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Eggs are given the perfect score of 100!

The below article was issued for the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) by Protactic Strategic Communications:

An egg is simply perfect, in shape, nutrition and flavour. An indulgently runny egg yolk on top of almost any savoury dish is the everyday taste-sensation people crave. These delicious protein-treasures-when-purse-strings-are-tight are highly adaptable, making it almost impossible to run out of egg inspiration.

From North African shakshuka to Durban curry, eggs are an African favourite. Indulge your need for close-to-home comforts during the South African winter with a fragrant bowl of Kerala Curried Egg with Pap, Potato or Rice – a nod to what mom used to cook – or make your new all-day obsession Sweet Potato and Mince Bake Topped with Egg (recipes below).

The combination of egg and mince is a classic and favourite the world over, from American celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian who insists, “when I step into the kitchen in the morning, I go for the scrambled eggs with pine nuts and minced lamb”, to our own beloved South African bobotie, an all-smiles dinner for the whole family.

Eggs are everyday nutrition heroes. South Africa’s National Department of Health dietary guidelines allow for an egg a day. This imparts healthful doses of immune-boosting selenium and vitamin D, the B-vitamin riboflavin which is vital for converting food to the energy that your body can use, and choline, a nutrient grouped with the B-complex vitamins that is good for your brain.

Eggs are high in protein. According to the health site Healthline, which is written and reviewed by medical and wellness professionals, when assessing the quality of a protein it comes down to the amount of amino acids it contains and in what ratio. And “the biological value (a measure of protein quality) is often evaluated by comparing [other proteins] to eggs, which are given the perfect score of 100.” As we said earlier, eggs are sheer perfection!

The egg is a necessity and culinary marvel in most world cuisines, with even humble scrambled eggs – a quick-eat from daybreak to midnight in most households – provoking infinite debate among chefs on how best to prepare them: whisked, beaten with a fork, cream added, only butter, stirred constantly, folded lightly.

They’re truly an oval ode to joy, for while that lunch and dinner staple, the French omelette, has become a benchmark of culinary excellence, eggs are really a food you can play with and make your own. For instance, it’s well known that Ferran Adrià, who for years ran El Bulli, regarded as the world’s best restaurant, preferred to make his omelette with a packet of potato crisps baked into it, frittata-style. So your personal egg choices can’t be anything less than magnificent!

The egg is everyone’s food. It can also be paired with every ingredient you can imagine. It’s a treat with a spoonful of mascarpone, a grating of parmesan, a spoonful of just-made-the-way-you-like-it chakalaka or a handful of almost any fresh herb.

That rich golden yolk is just as appealing on a medallion of the best braaied beef steak as over a vegetable hash or simple mound of spicy rice. And let’s not forget the sandwich – we wager that just the thought of an egg and bacon butty has your tastebuds making menu suggestions.

Eggs are always the little pleasures you can use to reinvent and reinvigorate your plate, and not just at breakfast time!
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Kerala curried egg served with pap

Serves 2 – 4

Preparation time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 45ml (3 tbsp) sunflower oil
  • 5ml (1 tsp) fennel seeds
  • 5ml (1 tsp) garam masala
  • 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 10ml (2 tsp) chilli flakes
  • 2 potatoes, cubed and par-boiled
  • 10ml (2 tsp) ginger, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 300ml coconut milk
  • 300ml coconut cream
  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs
  • Pap, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the fennel seeds, garam masala and curry leaves, stirring continuously until fragrant.
  2. Add the onions, chili flakes and potatoes, and continue to cook, for about 2 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  3. Stir in the ginger and cook for a further 5 minutes and season to your taste.
  4. Mix in the tomato and cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk and cream and reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Gently add the eggs, cover and simmer for 2 minutes.
  7. Serve hot with the pap.


Sweet potato and mince bake topped with egg

Serves 2 – 4

Preparation time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15ml (1 tbsp) sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 x 410g tin chopped tomatoes, blended
  • 1 x 410g tin beans, such as butter beans or sugar beans, rinsed and drained
  • 120g frozen peas
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into cubed and par-boiled
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 large eggs

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and over a medium heat add the onion, garlic, chili, and pepper, and cook for a few seconds, continuously stirring.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°
  3. Add the mince, season well and cook until cooked through, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Mix in the beans, peas, potatoes, and parsley.
  6. Spoon into a casserole dish, crack the eggs on top and bake until the eggs are cooked, for about 5 minutes.

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