Alyona and I make sure that there are always atleast a dozen eggs in our refrigerator at any time. It is not only a health food it is also a convenience food. Quick to cook, eggs take on any flavour easily and are always easy on the palate. Besides they are so versatile – you can have them for breakfast, or lunch as a curry, for tea time as egg sandwiches or cake and also as a pudding such as caramel custard, etc. The list is very long and it is not quite possible to name all the dishes that can be made with eggs.
Healthy start to the day
Starting the day with eggs for breakfast gives you a nutritious start to the day. This is because eggs have nearly all the essential nutrients that your body needs. Packed with fourteen essential nutrients, eggs certainly give you a kick start to a successful day. If anybody had told you that eggs are not good because they contain cholesterol, then let me assure you that the fact is an egg contains only 5 grams of fat, no trans fats and 70 calories.
Also research shows that if you eat an egg daily, it does not significantly raise LDL (bad cholesterol) levels or pose a threat of heart disease because it is saturated and trans fats that raise the risk of heart problems.
For breakfast there are many eggy options. You can quickly rustle up an omelette or fried egg or poached egg or scrambled egg. But whenever you want to have something more substantial Spanish Omelette would be an excellent option. It is easy to make but very filling and you can make a meal with this. All you need to do is sauté sliced onion and chopped green capsicum in a tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan for a couple of minutes. If you so wish you can also add red and yellow capsicums and they will make the omelette look more colourful. Then add a few boiled potato cubes and sauté for a minute. Beat five egg whites and a whole egg together with salt and black pepper powder and add to the vegetables. Cover the pan and keep it in a preheated oven at 180°C for fifteen minutes. Cut into wedges and serve hot with hot garlic bread. Simply yummilicious!
Goodness of egg whites
Now you know how healthy eggs are. But if you are worried about the cholesterol or if anybody in the house has been advised to avoid consuming cholesterol dense foods, then simply remove the yolks and have only the whites. If you make omelettes with only egg whites, they can be a bit bland. So embellish them with some chopped onions, chopped coloured capsicums, tomato and mushrooms and voila! you have an omelette that is as delicious as it is great to look. For added nutrition serve it with toasted brown bread.
Test for freshness
To check if the egg is fresh immerse it in a bowl of water. If the egg floats on its side, it is absolutely fresh. But if it floats vertically, rounded end up, it means it is two to three weeks old. And if the egg floats right on the surface, it could be several months old and should be discarded.
Another thing I learnt about an egg is that it has as many as 17,000 tiny pores on its surface through which it absorbs flavours and odours. So make sure to store them in cartons so that they remain fresh.
How good are they
Can you believe that eggs can help you lose weight? You will if you didn’t so far when I explain to you how it works. The protein in the eggs controls the rate at which your body absorbs calories. When you compare an egg based breakfast to an egg less breakfast, each containing the same amount of calories, people who had eggs will have fewer calories at lunch because they will feel less hungry and over a 24-hour period they will have as much as 400 calories or thereabouts less.
Choline, an essential nutrient that is necessary for good health, is not produced by the human body in adequate amounts but can be found in egg yolks. So you can say that eggs increase brainpower.
Eggs also help to keep your eyes healthy. Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, that are found in egg yolks, are believed to help protect eyes against damage due to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Research has also shown that these antioxidants may be very important in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65) as well as the risk of cataracts. Those who eat eggs daily are less likely to have cataracts when compared to those who do not eat them or eat them less often.
How eggs help in cooking
Eggs need your full attention while they are being cooked. Heat makes egg whites stiffen a mixture whereas egg yolks make it smooth, rich and slightly thick. So yolks are necessary when cooking sauce and soups.
While making custard the egg white sets the milk or cream until firm, while the egg yolk enriches it. Egg whites are also used to clarify stock for consommé and aspic. Whole eggs or just the egg yolks can be mixed with a little water and brushed on bread to give it a glossy sheen. Whole eggs alone or mixed with a tablespoon or two of water or oil, can be used as binder for coating foods that are to be deep-fried. Yolks are also excellent emulsifiers which is why they are used to make mayonnaise sauce.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.