Eggs. Where would humanity be without these super nutritious yet humble oval balls with their fragile shells? They come in many colours, shapes and sizes.
From the most commonly eaten chicken eggs to ostrich eggs that are big enough to feed 18 people, and the highly prized fish eggs, or caviar.
Boiled, fried, poached, scrambled or baked, the egg is the most versatile food known to man.
In fact, its essential role in feeding families worldwide is so highly appreciated that in 1996, World Egg Day became an actual day to celebrate.
Plus, if there were no eggs, there would be no chickens, but let’s not get into the eternal discussion of which came first.
In Malaysia, eggs are used in many ways, whether as the highlight of a dish or as an important ingredient.
Imagine if mankind had never discovered that eggs could be eaten, think of all the wonderful dishes that would not exist today.
Here are just five of the many dishes that use eggs that Malaysians simply could not live without:
1. Telur masak kicap
Which Malaysian household has not fried an egg, then doused it in sweet soy sauce at one time or another?
It’s the perfect five-minute dish for students and those in a rush or for those on a limited budget. Yet, just as many enjoy it for that nostalgic taste of childhood.
The combination of a crispy-edged fried egg drizzled with sweet soy sauce and sprinkled with sliced chillies and spring onions sitting atop a steaming bed of rice is enough to make anyone hungry.
2. Nasi lemak
Yes, everyone knows that the egg is not the star of nasi lemak, but what would Malaysia’s national anytime treat be without it?
A satisfying plate of nasi lemak does not need the pricey addition of fried chicken, rendang or squid sambal – just a simple hard-boiled egg to be enjoyed with the crisp ikan bilis, peanuts, spicy sambal and fragrant coconut rice.
3. Hawker fried oyster omelette
One of the country’s favourite hawker foods is the greasy, addictive fried oyster omelette, otherwise known as “oh chien”.
The dish has juicy, fresh oysters atop a bed of crisp sticky egg batter, fried to perfection, with a side of chilli sauce.
It’s not an easy dish to cook-up as you will have to strike the right balance between oysters and egg. Penangites are huge fans of this delicious dish and most would have fond memories of fighting with one’s sibling over the juicy oysters.
4. Roti John
This delicious sandwich is especially popular during the holy month of Ramadan as it’s a hearty meal to break long hours of fasting with.
It is essentially a long, soft bun slit down the middle and stuffed with an omelette made with minced mutton or chicken and chopped onions.
The omelette mixture is first poured onto a piping hot pan to cook. The bun is split and placed atop the omelette as it cooks, and once the omelette is cooked through, the entire roll is flipped over to toast the other side of the bun before being served.
Needless to say, Roti John will not be a complete meal without the all-important egg to act as a binding agent for the minced meat and onions.
5. Roti telur
Roti telur is a staple at every Indian-Muslim eatery, and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper… well, even as a tea-time treat.
The egg is encased in roti canai dough and traditionally served in a rectangular shape with thick, spicy curry or dahl dishes for dunking.
Together with a cup of hot coffee or tea, this is a Malaysian favourite made in heaven.