E for Eggs

“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.” – anonymous

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Humans have consumed eggs since the beginning of human time. First as hunters and foragers, and then domesticating birds. 

There is historical evidence that wild fowl were domesticated in India by 3200 B.C. And in China and Egypt chickens were domesticated and laying eggs for human consumption around 1400 B.C. 

According to food historians, eggs were used for making bread and cakes in ancient China, Egypt and Roman cities. 

All birds and reptiles lay eggs. But not all eggs are consumed by humans. Cultural factors and economic conditions impact each society’s choices. Also, what is locally available plays a role in such choices.

Eggs from chicken, duck, emu, goose, guinea fowl, gull, ostrich, pelican, pheasant, pigeon, quail, turkey etc are commonly consumed by people all over the world, the most commonly eaten eggs being those of the domestic chicken. 

Are eggs (fertilized or non-fertilized) vegetarian food? The answer is whatever you want it to be, based entirely on your perspective. If you are a vegetarian who would like to eat eggs, sure, it is vegetarian as it does not contain animal flesh. Definitely not vegan though.

Eggs are cooked in many many ways… boiled, half boiled, fried, half fried, baked, poached by themselves, and a ton of ways with other ingredients, some of them rather complex and involved. Quiches, custards, macaroons, meringue… the list goes on. Each culture and society have their own popular egg dishes; shakshuka and scotch eggs come to mind enticingly; balut is something I would like to forget even having seen.

The U.S. produces about 75 billion eggs a year, about 10 percent of the world supply. 

Egg consumption in the US grew exponentially when commercial egg farms took over egg production from small farms, in the early 1960s. Today commercial farms have flocks of 100,000 laying hens and some over 1 million. However, the tide is turning again with a growing preference among consumers for free-range hens raised on antibiotic free natural diets. 

The question has always been raised… are eggs healthy to eat? While they are faulted for their high cholesterol content by some, others point out that there is no direct link between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol and there are other benefits to consuming eggs. We have seen scientific research moving from one end to the other over the years.

Eggs have been the object of much socio-religious symbolism and tradition. They are associated with magical beliefs, symbolizing rebirth and new life, and are believed to ensure fertility.

Egg Drop Soup


  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1 cup thinly sliced Napa cabbage
  • 5 medium sized mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp dried shrimp, crushed (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Scallions for garnishing

Note: This will produce a dark soup. If you would like a lighter colored soup, replace the soy sauce with dry white wine or sherry.


  • Add chicken stock, ginger, garlic, sweet corn kernels, and dried shrimp (if using) to a large pot along with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to let the pot simmer for 20 minutes, adding a little water to keep the quantity the same.
  • Add the sliced cabbage and mushrooms and continue to cook for two minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tsp of the cornstarch with soy sauce. 
  • Whisk eggs with the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch.
  • Whisk soy sauce-cornstarch mixture into soup until well combined. 
  • With the soup on a low simmer, pour in the egg-cornstarch mixture in a thin stream, slowly stirring the pot to keep the soup moving.
  • Let the soup cook for 10 seconds more to let the egg fully set.
  • Serve garnished with scallions.


Crocodile eggs have a high lecithin content. Consuming these eggs may help lower blood cholesterol, prevent Alzheimer’s, and improve memory. It can also reduce your risk of hypertension and heart disease, along with treating fatty liver and diabetes.
Printed somewhere on the internet, that unquestionably reliable source of dependable information!

U is for Udon Noodle Soup

Udon noodles are a popular food in Japan, especially in the southern parts of the country. Made with basic ingredients like wheat flour, water and salt, they are thicker than the regular noodles, and can be round or flat. Usually made into soup, udon can be enjoyed in hot or cold preparations. I’ve made this recipe of udon noodle soup with shrimp balls and a mix of vegetables.

Udon noodles have their origin in China. Legend has it that a monk from Kagawa on the Shikoku island went to China in the 7th century, for studies. When he returned to Japan, he brought back the recipe for udon noodles  which was common in China at that time. It is also mentioned that a stone relic in the Takinomiya Tenmangu shrine, called the Ryutoin-ato, marks the location where the first udon was made in Japan.

Fun fact: The dough for the udon noodles is tough and difficult to handle. So it is stomped on to make it pliable. 

Most of the Japanese soups have dashi as their base. Dashi is made from bonito (skipjack tuna) flakes or kombu (edible kelp, a large brown seaweed), or both. I used instant dashi powder (available online and in some east Asian grocery stores) for this recipe.

This soup is a delightful melding of flavors. Starting with the dashi which makes a lovely broth, and the shrimp balls flavored with ginger, garlic and scallions, to the sautéed mushrooms and the still crisp snow peas and radishes, it is totally enjoyable. And the boiled eggs provide a creamy satisfying rounding off of the flavors. And it is rather easy to put together, including making the shrimp balls.

This soup is a complete meal that includes protein, starch and vegetables. Usually it is served with just hot mustard on the side.

U is for Udon Noodle Soup

Difficulty:BeginnerServings:2 servings


    For shrimp balls

  • For the soup


  1. Using a food processor (or a chopping board and heavy knife), chop together ginger, garlic, scallions, and 6 of the shrimp, adding 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar to moisten.
  2. Cut the remaining shrimp into small pieces and add to the chopped mix. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To the mix, add the cornstarch and enough of egg white to hold the mixture together.
  4. Form into uniform small balls and set aside.
  5. Heat the oil in a pot and add the mushrooms. Fry till light brown.
  6. Add 4 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil Drop in the sliced radishes and the instant dashi powder. Cover and cook.
  7. When the radishes are cooked, in about 10 minutes, add the snap peas and cabbage. Continue to cook for two minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Bring the heat down so that the liquid in the pot is on a slow simmer. Carefully add the shrimp balls to the pot and allow to cook for 3 minutes without disturbing.
  9. Add the cooked noodles and carefully mix together. Continue to cook for 3 more minutes.
  10. Take off the heat and serve in two bowls. Place two halves of boiled egg in each bowl.
  11. Serve with hot mustard or any other chili sauce on the side.
Keywords:Japanese, Shrimp, Udon soup

Q is for Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine is known as a French dish. It gets its name from the French territory of Lorraine, lying between France and Germany. However, according to historical records, the dish originated in the medieval times in the German kingdom of Lothringen. And it is exactly this region that the French acquired and changed the name to Lorraine! In fact, the territory of Alsace-Lorraine has changed ownership between Germany and France many times, all through history. The last change took place after world war 2, when France got it from Germany.

The name quiche is originated from the German word ‘Kuchen’, meaning cake or tart.

Coming back to the quiche, the earlier versions of quiche Lorraine consisted of an egg and cream filling cooked in a pie crust. Later bacon, and cheese and other ingredients were added to the filling. And there is even a finer distinction that if onions are added, it is a quiche Alsacienne, and not a quiche Lorraine! 

Originally the crust was made of bread dough but a regular pie crust is used now.

Quiches became popular in the US and UK in the 1950s. The concept of a is versatility itself. A blind baked shell into which you can add any filling, topped with an egg and cream custard and baked! The fillings can be whatever you can imagine… sausage meat and mushrooms, spinach and onions, crab and tomatoes, artichoke and feta… the possible combinations are endless.

Quiche Lorraine is one of the easiest to make. It can be spiced up with the addition of tabasco or any other hot sauce.

Q is for Quiche Lorraine

Difficulty:IntermediateServings:6 servings


    For the pastry shell

  • For the quiche


  1. Place the flour in a large bowl. Add a quarter teaspoon salt to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Cut the chilled butter into thin slices and add to the flour.
  3. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour till the butter is reduced to pea sized pieces.
  4. Add the egg yolk into the flour-butter mix and blend.
  5. Add the iced water to the flour one spoon at a time and mix with a long fork, gently and quickly. When the flour starts to stick together, gather up all the flour into a ball of dough and gently smoothen the surface.
  6. Cover the dough with cling wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  7. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Press the chilled dough to form a disc. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to form a 11 inch circle.
  9. Place the dough in a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Fold the edges under and flute the edges.
  10. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pastry in the pie pan and fill with pie weights or dry beans.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes in the pre-heated oven. Remove the pastry shell from the oven and let cool.
  12. Fry the bacon in a pan on low heat, turning often. (It can also be prepared in the oven.) Set aside and crumple when cold.
  13. In a clean pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. (The bacon fat can also be used, if you prefer.)
  14. Add the sliced onions and fry till transparent and the edges start to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  15. Add the fried onions, crumpled bacon and both cheeses to the pastry shell.
  16. Thoroughly mix together the eggs, heavy cream, nutmeg and tabasco sauce, if using. Season with salt and pepper.
  17. Pour over the onion-bacon-cheese mix in the pastry shell.
  18. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The center should be a bit jiggly as it will continue to cook.
  19. Place the quiche on a cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Keywords:European, Quiche, Quiche Lorraine

N is for Nasi Goreng Ayam 

Nasi Goreng Ayam literally means chicken fried rice and is a national dish of Indonesia. It is popular not only in Indonesia but also in neighboring countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Migration of population has carried it over to countries all over as well.

Nasi goreng ayam has originated from the Chinese fried rice, and started out as a way to use up left over cooked rice. Today there are many versions of this dish as can be expected of a dish with many ingredients.

Like every fried rice recipe anywhere in the world, the basic concept revolves around three main ingredients: cooked rice, vegetables and meat. Mixed together and spiced up. It is where the spicing up part is considered that the recipes differ most. 

What makes nasi goreng ayam unique is the addition of kecap manis, a sweet soy sauce, and fried shallots. Also that it is served with fried eggs – scrambled into the rice in some versions and served separately in some versions.

Don’t be scared away by the long list of ingredients for this recipe; it is all much easier than it looks. The ingredients are not difficult to gather and you just throw them in the pan one after the other. And tada… the fried rice is ready!

Nasi goreng ayam is usually served with shrimp crackers, in addition to the fried egg. Pickled or fresh salad vegetables can also be a good side.

N is for Nasi Goreng Ayam 

Difficulty:BeginnerServings:4 servings



  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp oyster sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat two tbsp of oil in a pan on medium heat. Add half the thinly sliced shallots to the oil. Fry on medium heat, stirring constantly. When crisply fried, remove to a plate and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 and 1/2 tbsp oil in a largish wok (or frying pan) on high. Add the marinated chicken pieces to the pan and fry, stirring regularly, till the chicken is cooked and the outside is crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add 1 and 1/2 tbsp of the remaining oil to the pan. Add the remaining shallots and ginger to the pan. Fry till the shallots turn soft and transparent. Add the garlic and fry for a minute.
  5. Add the green beans, snap peas, and the white parts of the scallions to the pan. Add the turmeric powder and fry till the vegetables are cooked yet crisp, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked rice and fried chicken to the pan and mix well.
  7. Add the sliced green parts of the scallions, kecap manis, soy sauce and oyster sauce to the pan. Mix gently taking care not to mash the rice. Check for seasoning.
  8. Sprinkle the fried shallots on top.
  9. When ready to serve, use 1 tbsp of remaining oil to fry an egg sunny side up, for each serving. Serve hot with the fried egg and any other accompaniments like shrimp crackers or pickled vegetable.
  10. To make kecap manis, mix together equal quantities of soy sauce and palm sugar (or brown sugar) in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook on low till it reaches the consistency of a thick sauce. You can increase the amount of sugar if you would like a sweeter sauce.
Keywords:chicken and vegetables, Indonesia, Nasi goreng ayam

Old Fashioned Coconut Macaroons

If there is any baked goodie that is easier to make than a fruit cobbler, it is a coconut macaroon. A soft slightly chewy center, with a light crisp outside… altogether yum!

Not to be confused with ‘macaron’, the trendy sandwich cookie that has been all the rage recently… that will come later. This is about the egg white and sweetened coconut concoction that is airy and light. But not meringue light, it has some chewiness to it too.

Macaroons have their origin in Italy, during the renaissance period. Initially they were made with almond paste. Later, for the sake of convenience, bakers started replacing the almond paste with either almond meal (powder) or dried sweetened coconut.

The coconut macaroons were popularised by the European Jewish communities who found it suitable for Passover as it was unleavened.

Macarons, the French version which were small round cookies without any coconut added, were developed by the chefs and bakers who accompanied the Italian noblewoman Catherine de Medici to the French court when she became the wife of King Henri 2nd. Like I mentioned earlier, more about them later.

I have made the coconut macaroons with almond and cashew slivers as well, and they do taste great.

However, adding a bit of colour makes you reach straight for them!

Next time, I’ll try spicing them up with some ginger, cinnamon or allspice.

If you would like uniformly shaped macaroons, you can pipe the mix through a star nozzle onto the baking sheet. I am usually too lazy for that; I just shape them into balls by hand.

I like to imagine Nora (the chief protagonist of Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House) eating coconut macaroons, though Ibsen just uses the generic ‘makroner’ and not ‘kokosmakroner’ in the original Norwegian. Though coconut macaroons are a typical Christmas treat in Norway today, it is unlikely that coconuts were commonly available in the Oslo of 1879, the play’s setting. Still, I see Nora munching on coconut macaroons and they definitely had little specks of red glace cherries on them! 🙂 So here is to the Noras of the world…



Old Fashioned Coconut Macaroons
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: European
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 10 glace cherries
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
  2. Prepare two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
  3. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the condensed milk, vanilla extract and the coconut.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites using a hand-held electric beater, till stiff peaks form, for about three to four minutes.
  5. Using a spatula, gently fold in the beaten egg whites into the coconut mixture, being careful not to overmix.
  6. Lastly sprinkle the salt grains on the mix lightly blend in with the spatula.
  7. With moistened hands, form small balls of about 1 ½ inches diameter and place on the baking sheets, 1 inch apart, giving the macaroons space to expand while baking.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven, for about 22 to 25 minutes, till the top of the macaroons start to brown.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and they are ready to go!
  10. Note: These can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three weeks, that is, if they last that long!


The Truly Wonderful Scotch Eggs

The word ‘Scotch’ is invariably associated with Scotch whiskey, and the age-old distilleries of Scotland. However, there are many more products that are associated with the word, like Scotch tape, Scotch bonnet chillies and the wonderful Scotch eggs!


By the way, the Scotch bonnet chillies are named so only for their shape resembling the traditional Tam o’ Shanter hat of Scotland; they are not grown anywhere near Scotland!
The best thing about Scotch eggs is that it is a meal in itself. Add a green salad of any kind, and you have a well balanced meal.


Scotch eggs are commonly a party and picnic food item and has existed for a long while, with a British department store claiming to have invented it in 1738. The all-knowing Wikipedia speculates that the inspiration for the dish came from the ‘Nargisi kofta’ of the Mughal cuisine.


Though the initial versions were made from sausage meat you can make them with any chopped meat. If you do not fancy red meat, minced turkey or chicken, or a mix of the two, will work equally well.


My version of a Scotch egg is a truly fusion one. I use the eastern eight spice powder, along with ginger and garlic, to add flavour and a little bit of red chilli powder for heat.


The breading process becomes very easy if you do it assembly line style, with three shallow bowls set up with the flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs.


Though a bit time consuming to make, Scotch eggs are worth the trouble. Not only do they taste good, they look great too!


The concept of hardboiled eggs covered in meat and fried or baked is popular in many cuisines. In addition to the Nargisi kofta mentioned earlier, Kwek-Kwek, made with quail eggs and Tokneneng made with chicken or duck eggs, both from Philippines, are dishes very similar to Scotch eggs.



The Truly Wonderful Scotch Eggs
Recipe type: Appetizer
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 lb chopped (minced) meat of your choice
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp eastern eight spice powder
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Hard boil the 6 eggs. Shell them and keep aside.
  2. Finely chop the onions, ginger and garlic.
  3. Discard the stems of the cilantro and chop the leaves.
  4. Boil the potatoes till soft. Peel them and keep aside.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions.
  6. When the onions turn transparent, add the chopped ginger and garlic.
  7. Continue to sauté till the onions start to brown.
  8. Add the coriander powder and stir together.
  9. Add the chopped meat and mix well.
  10. Add salt to taste.
  11. Reduce the heat and cook covered, till the meat is cooked. Add ladlefuls of water, if required.
  12. When the meat is cooked and all water is evaporated, add the chilli powder and eastern eight spice powder.
  13. Mash the boiled potatoes and add to the meat mix.
  14. Add the chopped cilantro and mix thoroughly.
  15. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  16. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and season with salt.
  17. In another bowl, beat the egg with an equal quantity of cold water.
  18. Place the breadcrumbs in a third bowl.
  19. When the meat mix is cool, divide it into six portions.
  20. Form each portion into a ball, make a depression in the middle and place a boiled egg into it.
  21. Cover the egg completely with the meat mix, trying for an even thickness all around.
  22. Form into a oval shape and keep aside.
  23. Prepare all 6 eggs similarly.
  24. Roll each covered egg in the seasoned flour and then in the beaten egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs.
  25. Brush off the extra breadcrumbs and keep aside.
  26. Prepare all 6 eggs similarly.
  27. Heat a sufficient quantity of vegetable oil in a deep pan.
  28. When the oil is hot, add the prepared eggs one at a time and gently fry till evenly browned.
  29. Drain on a paper towel.
  30. Cut into two lengthwise and serve with a salad as a light meal.


Green Egg Sandwich

Not exactly… I mean, the eggs are not green, but the sandwich is! A lovely green chutney is the secret behind this delicious sandwich which can be made in a jiffy.


When it comes to sandwiches, I totally agree with John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who is credited with its creation in the first place. The story goes that reluctant to get up from the card table – apparently, the man took his gambling seriously – he would ask his servants to hand him a piece of meat between two slices of bread so that his fingers would stay clean. Naturally, the other players at the card table started asking for the food item ‘same as sandwich’ which soon got abbreviated further and the dish named sandwich was born!

Here the role of the bread is just to hold the goodies inside (which function I get lettuce leaves to do as well, very often). And whatever interesting and tasty food that keeps its shape can be placed inside a sandwich. If you are not sure whether the filling will stay inside the bread, just toast it to keep it all together. 🙂


I have tried out a lot of combinations of fillings and flavourings for sandwiches, over time. One combination that has been a great hit with many of my friends is a variation of the traditional vegetable sandwich with green chutney. Just replace all the vegetable fillings with slices of boiled eggs, keeping the green chutney part intact. Viola, you have cut down the effort and time to less than half while ending up with a sandwich that is even more tasty!


So the other day, when I wanted some sandwiches to take on a day trip, that is what I decided to make. And it did come out pretty good, if I say so myself! 🙂

Making the chutney is the only task that takes a bit of time. Or rather getting the ingredients for the chutney together.


Once you have assembled the stuff, just grind them all together and you have the chutney ready.


Next comes the bread. Unless a recipe definitely calls for white bread, I go for whole wheat. Especially as that is the bread that I always have on stock. You should toast the bread slices for this sandwich as it adds to the flavour.


Butter both the bread slices, on one side of course, for a sandwich before applying the chutney. The barrier of fat is required to prevent the chutney from totally soaking into the bread and making it soggy.


After the butter, the chutney goes on. Rather thickly. Actually, how much chutney will depend on your preferences.


Then just layer the slices of the boiled egg over the chutney on one slice of bread. I used an egg slicer to do the slicing, but it can easily be done with a knife.


Place the second buttered and chutneyed bread slice over the egg and press down a bit. The chutney will hold it together well. There is no need to toast the sandwich as the bread has been toasted already.

As a quick lunch or snack to go, an ideal sandwich. Enjoy!



Green Egg Sandwich
Recipe type: Sandwich
  • 1 big bunch of cilantro
  • 2 tbsp scraped coconut
  • ¼ white onion
  • ½ inch piece ginger root
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste (can be replaced with 1 tbsp lemon juice)
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 slices of whole wheat bread
  • Unsalted butter
  1. Clean the cilantro and remove all hard stems.
  2. Slice the onion into thin wedges.
  3. Slice the ginger, garlic and green chillies.
  4. Boil the eggs and shell them.
  5. Grind together the cilantro, coconut, onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, tamarind, sugar and salt together in a blender till smooth. If required, you can add a spoonful of water.
  6. Transfer to a dish and keep aside.
  7. Toast the bread slices.
  8. Apply butter on one side each of all the bread slices.
  9. Apply chutney on the buttered side of the bread slices.
  10. Slice the boiled eggs and place the slices over the chutney.
  11. Cover with the second slice of bread and press down a bit.
  12. Sandwiches are ready!