Sunday, June 26, 2011

Combat Gloom: Sunday Brunch

Dear Malaysian rain,
You are so inappropriate. You're like this manipulative woman I know. She pretends to bring the sun with her and makes everyone giddy for around 10 minutes (I think it has something to do with the jiggle factor and boisterousness). The minute you cozy up to her - BAM! - she rains on your parade. With you, Rain, it's just... literal (except that there's no parade, just long walks in my case). My editor and ex-client are currently babbling on Twitter about sunny breakfasts in Cairo and an Egyptian dish called Sharkasiyya (which I am yet to make - recipe please, Heba) and all I can think of is you and how you ruin all my plans. See, it would be nice to have brunch outdoors or even on the balcony but you keep us locked inside. Unless you live in a desert or in the Hindi movie, Lagaan, I don't know why anyone would ever use the idiom "right as rain". So today, I shall not give in to a prolonged spell of bad spirits. I shall instead pretend that my beloved albeit cancer-giving sun is out and I shall see it in the face of every sunny-side up I make until it comes back and becomes the light of my life again. Until then, stick it where the sun don't shine. :) 
Happy is the bride that the sun shines on      
P.S. Another reason why I dislike you is this - When I take a photo in color, I expect it to be in color. You make everything look black and white or just a random shade of gray. You can find a serious column about eggs written by pretentious columnist me if you continue below - published on Saturday, July 9th, 2011. 

For the most part of my life, I ate eggs prepared one way – brown and rubbery. According to my childhood-commandeered specifications, they had to have almost no bounce and should come together so that I could no longer see flecks of singled out egg yolk. I cringed at the thought of seeing them separated and didn't take to the idea that egg yolks could ooze onto the other elements already beautifying my plate.

On the other hand, the thought of green-tinged stiff yolk would have me discarding breakfast all-together and the thought of eating eggs without a side of bread was unacceptable. Naturally, bread was used to mask the eggy flavors and feed my growing carb addiction.

But today, I'd like to make a public apology to eggs; not for eating them because I'm heartless like that, but for underestimating their value in my little world of food. Only after making hollandaise, sabayon, mayonnaise and crème brulée all using egg yolks that I once condemned did I begin to realize that I had done eggs a great injustice. I had shunned them in their simplest, most unscrambled form. Shame on me.

On balmy, wet weekends, I like to work with whatever I have at home to disguise it as “brunch” on that languid morning. The practice usually leaves me scorning my sarcastic self as the meal in creation unfolds into something worthy of being called brunch.

It came to me as I was cracking an egg one Sunday, a thought that many take for granted. I should take the leap and eat, without hesitation, a sunny side up, involving its sinful runny yolk. My husband was doing it. What's standing in my way? Besides, it would come with the added benefit of using one pan. Childhood specifications should be abolished when it comes to food. You're old enough now, I thought, almost aloud. Get over your whiny self.

It was after overcoming this precise trouble that I let loose. Only then did I force away my involuntary “no thank you” that instinctively pops up when trying new things; concerning food that is and not roller coasters.

I can happily say that I can no longer count the number of runny egg yolks I've embraced. Filling cakes, pastries and souffles (both savoury and sweet) with air, lending a worthwhile base to sauces, giving custards their richness and meringues their shells, I don't know how vegans manage.

Besides, I couldn't manage living in Asia without embracing their egg-loving culture. I would be laughed out of the country. No joke. Malaysians add eggs to so many of their dishes that I cannot ever recall going out for one type or another version of local food and not finding at least one egg incorporated into someone's dish, whether cooked or cracked raw onto the dish, disguised or in clear view.

Here you can have sweet and sour eggs for breakfast or you can opt for Thai “Son-in-Law Eggs” with tamarind. I still can't find someone to explain to me why they're called that. There's also stir-fried shrimp omelettes and scorchingly hot egg curries.

You'll find eggs in soups, sweet egg tarts, dumplings, and spicy crab sauce; or openly flaunting themselves in entirety as a salted egg adapting an ancient method of preservation using salted charcoal going hand in hand with its sister, century egg (pi dan), that allows the yolk to reach a dark greenish grey color and the egg whites to turn a translucent jelly-like brown. Now do you understand why I would be laughed out?

While I make sunshine-inspired brunches in the rain, here's an idea for a summery breakfast by the beach that will take you to the closest mini-market for the ingredients, assuming you don't have this stuff lying around already. If you're in a bigger city, try sourcing out some good Egyptian sausage for this. It'll work its magic well but don't skip the chili and don’t use bread. Instead, shock your sleepy taste buds awake and teach your children to accept heat in the morning. They'll need it when they travel later on in life to pursue yoga in India or a party in Bali.

Spicy Brunch for Two
You'll need:
4 eggs
2 handfuls of wild rocket
3 medium potatoes, cubed (any kind will do. No fuss.)
2-3 bird's eye chili, sliced finely (depending on your tolerance for heat)
4 Vienna sausages, split length-wise and sliced (You can use anything else. That's what I had lying around.)
1 small red onion, diced
2 scallions, sliced
1 handful of parsley, chopped
A splash of olive oil
A walnut-sized piece of butter
salt/fleur de sel and freshly cracked pepper to taste 
Set a pan on the stove and allow it to reach medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil and add the onion and potatoes. Leave to cook for around 10 minutes. Add the sliced sausage, scallion and chili and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Turn up the heat in the last 3 minutes to scorch the edges of the potatoes and sausage. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley. In a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Break open eggs into the pan and immediately reduce your heat to low. Cook slowly until the whites are set and the yolks begin to thicken.
Serve up two eggs per person atop the spicy potatoes and sausages with a side of fresh wild rocket. 
I can't believe I spent years of my life not eating eggs like this. Liquid gold.


  1. This looks so delicious :) Love these kind of savory dishes and egg is my fav !

  2. Found your site from foodgawker. I love your photography. The font size, however, is painfully small. I subscribe to over 100 blogs, and it is the smallest and most unreadable I've ever seen. :-(

  3. Hi Kankana, thanks for passing by. :) If you ever choose to make it, share a photo!

  4. Hi Limes, thank you for your honesty. Much appreciated. I currently cannot find a font I've taken a liking to on Blogger and am trying to work through this issue. In the meantime and if you choose to come back, you can use "ctrl + =" on your browser. This will make the font bigger in a second and you can adjust it to your comfort. Thanks once again.

  5. This looks SO good--it's evening right now where I live and you've got me craving breakfast! Beautiful pictures, as usual. You must teach me your ways sometime! :)

  6. Hey Nourhan, nice of you to stop by again! :) Where do you live btw? Stop flattering me. x.

  7. I hear ya on this PMS weather! But hey, with brunch looking this good, I reckon you could get weather to be on your side!

  8. Ovenhaven: The weather is better today. Hopefully it shall stay that way for a bit. I hope the weather isn't messing about on your end.

  9. Ooh, i love anything egg-topped!! Amazing pics, thanks for sharing! :)

  10. The Muslim Wife's Kitchen: Thanks for stopping by. :)

  11. Hello!
    Lets swap places! I'm currently residing in Alexandria but originally from KL, and I really miss home especially the glorious food! Please take time exploring my city, we have so many things to discover, rain or shine :)

  12. Hey Luqman, I'm glad you found this place. :) KL is a wonderful city. I just find that it goes quiet a little too early and maybe, like you, nothing compares to home. Please enjoy Alexandria and its great people. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails