Monday, January 21, 2008

Easy Egg Recipes That We Should Know !

Now this recipe that I am going to show you is one of the easiest food to make. It's a basic recipe that every young people who just left their parents' home to live on their own need to know. It's an emergency recipe when after a long hard work you come home and have no more energy to cook anything that require more than 3 ingredients.
This recipe is also good for a very overwork mom.

Fried Egg With Dried Radish / Preserved Turnip ( Jai Po )

This recipe only needs 3 ingredients ...

3 eggs
3 Tbs chopped dried radish
oil to fry

Off course you can always improvise more with this basic recipe such as by adding chopped chilies, ground white pepper, or chopped green onion.

Even how to make it is so simple. Just pour 2 Tbs of oil on a hot wok / pan then break the eggs in a bowl, add the chopped dried radish. Use a fork to beat the eggs well. Pour the eggs mixture on the hot wok and let it fried for few minutes and after you check that the bottom of the eggs already start to brown a little, you can gently flip it over to the other side to fried some more.

You can serve this dish with hot steaming rice or porridge. You can eat it for your breakfast, or you can eat it for late night supper. The best part of this dish is it's simplicity and it is especially good when it is still pipping hot!

For another recipe with eggs, if just now I teach you how to make a Chinese style fried egg, now lets move on to Japanese recipe on how to make Chawan Mushi. In here, I want you to be flexible because I know that not everyone has a complete pantry like I do.

Yes to make an authentic Japanese Savory Egg Custard (Chawan Mushi), you need to know how to make Japanese stock using shaved bonito ( Katsuobushi ) etc, thank goodness that you can use the shortcut by using instant dashi stock ( sell in granules/powder form ). I promise you it will taste the same with what you eat in the restaurant.

There are ways to make this recipe as easy to make base on what you might have in your pantry and fridge. So if I cut down to what most people have in their kitchen here is the recipe ...

To understand on how to make a good Chawan-Mushi, there is 2 keys : (1) the composition between how much stock you need to use compare to one egg. (2) what is the right temperature to steam it so that the custard will be so smooth with no air pockets.

The answer to that questions are these: (1) For each egg you will use, add 1/2 Cup of stock. (2) Never use more than medium-low heat to steam the custard.

Japanese Steamed Egg Custard ( Chawan-Mushi )

To make a real Chawan Mushi you need this ingredients:

3 eggs
1 1/2 Cups dashi stock ( you can replace it with chicken stock both in powder or in can )
1 Tbs mirin
1 tsp light color soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt ( don't use the salt if you use instant dashi because it's already salty )

For Fillings, you can choose from these options: chicken breast, small shelled shrimps, thin sliced re-hydrate shiitake mushrooms, sliced kamaboko (steam fish paste), sliced white button mushrooms, small cut white fish fillets, small blue crab cut into 2 pieces, sliced squids... the list is endless ... just make sure they are small and you only need a very little amount .

How to make this dish:

  • Heat the steamer. Use medium-low heat.
  • Beat eggs. Mix with dashi stock and salt. Strain it.
  • Prepare the filling, mix it with mirin and light soy sauce.
  • Place all the filling in bottom of the steaming cups. Make sure you use cups that heat-proof.
  • Stir the egg mixture with chopsticks but do not beat ( you don't want the eggs to have foam because then once you steam it, the custard will have a lot of ugly holes! ). Pour into 4 steaming cups.
  • Break any bubbles on the surface with chopsticks.
  • Place in a hot steamer, cook for 15- 20 minutes or until set.
  • Enjoy!

To be honest with you if this recipe sound still too complicated, you can cut down into this:

3 eggs + 1.5 Cups of instant stock

Then all you need to do is beat the eggs then mix it with the stock ( chicken or dashi is all up to you ). Strain, then pour them into the steaming cup and steam it .

This is what I do when I need to serve it to my children when they are very young. I use either home-made chicken stock or can ( I don't use powder or cubes stock when I cook for babies ). If I use a can stock, I will not add salt since they are always salted already. In fact I dilute it with water first.

Now let's move on to Western style egg dishes ...

I found that I have many Western egg recipes in my library but I chose the recipes that the ingredients are widely available in almost every supermarkets. Also I chose these recipes because not every home has an oven. Most houses in Indonesia or Taiwan has no ovens because their type of food doesn't require a long cooking.

Ham & Eggs

30 g butter
2 slices of ham
2 large eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a non-stick frying pan, melt the butter over a low heat. Put in the ham and turn the slices over after 1 minute, just long enough to warm them through.

Break an egg on a small bowl and slide it gently on to a slice of ham, then repeat the with other egg. Cook gently until the fried eggs are done as you like them.

Slide the spatula under each slice of ham and place the ham and eggs on a plate. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

NOTE : The secret of good ham and eggs is the top quality ham and a very gentle heat. This classic dish is so often ruined by over cooking the ham.

Now, I assume you already know how to make a fried egg ( sunny side up ), and boil an egg. So let's upgrade your choices into 2 more very simple dishes. I make it fall into 2 categories because some people very care about their fat intake while others are less care about it. The basic is the same. You want to cook the egg on a hot liquid. The first dish is called Crunchy Fried Eggs because in this recipe you will deep-fry the egg in oil. The second one is Poached Eggs because you will crack the egg into a gently boiled water with a dash of vinegar. Why using vinegar? Because vinegar helps the white eggs NOT to spread to much in the water. I heard that Lady Diana loves this way of cooking eggs the most.

Crunchy Fried Eggs

2 eggs
salt and pepper
oil for deep frying

Break an egg into a small bowl and gently slide it into the hot oil.

After a few seconds, the egg will begin to fry. Use to spatulas or spoons to lift any egg white that has spread out back over the egg to maintain a rounded shape.

After 1 minute, carefully turn the egg over in the oil so that it cooks evenly.

After 1 1/2- 2 minutes, the egg will be crunchy on the outside and the yolk will still be slightly runny . Lift it out of the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE: The sooner you serve the egg, the better it will be. It is best to fry the egg individually, but you can cook 2 at a time if you do it very carefully.
Poached Eggs

2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs vinegar

Half filled the wide sauce pan with water. Then add the vinegar ( you can add a bit more than 1 Tbs. ) and bring it to the boil.

Break an egg at a time into a small bowl and tip it gently into the pan, at the pont where the water is bubbling.

Repeat with other eggs, but do not poach more than 4 eggs at a time. Poach for about 1 1/2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon or small skimmer, lift out the first egg and press the outside edge slightly to check if it is properly cooked.

As soon as the egg is cooked to your liking, remove it with the skimmer or slotted spoon. Either serve immediately, or transfer to a bowl of iced water and leave for about 10 minutes to stop the cooking process because the heat of the egg will keep it cooking.

For nicer look ( you don't have to do this! ) you can trim the edges with a small knife to make a neat shape. This will also cut off the excess white that inevitably spreads during cooking. The poached egg is now ready.

Now that you already make your Crunchy Fried Eggs and Poached Eggs, how are you going to use it into more complex recipe? Easy ....

First of all you can always eat them as is with salt and pepper.

But you can also use it in :
  1. On top of a toast with cheese sauce on top
  2. On a bed of salad, then pour the vinegary salad dressing such as these guys below. Then you can even fried ham or bacon then crush and sprinkle them on top of your egg. Yum!
  3. Floating on top of any creamy purred soup.
  4. Stuff them into your sandwich bread to replace the meat.
The list is just keep on going ... and going ... and going ...

There is another 2 recipes that my son loves to eat in the morning also ...

Boiled Egg With Toast

For this recipe it is best to boil the egg until it is half cooked ( still runny ). Then you toast 1 slice of bread on your toaster and then cut them into long strips . A normal size sandwich bread can be sliced into 4 long strips. This makes it easier for your child to dip the bread into his egg. You can certainly season the egg with salt and pepper. Even Tabasco if you want!

Baked Egg With Parmesan Cheese

Grease 2 small heat-proof bowls with butter.
Put 4 eggs into a small bowl and add 1 Tbs finely chopped chives or green onions and 2 Tbs finely grated Parmesan cheese. Whisk together and season with salt and pepper. Divide the egg mixture between 2 bowl and you can either bake it for 15 minutes ( at 180C / 350F / gas 4 ) in a water bath or you can do like I do. I cover the bowl with cling plastic then steam it on a medium heat for about the same time or until it's done. Then you can eat it just like that or you can eat it with toast or garlic bread. Nutritious and delicious at the same time

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