Eggs are one of my favorite ingredients. I could easily eat them every day. And although I typically eat eggs for breakfast (my favorite is over easy), I’ve also found several recipes to incorporate eggs throughout other meals and to elevate my breakfast. Taking notes from different cultures, I’ve found some simple egg recipes using basic ingredients that I’m sharing below. So if you feel like your cooking is a little bland lately but you aren’t quite feeling too adventurous, these dishes are for you.
Shakshuka (Middle East, North Africa)
Shakshuka is a simple, one-pot dish made of a tomato sauce and eggs. The eggs are nestled into a semi-thick tomato sauce and cooked until the whites are done. It’s usually served family style with bread for dipping. I love this recipe because it’s quite simple and makes for such a nice presentation. I’ve tried some more traditional recipes, but it’s easy to cheat your way through this dish. If you would like to add meat, chorizo or other spiced sausage would go nicely. I typically eat this as the main course, but it could also be served with some grilled meat (like herbed chicken or lamb) and a light salad. Feta or plain yogurt are my go-to toppings, but even a spritz of lemon and a sprinkle of coarse salt will add vibrancy to this dish. Below is how I make a quick shakshuka with everyday ingredients.
Cheat Shakshuka: I talk about shakshuka more in this post.
- Olive Oil
- Onion: about one medium diced will do. You can add more if you like or if you’re trying to thicken to your sauce.
- Tomato Sauce: You’re looking for chunky sauce or a mixture of jarred, thin tomato sauce and a can of diced tomatoes. You can use fresh tomatoes, but I don’t love the skin in this dish so I usually lean towards canned. You’ll need enough to fill your pot about an inch deep.
- Mediterranean spices: Italian seasoning, garlic, oregano, etc. And salt and pepper. Just to season your sauce. Really just depends on how flavored your tomato sauce is starting out.
- Eggs, obviously. Usually about 4-6 will fit nicely into your pot. Depending on if this is a main dish or side, 1-2 eggs per person.
- Feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, or plain yogurt. You really just want something creamy and a little salty. If you don’t have, try some lemon juice and salt to top.
- Fresh herbs, nice but not necessary. Parsley or cilantro are my favorites.
- Flatbread: Pita, naan, thick tortilla. Whatever you got to scoop the mixture out and eat. You could also serve with rice instead.
In a large pot over medium heat, warm olive oil and add onions until soft. Add in your tomato mixture and simmer for several minutes. Sauce should be thick enough for when you make a small divet with your spoon it holds its shape for a few seconds. If not, simmer longer uncovered or add more diced tomatoes or onions. Once sauce is the right thickness, crack however eggs you want in your pot, cover, and cook until whites are set but yolks are still runny. Uncover and take off heat. Add cheese or yogurt and sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Serve in pot with a ladle. Give guests an empty bowl to ladle mixture and serve with bread or rice.
Eggs and Tomatoes (China)
When I studied Chinese in undergrad, this was one of the first dishes I learned to say in Chinese. I thought it was a random phrase to learn, mostly because I never noticed it on a Chinese menu before. When I went to a tutoring session that semester, this is the dish my tutor made me. She said it was something she made often and it reminded her of home, even though the ingredients were also basic Western ingredients, besides the soy sauce. The technique is what makes it more Chinese. I like to use my wok for this dish and I make sure to use a neutral oil, instead of olive oil.
The ingredients are simple (eggs, fresh tomato, salt, soy sauce, white pepper, green onions. And I like to add a bit of ketchup). But the technique of the recipe is what makes it taste so good. The tomatoes are sliced into thick wedges and the eggs are scrambled but done so to make thick chunks/ribbons. You cook the eggs first, remove from pan, then cook tomatoes before incorporating everything in the pan to finish. I use this Youtube video to nail down the technique. If you prefer a recipe to read, I always lean on Wok of Life’s recipes. It’s one of my favorite brunch at home dishes. I like to serve with a big bowl of fruit and some toast, but it works really well with rice. The sauce soaks into the rice and it taste incredible. I’m not quite sure how this taste so different than say a tomato omelet, but it’s definitely a dish I recommend trying out and tasting for yourself.
Jammy Eggs for Ramen (Japan)
Jammy, soy-soaked eggs are probably my favorite way to eat eggs currently. The texture of the yolk and the overall flavor is so incredible. I mostly use jammy eggs to top my ramen or other noodle dishes, but I also really like to put on top of an Asian rice bowl or even diced up and put on toast for breakfast. I always use these instructions when making the jammy eggs, then I just soak the eggs in soy sauce for anywhere between 15 minutes to a couple hours. Really just depends on my day. The steps and recipes are simple, but I do have a few tips to make them extra easy. If you want a quick lunch ramen recipe, check out my post here.
- Turn the eggs a couple times while boiling. This helps make sure the yolk isn’t on one side the entire time, making that side really thin and easily breakable.
- Peel under running water. The friction from the water helps remove the shell a little easier and ensures no tiny bits of shell remain on the egg.
- Soy sauce: Soaking the eggs in soy sauce turns them into a more flavorful, authentic Asian ingredient. I always use the soy sauce I soaked the eggs in some Asian dish in the next couple days so I don’t waste it. You can also dilute with a little water to get more volume. I often don’t submerse the whole egg in soy sauce, but just turn them frequently so each side gets a nice stained color and flavor.
- Make extra. One, because your first time trying these out you might break a couple. And two, they are so delicious, it’s nice to have for a couple days after. After you peeled them, keep them whole and store in a container in the fridge. Before serving, slice long ways and put in hot broth. The broth will quickly warm the egg so you don’t need to preheat. If you’re adding on top of a rice dish or something else not using broth, drop the whole egg in some hot water for a few minutes before slicing.
Half-Boiled Eggs and Toast (Singapore)
I stumbled onto this dish in a cafe in Singapore a couple years ago. It doesn’t sound like the ingredients would work well together, but it’s so amazing that I made it for months and months after I got back from Asia. The eggs are half-boiled, meaning the yolks are runny but about half the whites are too. The eggs are served cracked in a bowl with some soy sauce and pepper and kaya toast. Kaya is a coconut-based jam. Kaya toast is plain bread, kaya jam and lots of butter. If you don’t want to buy kaya jam, honey or apricot jam are my favorite subs. Basically anything that sweet, a bit creamy, but not overly fruity will work. You make a sandwich with the toast and slice into ‘soldiers’ to dunk into the egg mixture. Lastly, everything is usually served with sweet, milky coffee or tea. I tend to just make a strong black tea with sugar and hot milk. If you want to be more authentic, try hot tea with condensed milk.
For the technique on how to half-boil eggs, check out this post. It goes into nice detail about the how to cook the eggs but also how to prep the entire dish. You’ll feel like you’re in a small Singaporean coffee shop before you know it.
Minimal ingredients to completely change your egg game. I love being able to take things I always have at home and make them taste completely different. Do you have any egg recipes that are a bit out of the typical American menu? We would love to hear about them!