Monday, October 09, 2006

Eggs Take Their Place At The Dinner Table...

This is the title of a piece by Mark Bittman in the food section of the NYTimes can be found online here. Best-selling cookbook author MARK BITTMAN is the creator and author of the popular New York Times weekly column, "The Minimalist," and one of the country's best-known and widely admired food writers. His flagship book, How to Cook Everything (Macmillan, 1998), is currently in its twelfth printing and has sold nearly 600,000 copies.

IT symbolizes fertility and beauty, and it has an unrivaled simplicity of form. It represents one of the most perfect of foods, from just about every standpoint: nutrition, flavor and versatility. And it has an unrivaled ability to stand alone or to contribute to other dishes.

What it doesn’t represent is dinner.

Meet the still underrated egg, everybody’s favorite breakfast food in a world in which people eat a real breakfast once a week. The egg, the cheapest form of complete protein you can find, at about a dollar a pound. (Eggs cost less outside of cities, where a dozen are still a buck; more if you go organic or really local, which are both good options.) The egg, which people are suddenly jumping for in upscale restaurants even though they can’t conceive of having it for dinner at home, except in an emergency. The egg, a surprising choice.

Actually I probably should write to Mark Bittman and explain how in Indian cuisine the egg has always had a place at the dinner table. This has taken the form of a simple omlette or as spicy scrambled eggs or a egg curry. The latter has quite a few variations including one with poached eggs and lentils which I hope to make another time.

Oh and did I mention that eggs and potato are amongst my fav fooods? So I tried one of Bittman's recipes -

Hard-Cooked Eggs In Tomato-Onion Sauce.

They have two versions of it, both recipes here. I went with the Indian version with a slight modification.

  • 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 3 dried chilies (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/4th teaspoon fenugreek and 1/4 th teaspoon ground cinnamon ( or use 1/2 a stick of cinnamon)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 medium sized chopped tomatoes (or 1.5 cups of canned tomatoes are fine too)
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish.

1. Put oil in a 10- or 12-inch skillet and turn heat to medium. A minute or 2 later, add onions, garlic, chilies, cinnamon and fenugreek. Cook, stirring, for a minute or 2, then cover pan and turn heat to medium-low. Cook until onions are very soft but not brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, put eggs in cold water to cover. Turn heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, then turn off heat and cover; set a timer for 9 minutes.

3. When onions are done, stir in the cumin, coriander and turmeric. Add tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture bubbles. Cook for about 5 more minutes.

4. When eggs are done, put them in a bowl of ice water, then place under cold running water until they feel cool, then peel. When tomato sauce is ready, add eggs to it; cook an additional 5 minutes or so. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish and serve hot.

They really turned out great. You know you can't really go wrong with them and as Bittman says
"It represents one of the most perfect of foods, from just about every standpoint: nutrition, flavor and versatility. And it has an unrivaled ability to stand alone or to contribute to other dishes."

I hope to make the eggs poached in red wine next time.


Aditi said...

eggs poached in red wine.. that should definitely be interesting..=)

Sanjay said...

@Aditi..yup. The only reason I did nto make it was we were out of red wine. :-/. Maybe this weekend.

chandni said...

this is one of my fav foods...and one of the reasons being its easy to cook....

Ash said...

I LOVE eggs!

Sanjay said...

@Chandni.. I hear ya. :)

@Ash.. Join the gang!

Sai said...

This recipe made me revisit my childhood, when my mom would make egg curry for a quick dinner! About using wine, I am not sure if red will work with eggs. Generally it is advised to use red wine when cooking meat. If you are planning to use red wine try cabernet sauvignon. If white, then try pinot noir.

Sanjay said...

@Sai.yup. The egss are so elemental in some regards aren't they?

I did have a white around but I prefer red as the white we had was rather sweet. Also the post has a link to the Times article for the poached eggs in red wine with croutons. Its looks so good I have try it. here is the link.
The picture in the newspaper actually looked very very yummy. But your take on this is interesting too.

Sai said...

That's why I suggested Pinot noir and Cabernet Sauvignon for the same reason....they are dry. I have used them for cooking and love them. Please note I made a typo error when I said Pinot Noir, I meant Pinot Grigio, which is white and I have used it to cook salmon.

Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe, it looks delicious.

Shitrint said...

u made that dish look so yummy!!
shucks i dont even eat eggs, being a pakka veggie!

Sanjay said...

@Sai Thanks.

@Shitrint. You could try this with tofu?

Sanjay said...

@Sai.. Salmon recipes? I would be so interested if you were to do a post on one. :)

Sai said...

I must also add this tip that Martha Stewart had mentioned somewhere....if you have wine remaining then freeze it in ice tray and that frozen wine can be used for cooking.

Sanjay said...

@Sai.. lol I remember that one. I am not a huge fan of hers but yep I remember that tip. Sigh only Martha can come up with some of these!

priya said...

Neer tried with tomato sauce but the dish looks yummy.

starry nights said...

This egg dish looks yummy and easy to make, will have to try it.I should get Brittmans book.thanks for sharing.

intern said...

Yummy ... looks quite appealing ... Thanks for the tips.

DysfunctionaL said...

oh that looks so so good!

moegirl said...

I love eggs! Unfortunately my family doesn't, so I wouldn't get away with this intriguing recipe

Keshi said...

Im an egg maniac. I love it for brekky and I love egg curry - so yummy!

Ur recipe sounds like a great one to try. And trust me, I will :)

tnxxx mate!

Sanjay said...

@Priya.. Tomato works great with the eggs.

@Starry. Bittman's recipes (some of them)are also on the Time's web site.


@Dysfunctional.. Thanks

@Keshi.. Sure I think you will like it.

@Moe.. Maybe you can make it for yourself?

Sadaf Trimarchi said...

Jay this looks so good, and I'm not a huge fan of the egg thing. It looks pretty easy to make too - but refresh my memory, what's fenugreek look like? I know I don;t have - can I substitute something else maybe desi, like zeera(jeera)?