You're probably eating more eggs during lockdown ... here are fresh African ways to cook them

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South Africans aren’t stupid and, over the past six months, we have significantly upped our egg intake. Image: Istock
South Africans aren’t stupid and, over the past six months, we have significantly upped our egg intake. Image: Istock

RECIPE | TRENDING


Since consumers have been confined to their homes during the lockdown, egg sales have increased by between 50% and 60%. Anna Trapido tracks the  value of the humble egg and gives us two recipes reflecting egg use in the continent’s distinct regions and food cultures.

By persevering, the egg walks on legs. So goes the proverb of the Oromo people in Ethiopia.

It reassures us that those with patience and determination ultimately triumph in tough times.

This egg-inspired adage is apposite in the context of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, when almost all of us are feeling frightened, frustrated and financially challenged.

While there is no pandemic panacea, eating well can and should play a part in Covid-19 coping strategies.

No one food group can single-handedly prevent illness (and an excess of anything is unhealthy), but protein plays a major role in maintaining the robust immune responses required right now.

eggs
Image: Istock

The problem is that many proteins are expensive, but eggs offer an affordable exception to the rule.

Statistics from the SA Poultry Association for the first quarter of this year show that the average egg producer price was R18.53/kg compared with R23.83/kg for chicken, R24.62/kg for pork and R47.80/kg for beef.

Let’s be honest – it’s not just our health that’s suffering during lockdown – tempers are short and many families are fighting, so we don’t need to add hangry (hungry and angry) to our already unsettled, emotional repertoire. Enter eggs.

A study in June published in the Current Developments in Nutrition journal found that eating eggs can stabilise blood sugar, which keeps consumers satiated for longer and is critical in maintaining good moods in bad times.

Eggs are also packed with anxiety-reducing zinc, vitamin D and magnesium.

Struggling to think straight amid the confusion of Covid-19? The same study indicated that eggs contain the amino acid choline, which is a building block for the acetylcholine neurotransmitter, and also increase levels of mood-, memory- and learning-enhancing dopamine.

South Africans aren’t stupid and, over the past six months, we have significantly upped our egg intake.

“Since consumers have been confined to their homes during the lockdown, egg sales have shot through the roof. There has been a huge increase in demand and sales have increased by between 50% and 60%.”

In late April, Leander Robbertze, CEO of Heidel Eggs in Mpumalanga, told Farmer’s Weekly: “Since consumers have been confined to their homes during the lockdown, egg sales have shot through the roof. There has been a huge increase in demand and sales have increased by between 50% and 60%.”

READ: The most delicious and disgusting food trends in SA

Mogala Mamabolo, general manager of the SA Poultry Association’s egg division, confirmed that there had been an increase in egg sales since the start of lockdown. “Even though restaurant uptake has decreased, this consumption has shifted to home use,” Mamabolo said.

The lockdown has been long and even the most creative cooks have exhausted their existing egg recipe repertoire.

Just because we are feeling poorer doesn’t mean that we have lost interest in the topics that defined us before this wretched virus came calling.

We are what we eat, and City Press readers have always been interested in African epicurean experiences.

It’s impossible to say how long this pandemic will last, but, as the proverb predicts, perseverance will prevail.

Until then, here are three innovative and affordable African egg recipes:

Chef Nyambura Mukururi’s Tanzanian Chips Mayai

No judgement, please. Lockdown level 2 is here and, while we all know that drinking alcohol in moderation is advisable, many of us occasionally forget. Uncomfortable mornings after the night before are made infinitely easier with this Tanzanian-style omelette. The direct Swahili translation of the popular street food is “chips and egg”. 
It is almost always served with a generous slosh of chilli sauce and/or a helping of spiced kachumbari, a light and fresh tomato and onion salad.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • coriander/dhania (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbs grated cheese (optional)
  • 1 tbs sunflower oil
  • ½ a plate of slap chips 

Combine the eggs, tomato, herbs and cheese. Season to taste. 

Heat a pan, add oil and refry the chips until they begin to brown.

Pour the egg mixture over the chips.

Cook on medium heat until the egg is set (about two minutes).

Turn the omelette so it can brown on both sides.

Serve hot.

1
Image: Richard Goode


Cindy Valayadam’s SA chicken and egg curry

From Durban Curry: So Much of Flavour – People, Places and Secret Recipes by Erica Platter and Clint Friedman

10 hard-boiled eggs, shelled, halved

¼ cup oil

2 bay leaves

3 cinnamon sticks

3 star anise

1 large onion, chopped

1 sprig curry leaves

1 sprig thyme

1 tbs ginger and garlic, crushed

4 tbs curry powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

4 medium tomatoes, grated

2kg chicken pieces

4 potatoes, cut into quarters

Enough oil to deep-fry potatoes

Coriander leaves

Heat ¼ cup oil in pan.

Add bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, curry leaves, thyme and onion.

Cook until onions are lightly golden. Add ginger, garlic and powdered spices.

Cook for a minute, then add tomatoes. Cook until mixture is the consistency of a paste.

Add chicken pieces.

Cook 30 for minutes. Deep-fry potatoes and add to chicken.

Cook for 10 minutes.

Add halved eggs, cook for another five minutes.

Garnish with coriander and serve with your favourite starch.


eggs
Image: Clinton Friedman

Algerian Basboussa Cake

(recipe by Algerian pastry chef Um Safia)

Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 1⁄2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3⁄4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon grated zest

Syrup

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange flower water (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 

Preheat oven 180°C. Grease baking dish (approximately 25 x 15cm).

Combine sugar and water from the syrup ingredients. Bring it to boil then simmer until it is a pale golden colour. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice and flower water. Set aside to cool.

Place all the wet ingredients in a bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time. Mix well.

Pour mixture into baking dish. Score the surface with a knife into equal squares/diamonds.

Bake until firm and golden. Approximately 30-40 minutes.

Remove cake from oven and immediately cut through the scored squares/diamonds. Pour the syrup over the top and set aside for at least an hour to soak in.

2
Image: Richard Goode


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