The Universal Appeal of Eggs
They’re eggs-actly what we want to eat!
Eggs have universal appeal. They sit humbly on the kitchen counter, always there for baking banana bread and scones to keep us entertained during lockdown, nourish us with a quick, comforting breakfast or a midnight snack, and assure us by their presence on the shopping list that there will always be something delicious, filling and healthy to eat.
South African’s have been eating more eggs than usual during the lockdown period, in fact over 50 per cent more than the average 7.56 kg we usually consume annually! This is not surprising as eggs are a source of vitamins, minerals, affordable protein, immune-boosting antioxidants and they have the most amazing ability to fit right in with every type of world cuisine.
As hunter-gatherers, South Africa’s first people, the San, enjoyed a good egg when they could find one, and from ancient Rome, Egypt and China there’s evidence that eggs were always on the menu. It’s an integral ingredient with worldwide appeal.
From Filipino egg fritters made with literally every vegetable under the sun to French croissants filled with warm, silky-soft scrambled egg, there are a million ways that a carton of eggs can help you travel with your tastebuds.
In South Africa, we have embraced so many of these recipes and made them our go-to comfort foods. Who can resist the pillowy golden egg custard on a traditional Cape Malay Bobotie, a recipe adapted from Indonesia, or trendy North African shakshuka, which is eggs baked in a saucy mixture of tomatoes, peppers, onions and spices? Be daring and make your eggs – poached, boiled or fried – more South African by serving with soft pap and last night’s Chakalaka!
Another treasured treat is the famous Scotch Egg, a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried until crispy. Yum! But have you ever thought of making them with boerewors mince and dusting in maize meal for extra crispiness?
Then, of course, there is curried eggs, a much-loved aromatic staple of India… and Durban! But since you have time on your hands right now why not challenge your tastebuds to experience a few egg dishes from further afield, like Tortilla de Patatas from Spain, which is simply sliced potato in an omelette, usually served at room temperature as a snack; or Mexican Chilaquiles, salsa-sauced fried tortillas loaded with beans, eggs, chicken and more!
Or does the idea of a rice-filled, tomato-sauce topped omelette called an Omurice in Japan make you salivate; perhaps a smile-inducing Hawaiian Loco Moco, a breakfast stack of rice, hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy?
The internet is bursting with eggs-citing taste travel ideas. And who knows, you may yet discover a new favourite!
Serves 2 – 4
Preparation time 30 minutes
- 1 medium brinjal, sliced into strips
- 45ml (3 tbsp) sunflower oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- ½ red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 green chili, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 60ml (¼ cup) chicken stock
- 30ml (2 tbsp) fresh basil, torn
- 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh coriander, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Generously brush all sides of the brinjal with oil and season well. Bake 15 minutes, until lightly charred and soft turning once.
- Heat a frying pan with a little oil, add the garlic and onions and sauté over medium heat until the onions are golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the red peppers and chili and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Keep stirring to prevent the mixture from burning.
- Mix in the brinjal, tomatoes, stock, and herbs. Gently simmer, covered, over medium heat for about 15 – 20 minutes, making sure that the mixture does not become very dry. Add more stock only if needed, shakshuka should be a dry-ish sauce.
- With the back of a tablespoon, make small indentations and crack the eggs into the holes. Season, cover and allow the eggs to poach for about 8 minutes depending on your liking.
- Sprinkle with coriander and serve.