Chinese

The comfort of a Fried Egg

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I adore eggs. I could eat them any way. But my favorite has to be a warm oozy runny fried egg.

Having said that, its a love I’ve grown into. Growing up, a runny yolk would make me squirm. The lingering eggy smell (especially around the rim of a glass or mug I was sipping milk or tea out off) would make my stomach churn. But now, if its a fried egg, I can’t have it any other way. It has to be runny and it has to be oozy.

This love was taken to a whole other level when I discovered Nasi Goreng many years back on my first trip to Indonesia. For the first time, I saw my beloved served without toast. It sat atop a steaming pile of sweet and spicy rice, with a side of sambal ulek, fried onions, cucumber and krupuk kulit. I squished the yolk into the rice, let the gooey mess run in and coat every grain. I scooped it up with the crispy krupuk and mopped its every last trace at the very end from the plate with the cucumber. I was in heaven.

I had only loved fried eggs until then, but that meal I discovered the delightful and comfort of it.

From then on I’ve tried to experiment with various starchy beds to crown with a fried egg. I’ve sat it atop the usual Hakka noodles and fried rice. I’ve even gone as far as putting it on top of poha and upma. (It works brilliantly, trust me. You wont need a chutney or sauce ever again)

But on this particularly long day, I needed some eggy comfort. Plus I had been teased by post after post of eggy beauties by thedelicious on instagram. I needed to crown a more worthy bed of flavours and textures, than what I had been doing so far.

Thats how this stir fried noodles with mushrooms and purple cabbage, chilli chicken with cashews, chargrilled French beans and shallots on the side, finished off with a runny oozy fried egg, happened.

This was made with whatever I could find in my pantry and fridge.

Ingredients for the stir fried noodles:
3 nests of egg noodles
1/2 an onion, sliced thinly (I used the white part of 4-5 shallots)
1/2 a head of purple cabbage, sliced thinly
4-5 mushrooms, cut into chunks
1 tsp ginger, chopped finely
1 tsp, garlic, chopped finely
2-3 tsp of oil
Soy sauce (I like Kikkoman)
Rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Ingredients for the chilli chicken with cashews:
250 gms of chicken breast, sliced thinly
2-3 chillies, i used some local green peppers
1 1/2 tsp ginger (I like the stronger flavour of ginger here, you can adjust it as you like)
1 tsp garlic
1 tbs cornstarch
2-3 tsp of oil
7-8 cashews
Soy sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Ingredients for the side of shallots and french beans:
10 french beans, cut into bite size pieces
4-5 the green part of the shallots

Finally, 2 eggs!

Step 1: Heat a pot of water with plenty of salt and cook the noodles as per the instructions on the packet. I usually like to take it off the stove a little before its done because the noodles will cook some more in the wok.

Step 2: Now while that’s happening, chop everything up and marinate the chicken with some soy sauce, 1/2 tsp of ginger, the cornstarch and some salt and pepper. Make sure the chicken is evenly coated. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Step 3: For the stir fried noodles, heat a wok with the oil until it almost starts smoking. Now you need to be quick… add the onions, toss a bit until it starts changing colour. Add the ginger and garlic. Cook till you can smell the perfume of the two. Now add the mushrooms and a few seconds later, the cabbage. Toss them around a bit. The idea is to soften the cabbage a touch, but not wilt it down. Now add some salt and pepper to season the base along with a touch of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Now add the drained noodles. Toss the whole thing together. Add a touch more soy sauce to coat the noodles well. Check and adjust the salt and pepper. Voila, the noodles are ready.

Step 4: In another wok or pan heat some oil on medium heat. Add the cashews, toast them for a bit until they are golden. Now raise the temperature of the pan. Add the ginger and garlic. Let it splatter about for a bit. Add the chillies and toss for a few seconds. Now add the marinated chicken. Keep stirring. The chicken will tend to stick because of the cornstarch. After about 2-3 minutes, add a touch of water, some soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook for a little longer. It should take another 5-7 mins.

Step 5: On a lightly oiled hot skillet grill the french beans and the shallots for 2-3 minutes. The idea is to get some brown edges. Season with some salt and pepper.

Step 6: Put it all together in a bowl – the stir fried noodles on one side and the chilli chicken on the other. You’ll be able to make two big bowls out of this.

Step 7: Crack open the 2 eggs on a medium hot skillet with some oil in it. Let the egg cook for a minute at this temperature, then bring down the heat. The latter will cook the whites through while making the yolk nice and creamy. Add some oil to the sides if you think the edges are seeming dry. Divide the eggs into 2 and serve them on top of the heap of stir fried noodles and chilli chicken.

Enjoy!