My vegetarian mother loves egg and 3 out of 5 of my family members absolutely adore #egg. It is amazing how many of us believe that #egg is the easiest thing to cook and yet most of us cook it wrong unknowingly.
If you are a vegetarian who eats #egg, you are an ovotarian.
Although there is a range in the types of eggs available, from ostrich and emu to even quail eggs. In this section I am talking about hen’s eggs, which are by far the most commonly available eggs in this country.
There are four broad categories in which our eggs can be divided.
Farm Fresh Eggs – Farm is an industrial unit with hens cramped up in cages. These are often artificially lit. Fresh means less than 21 days old.
Barn Eggs – Hens have a little more space and they are kept in pens.
Free-range Eggs – Hens have space to move around outdoors and feed on outdoor vegetation.
Organic Eggs – Hens are given organic feed.
It is better to buy free-range or organic eggs.
The best way to check for fresh #egg is that it should feel well-filled and heavy. Egg is porous and stale egg will have a larger air sac, making it feel light and empty.
Contrary to popular belief an #egg with a red spot or meat spot is actually a good quality egg. We know that because the red spot means it is fertlised.
Good Egg Test
To test the freshness there is a simple #egg test that can be done. Take a bowl full of water. If the egg sinks in it, it’s fresh else stale.
Freshness and Quality of Eggs
The US department of agriculture grades #egg as AA with a firm yolk and white which doesn’t spread when you break it.
As the grades go lower from AA to A to B #egg tends to spread more and more when broken.
As a matter of fact, lower quality #egg is more suitable for baking than fresh, firm eggs. So if you have old eggs, bake a cake!
Storage of Eggs
Eggs should be stored away from strong smelling foods and flavourings. The eggshell is porous and easily absorbs undesirable odour from food kept next to them. Ever wondered why your cake smells off today? Now, you know.
To maintain the quality of an egg store it 2 degree Celsius. Egg will lose its quality quickly, if stored at room temperature, especially in a warm country like ours.
How To Cook An Egg
Boiling – In the Shell
Have you noticed a bluish layer on the yolk when you overcook the egg? This layer that forms when a boiled egg is overcooked also tempers with the taste and odour of the egg apart from looking unappetising. To avoid this layer from forming it is important to know the right time for which an egg should be cooked in the shell.
To cook an egg in the shell, bring the eggs to room temperature by removing them from the refrigerator an hour before cooking or placing them in warm water.
Cold eggs are more likely to crack in hot water.
Take water with a pinch of salt in a pan. Since the shell is porous, the egg gets lightly seasoned when added in salt water. Bring the water to a boil, add in the eggs and then turn heat to simmer.
Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes for Soft cooked
For 5 to 7 minutes for half boiled or medium cooked eggs
For 10 to 12 minutes for hard boiled eggs.
Drain out the water and run the eggs under cold water before peeling.
For Hard Cooked Eggs, like the eggs we use in Egg Curry, we don’t drain the water after removing the eggs from heat but once it comes to a boil, cover and let it stand for 20 minutes before peeling.
To peel the egg, crack it from the large end (where the air sac in present) and loosen the shell by holding it under running water. The shell will simply slide off.
Fresh, high quality #egg is best used in poaching.
Although poaching an #egg gives a beautiful silken, delicate structure very few know how to poach an egg correctly.
To poach an #egg simply fill inch deep water in a pan, add salt n vinegar and bring it to simmer. Break fresh, quality egg into the pan.
Remove the #egg after it is poached for 3 to 5 minutes in simmering water, by using a flat, broad frying spoon, under the yolk base.
#egg can break while poaching if 1) the water is boiling vigorously or 2) the water in not hot enough for egg to coagulate immediately.
My favorite #egg main dish is smoked salmon with creamy scrambled eggs, capers and a drizzle of herb oil.
To make scrambled #egg creamy, beat and blend eggs then add 20ml cream for 2 eggs, add butter in a pan, when hot drop water to sizzle, add in the eggs and stir.
Cook scrambled #egg over low heat stirring from time to time, don’t stir too much or let eggs brown. Once set but still soft n moist, remove.
Once the scrambled #egg sets, remove it right away, the warm pan can over cook the egg even after the heat is turned off. Add herbs to flavor.
Once the #egg base sets at the base due to high heat, the heat is lowered & the uncooked egg is scrambled on top to create volume in omelet. A common mistake made while making an egg is trying to froth up the egg for a fluffy omelet. This is not necessary. The procedure below shows how to make a fluffy omelet without frothing up the egg.
To make a French Omelet
Beat 2-3 eggs in a bowl. Just mix the eggs with a teaspoon of milk with a fork, don’t froth it up. Add in some salt and pepper.
Heat oil mixed with butter in a pan, allow the pan to heat up. Once the pan is hot add in the egg mixture. The egg will set at the base and on the sides.
Now, shake the pan with one hand and stir the egg in the pan with the back of a fork. Be sure not to scrap off the base, this stirring round and round will make the omelet fluffy. Once the egg sets but is still moist turn off the heat.
Loosen the sides and slide the egg to one side. Fold in both sides into the center. A filling may be added in the center before folding both the sides. Bring the corners together to seal the omelet completely from all sides, forming a crescent shape. Slide the omelet onto a plate.
For a Spanish omelet
Slice roundels of potatoes and Onion rings. Heat butter in a pan, cook the onion and potato in the pan until the onion is brown and potato is cooked all through. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the mixture.
In a bowl, mix 2-3 eggs with a spoon of milk along with the cooked onion and potato roundels with a fork.
Heat oil and butter in a pan, once the pan is hot, add in the egg mixture. Once it sets at the base, stir a little and take it off the heat.
Now, place this pan with the Spanish omelet under heat in the salamander and allow the egg to set with the heat from top.
You may add green, red and yellow bell peppers to a Spanish Omelet if you like.
The vegetables, meat and flavourings are mixed with the egg and added into a hot pan. Once the base sets, the top in cooked by placing the pan under heat in a salamander.
Vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, flavourings such as garlic, pepper and meats like sausages, bacon can be mixed with egg for a frittata. A frittata is a thick omelet.
Masala Omelet is essentially a French omelet with a indian-style masala filling. An Indian Masala filling is a mixture of chopped onion, tomatoes, green chili, coriander leaves, salt, red chili powder and at times chaat masala.
Masala omelet is usually browned more than French omelet.
Indian Style Scrambled egg with Masala is- Akuri
Uses Of Eggs in Cooking
Egg proteins coagulate when exposed to heat, they form a protein network along with impurities in a stock resulting in a clarified soup such as a Consomme.
Binding & Coating
Egg is used for binding in meatballs, patty and as such for holding the ingredients together.
Due to its sticky nature it is also used to coat a patty, steak or escalope to make breadcrumbs or other dry ingredients stick to form a crust.
In sauces such as Mayonnaise or Hollandaise, the egg helps in combining the water and oil molecules together, making an emulsification necessary for these sauces.
Volume – incorporates air and adds volume to cakes and other baked goods. It is increases volume and makes the product light and fluffy.
Enriching – It enriches the product and also acts as a moistening agent in brownies, cakes and cookies.
Egg White froths up and is capable of increasing the volume of a product with the incorporation of air. It makes a product light and fluffy. This property of an egg is used in making Souffles and Meringues.
Souffles – A béchamel sauce base with flavouring like cheese, vegetables or meats is combined with frothed eggs to create light savoury or sweet soufflés.
Meringues – Beaten egg white to soft, medium or hard peaks is used as a topping on desserts, in topping cakes. A meringue base is also used to make marshmallows and macaroons.
While hard boiled eggs are also used as garnish on entrees or served as appetisers. They are frequently used as centre garnich when making cold cuts. It is common to find slices of terrine studded with hard cooked eggs inside it.
Meringues are used to top desserts.
Also Read; Stress Free Hens produce Tastier Eggs in Bangalore, Happy Hen Farm