Wok Fried Eggs

Everyone should have a version of Kylie Kwong’s ‘Mrs Jang’s Home-Style Fried Eggs’ in their repertoire. I’ve been in love with these eggs since discovering them a few of years back; they never fail to satisfy (especially if you need a morning pick-me-up). They sit firmly in my cookbook of emergency medicine for the soul. Crispy, hot, silky, tangy, soft, sweet, spicy, INTERESTING !!!

version 1 of mrs Jang's eggs

The Western world would partner this dish with some form of toast, but I assure you it just wouldn’t work. If anything, I guess you could add rice to make it into a wholesome supper instead. Beautifully appealing, this attractive dish allows you to bring out your artistic flare on the plate and leaves you suitably satisfied without the regrettable, uncomfortable bloating of a traditional British ‘fry-up’. At first glance you ponder what you’re going to eat afterwards, but it’s deceptively filling.

I say ‘version’ as I don’t think I’ve ever made them the same twice, and generally they’re based on whatever I have to hand at the time.

The basic concept is to deep-fry a couple of eggs and top them with an array of complimentary yet contrasting embellishments.

v2 of wok fried eggs

How attractive is this dish? Look at the colours!

The fundamentals are as follows, but beyond that is down to you – mix it up and find your own balance; my preferred version entails shallow-frying and some serious spicing.

Ingredients (per serving):

  • 2 large free-range eggs – duck eggs if you have them
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Furikake (Japanese sesame seed and seaweed seasoning)
  • vegetable oil

Method:

Heat at least 1cm depth of oil in a high-sided frying pan or wok until it’s shimmering hot, but not smoking. Crack the eggs in and allow them to bubble up and go crispy. The eggs may need basting with hot oil to cook the top evenly, but you want to ensure that the yolks remain soft. Remove with a slotted spoon to allow the excess oil to drain. Plate and garnish decoratively with your choice of accompaniments.

Variations could include any kind of hot sauce like tobasco, coriander leaves, ground white pepper, chives, mango chutney, crispy fried onions, even lime pickle. Personally, I like it to be hot hot hot.

You want the outcome to taste fresh and clean, have balance, and leave you wanting more yet deciding you don’t need it.

kylie kwong style eggs

Mrs Jang's home style fried eggs

another version of wok fried eggs

I am mortified that we never got to visit Kylie’s Sydney restaurant whilst living in Australia – I’ve heard great things about Billy Kwong Chinese Eating House, and if this dish is anything to go by, it’s more than worth a look.

The original recipe features in Kylie’s 2007 book ‘Recipes and Stories‘. 

Cold Brew Coffee

With long, hot days like we’re lucky enough to be experiencing in the UK at the moment, cold-brewed coffee is a revelation.

Icing hot coffee, pah, old hat. Why? Acidity.

lavazza rossa coffee beans

Although cold-brewed (aka cold-pressed) coffee takes much longer to make, the results are staggeringly different due to the lack of acidity and bitterness. The flavour of the coffee is king; clean, aromatic and fresh.

This gloriously refreshing and smooth caffeine hit is terribly simple to make at home, and can be kept in the fridge for up to a month. Now, there are fancy contraptions on the market and special ‘infusing jugs’ similar to a tea-tiers, but I just used a 2 litre plastic bottle.

cold pressed coffee

Method:

Add 4tbsp of roughly ground coffee beans to 2 litres of cold water, leave it for 3 days and then filter. Enjoy with an ice cube or two!

Cold pressed coffee

The beans need to be coarsely ground so that you don’t end up with muddy coffee, and I’d recommend using a paper coffee filter to get it as clear as possible. You could always sieve out the grounds first to avoid clogging the filter. My experimentation to date has me concluding that although you can strain and drink it after 24 hours, the taste really improves after about 90 hours of steeping. I imagine it would be relatively hard to ever produce two batches exactly the same anyway.

Apparently cold-brew works well with milk and sugar should you be that way inclined, but I certainly haven’t tried it yet.

Food Fit For… Winter

“What about food fit for Winter dad?”

Fair point – sorry about that darling, I didn’t realise at the grand old age of 4 you’d really be bothered about things like that.

So this one is all about you and your even more adventurous (bonkers) outlook on the culinary world than Felix has.

Winter is a duracell-powered, blue-eyed princess with verbal diarrhoea and a broken off-switch. We love her very much and wouldn’t change her for the world.

Bonkers Winter

Last night she devoured her first escargot (snails – Helix pomatia to be precise). Tasty little gastropods that I adored as a child in the South of France.

bbq snailsSnails for the first time

I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a few romantic alfresco lunches with my daughter this past week whilst housesitting for friends with a beautiful garden. She’ll be off to school soon and I realise that these idyllic occasions will become inevitably rarer or at least less spontaneous. It’s an entirely justifiable use of annual leave from work in my eyes.

fish in the garden

Winter at lunch

I’ve spent some time describing how important these little family meals in the sunshine really are – they are some of my earliest, fondest, clearest and most cherished memories from my own childhood. I can still remember every tiny detail from an early evening dinner in France … parking near the deserted market square in Saint-Raphaël and bundling into a busy little restaurant packed with locals; earlier that day my parents had asked the market traders where they went to eat. I ate escargot followed by frogs legs and was fascinated by my father’s plate of Steak tartare adorned with a beautifully fresh raw egg yolk. Many would balk at the idea of eating snails and frogs legs, but nobody made a fuss and it was therefore entirely normal for me. I suspect these memories form the basis of my emotive attitude towards food.

I recall how we were all so impressed by the dark-haired waitresses deftly slicing the foils from bottle after bottle of red wine, swiftly whipping out corks with a trusty ‘Waiter’s Friend’. Practice makes perfect I guess.

And then there was the fish.. wheeled out on a trolley in all its piscine glory and then filleted and plated at the table with such dead-pan precision and speed that you daren’t clap for fear of offending. An awe-inspiring spectacle to quietly admire. One day I hope to return to that spot.

I want to build equal memories for our children.

Although I recall my first ever trip to McDonalds a number of years later, I’m sure you can appreciate it didn’t provide quite the same inspiration.. I wonder how I’d have reacted to French cuisine if I’d already been accustomed to burgers and chicken nuggets.

So back to sitting in the garden with Winter and a can of oily fish with a green salad and home-sprouted Alfalfa seeds. Bliss.

anchovies for lunchIt still amazes me that Felix and Winter will devour whatever delicacies I place in front of them, but I guess it shouldn’t surprise me; did my parents think the same of us? Our attitudes to food are important, especially as parents. We must be mindful and avoid shaping our future generations to rely on the drudgery of mass-produced, over-processed muck.

Keep trying new things and let them explore. No child is going to like the taste of everything they try, but at least let them decide for themselves in an unbiased environment. This little monkey is obsessed with fruit – so much so that we have to hide the fruit bowl when she’s helped herself to clearly more than enough!

Winter eating an apple

We’re proud of you Winter.

At what age is a set of kitchen knives an acceptable gift?

Winter in the Meadow