A long time ago I had decided that there would always be eggs in the fridge at home. At least a dozen of them. Why? Eggs are the handiest food to have around!
Kids are hungry? Make some egg sandwiches. Guests come in, make an egg curry or egg biryani. I am hungry? Poach an egg and have it topped with stir fried vegetables: perfect protein with essential vitamins and minerals of the veggies.
While doing the new book for fussy kids I came up with a brown bread slice cooked holding a fried egg in its centre. It sure looks nice and tempting…
Try it this Sunday: With the help of a cookie cutter cut a roundel from the center of the bread slice leaving a border of approximately half an inch all around. Heat a non-stick pan. Put one tablespoon of oil. Place one prepared bread slice on it. Add some sliced onion in the hole. Cook for thirty seconds.
Break an egg gently into the hollowed portion of the bread over the onions. Sprinkle salt. Lower heat. Season with freshly crushed black peppercorns. When the base of the egg is firm, remove onto a plate, garnish with a tomato slice and parsley sprig and serve with stamped out roundels of brown bread and tomato ketchup. The plus point is that the grown ups will love it too for breakfast!
White is light
We have heard and read so much about the goodness of eggs that it is easy to be convinced. But if cholesterol is a scare for anyone in the house, simply remove the yolks.
The egg white can be converted in to a healthy omelet or sandwich.
Sauté some chopped onions with green capsicum, tomato and mushrooms. Add salt and pepper. Let it cool then whisk with the egg whites till fluffy. Heat a small frying pan and lightly brush with oil. Pour the egg white and cover and cook. Flip the omelet and then serve it sandwiched in brown bread.
Fresh and eggciting
To check the freshness of an egg do this simple experiment. Immerse the egg in water, if the egg floats on its side in the water it is very fresh.
But if it floats vertically, rounded end up, it means it is two to three weeks old. And an egg that floats right on the surface of the water could be several months old and should be discarded.
I came across this: Eggshells may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over their surface. Through them, the egg can absorb flavours and odours.
Aha, that is why it makes great sense to store them in their cartons so that they remain fresh.
As a creative cook it is important to know how the egg functions. With heat, egg whites stiffen a mixture, while egg yolks make it smooth, rich and slightly thick.
Hence, soups, sauces need them. Baking a custard? The egg white sets the milk or cream until firm, while the egg yolk enriches it.
Egg whites are also used to clarify stock for consommé and aspic.
Want a glossy sheen on your bread? Mix whole eggs or even just the egg yolks with a little water, then brush on bread and bake. Similarly, whole eggs alone or mixed with a tablespoon or two of water or oil, act as a binder for coatings for foods to be deep-fried. Yolks are excellent emulsifiers: hence a successful mayonnaise sauce.
We spoke about breakfast and ‘jhatpat’ snacks. Here is one dinner idea too.
Baked Egg and Rice
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Heat a pan, add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil.
When the butter melts add 4-5 chopped garlic cloves and 1 medium chopped onion and sauté for two minutes.
Add 8-10 sliced fresh button mushrooms let them sweat.
Add 1 bunch roughly chopped spinach, salt to taste and pepper powder and stir.
Add 2 cups cooked rice and mix well.
Add ½ cup fresh cream and mix and transfer the mixture into a baking dish.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese.
Break four eggs, one by one, over the rice and let them settle at little distance from each other.
Sprinkle another 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese.
Put the dish in the microwave at 60% and cook for five minutes or till the eggs set. Serve hot.
By Sanjeev Kapoor — Master Chef, Author and Television Host.
Reach him at email@example.com