer Ichaporia King and University of California Press, 2007

deviled eggs


6 large eggs, hardboiled 12 minutes and cooled in a bowl of ice water
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
2 or more green chiles, finely chopped
1 tablespoon or more fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves
1 tablespoon or more of honey
Salt to taste
Whole small coriander leaves, and/or diagonally cut slivers of fresh red or green chile, for garnish.


Peel the eggs and halve them lengthwise.

Scoop out the yolks and put in a medium bowl. Mash and cream the yolks with the mayonnaise, butter, chopped chiles, lime juice, chopped cilantro leaves. Try adding 1 tablespoon of honey to start, and salt to taste. You want the mixture to be assertive, so don’t be timid with adding to the sweet, the sour, or the salt.

Mound the yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Leave the surface rough, and gently cross hatch with the tines of a fork. Chill until the filling is firm, about 1-2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. At serving time, garnish each half with a single perfect coriander leaflet or a diagonally cut sliver of fresh green or red chile.

Notes: To scale up the recipe, measure the egg yolks. For each generous cup of cooked egg yolks measured without packing (about 8 eggs) add 3 to 4 tablespoons each of butter and mayonnaise, 1 ½ cups of cilantro leaves, 3 to 4 green chiles, 2 tablespoons or more of honey, and lime and salt to taste. You can blend the ingredients in a food processor until the filling is creamy but still has texture from the coriander leaves and chiles.