Just Add An Egg
Why does adding a fried egg to a meal make it so much better? Like a syringe of protein-rich dopamine straight to your brain that sends you writhing in gooey yellow ecstasy. Adding an egg to a dish can increase flavour tenfold, elevating it far beyond its means. There’s an almost womb-like comfort to eating an egg yolk – it provides a warming sense that everything is going to be okay.
Here in the UK, we adore eggs in all their forms, whether it’s boiled with Marmite soldiers, poached and placed daintily on avocado-smothered toast, or ferociously fried in bacon fat and slapped onto a plate of full English. In this article, we’re going to be focussing on two types of egg where the yolk takes centre stage: fried and raw.
Before we go any further, it’s probably best we get any egg-related puns out of the way, so I’ve compiled a shortlist below:
Eggsplain, eggspert, eggcellent, terri-fried, eggsotic, practical yolker, eggstatic, fry-day, New Yolk City, hatching a plan. I’m giving myself a headache now.
Right, let’s crack on (last one, I promise). According to a study by Egg Info, we eat around 13.1 billion eggs a year in the UK, which is an average of around 195 eggs per person. Despite the demand, only 27.5% of these eggs come from caged hens, meaning that the remaining 71% are free-range and 1.5% are barn-raised. Thanks, perhaps in part, to Jamie Oliver’s 2008 documentary Fowl Dinners where Oliver worked to expose the practices of battery farming poultry to the general public.
Before we lose ourselves in an abstraction of egg statistics, it’s probably time to introduce our special guest. Tina Choi (Doobydobap) is a TikTok chef, recipe developer and presenter who specialises in Korean, Japanese, and East Asian cooking. Her refined take on home cooking has helped amass her a following of 1.8 million. Naturally, eggs play a huge part in Tina’s cooking.
“A phrase I love to say is ‘crowned with an egg,’ it’s really that cherry on top to add an extra layer of fat and protein,” says Tina. Not only do eggs add an element of creamy indulgence, there’s even some science behind their joy. “Eggs are a perfect emulsifier and binder so work really well to make many dishes cohesive,” she continues.
So where can eggs actually be used? “My favourite dish to make using raw egg is a dish called tamago kake gohan,” says Tina. The dish consists of just three ingredients – “rice, egg, and soy sauce.” Cracking a raw egg on the soy-coated rice exploits the rice’s residual heat, using it to cook the yolk.
As for being scared of eating raw eggs? “Babe, it’s 2021,” says Tina, “we did not survive a pandemic to be scared of raw eggs!”
Tina’s a dab hand on the hobs but you don’t need to be a trained chef to use eggs to your advantage. Sausage sandwiches are a great starting point. Especially when it comes to utilizing the beauty of a fried egg. The uninitiated will pluck last night’s sausages out of the fridge, unwrap them from their foil prison, and eat them cold. An accomplished ‘eggs-man’, however, will place those franks between two buttered slices with a fried egg and allow the golden ooze to dribble down their fingers.
Packet noodles are also a great introduction to the world of “egg crowning”. If you’re not “levelling up your noodles'' in 2021, you truly have been living under a rock. The strategic placement of a jammy egg yolk can promote your packet noodles from student classic to something your fellow Indomie-enthusiast would be proud of.
Leftover curries, biryanis, kedgeree, shakshuka, spicy potatoes, steaks, and sarnies. All of them can be given an eggy upgrade. Next time you’re in the kitchen, don't be shy: crack open an egg and let rivers of rich creamy yolk spill all over your dinner. You won’t regret it.