May 18th, 2009

Dig In: Eggs (Quickest Curried Eggs)

eggs-tomato-curry-sauce1

Photo: Martha Stewart

Eggs are magical. They can turn parmesan into a rich sauce (like in our Whole Wheat Pasta with Ramps and Creamy Parmesan), turn milk and stale bread (or muffins) into a fluffy pudding (try our Banana Date Bread Pudding), turn lemon into a frothy sauce (throw together chicken and chickpeas with avgolemono), and turn layers of fresh veggies into a strata for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (Zucchini Mint Frittata, anyone?). Yes, breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. That’s the best thing about eggs! They can make a quick, convenient, healthy meal anytime of day. (A lifesaver when you have a toddler.)

Enjoyed in moderation, eggs are an important part of a balanced diet. But with allergy and cholesterol concerns, among a few, eggs have gotten a bad rap. What’s the real deal?

What’s the scoop on eggs?

Over the years, many have come to think of eggs as an unhealthy choice that should be drastically limited in a healthy diet. While moderation is key (when is it not?), the idea that eggs can cause cholesterol or heart disease, for example, is, at best, questionable. In fact, eggs offer great nutritional benefits that far outweigh any health drawbacks.

Why are eggs good for you?

Eggs contain almost every mineral and vitamin that the human diet requires except for vitamin C. Wheat grass juice is the only other consumable product for which the same can be said. It’s no surprise that eggs are so nutritious. In the same way nuts and seeds are “nature’s nurseries,”  egg contains everything needed for the nourishment of a developing chick. Makes perfect sense!

In addition to supplying all essential amino acids, according to World’s Healthiest Foods, eggs are a very good source of:

  • selenium
  • iodine
  • vitamin B2

…and a good source of

  • molybdenum
  • phosphorus
  • vitamin B5
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin D
  • protein

Oops. Did I put protein last on that list? I didn’t type in any specific order. If I had, protein would have been on top since egg proteins are 97% digestible. Combined with the fact that eggs have one of the highest quality protein in the food chain means that these babies are a superior, low-cost single food source of protein. That’s good stuff.

But don’t skip the yolks!

While the whites contain about 50% of eggs’ protein, all of the other good stuff is packed in the yolk. Plus, the yolk isn’t allergenic. Yes, I know that eggs are one of the top 8 allergens, but it’s really just the whites (which is why it is recommended that children 8-12+ months without a family history of egg allergies only be fed yolks)! The proteins in the yolks are more easily digestible. And remember the part about eggs having all of the vitamins and minerals that we need? Well, that’s all in the yolks, too.

Egg white omelets no more! Still concerned about cholesterol? Check out this easy-to-read breakdown of the myths that feed eggs bad rep. (See, I told you: egg white omelets no more!) Allergies your concern? Or want specifics on how to introduce eggs to your infant? Go to Wholesome Baby Food for details. With these guides and a renewed belief in eggs’ nutritional benefits, you can comfortably bring this versatile ingredient back to the forefront of your cooking… at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I’ve eaten hard boiled eggs in curries before, but I’ve always thought of them as more of a garnish than a central focus. This recipe from Everyday Food changed that. Why not make eggs the ingredient in a quick curry-inspired dish? Brilliant! Eggs in a spiced tomato sauce reminds me of Shakshouka, an Israeli (and, apparently, Tunisian) dish that I love. But this is WAYYYY easier. I always use hard boiled eggs (mostly because I make a bunch in advance to have around), but soft boiled or poached would work nicely, too.

Quickest Curried Eggs, adapted from Everyday Food
(can be served to kids 12+ mos)

2 tbsp organic vegetable oil
1 organic onion, halved and thinly sliced (I’ve used shallots, too—about 3-4 depending on their size)
4 cloves organic garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp fresh, organic ginger, finely minced or grated
1 tbsp organic curry powder
24-ounce jar highest quality all-natural or organic tomato sauce*
8 organic hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
salt and pepper
organic whole yogurt; organic limes, cut in wedges; organic scallions, chopped (for garnish)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions, garlic, and ginger until onions soften. Add curry powder, stir, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add marinara sauce and eggs (if using hard boiled). Cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes, stirring gently to avoid breaking up eggs. (If using more fragile soft boiled or poached eggs, cook so that you can serve hot or reheat separately, and spoon hot sauce on top before serving. Alternatively, you can poach the eggs in the curry tomato sauce.)

3. Season older kid and adult portions with salt and pepper. Serve over rice, with a dollop of yogurt, sprinkle of chopped scallions, and side of lime wedges.

*The only jarred sauce I ever use is Rao’s brand. Unfortunately, I think it might only be available regionally. Anyone have other suggestions?