I know not everyone is going to be with me on this one, but poached eggs have always been my favorite. Scrambled eggs are nice, and so are hard-boiled eggs, but for me, the creamy poached-ness is where it’s at. Poached eggs are easy to make, too: just crack an egg into boiling water, set the timer for 3 minutes, reduce the heat to medium, and let the egg gently bob about in the pot. Skim off the foam that rises to the top — if you don’t, it’ll run down the sides of the pot and onto the stove — and then gently lift out the poached egg with a slotted spoon. A snap.
But you know what’s even easier? Cracking an egg onto a leftover stir-fry or pilaf, covering the pan, and just stepping back for 3 minutes. Just be sure to turn down the heat to medium-low to avoid overcooking the egg. It’s a simple, delicious way to use up leftovers. It’s also an amazing way to make breakfast in 5 minutes flat.
You can use whatever leftover pilaf or stir-fry you have on hand to make this recipe — just skip to the part where you start to re-warm your leftovers and go from there!
Indian Pilaf with Quick-Poached Egg
The starting pilaf serves about 4 for dinner, so if you have 2 diners, you’ll have plenty of leftover pilaf for the next day’s breakfast.
1/2 cup long-grain brown rice (basmati is best, jasmine is another good choice)
1 cup mung beans OR brown lentils
Ghee or butter for sautéeing (ghee is a traditional Indian cooking fat — it’s just clarified butter — so if you want maximum authenticity, stick with ghee)
1 small onion, chopped
1 or 2 tablespoons canned jalapeño pepper OR 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, chopped
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. turmeric
Eggs for poaching
Note: If you’re not such a fan of spices, only use 1 tsp. of each spice. If you don’t like spicy foods, cut the amount of jalapeño in half, too.
Place the rice and 1 cup water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and cook the rice for about 30-40 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the water and is fluffy. In another pot, simmer the beans with 2 cups water for about 15 minutes or until the beans have reached the tenderness you like. Drain and set aside. Note that you can use leftover cooked rice in this dish if you have some on hand!
Heat the ghee over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onion and rice and cook for about 5 minutes or until rice is turning golden brown and onion is almost translucent. Stir in beans, jalapeño, and spices. Reduce heat to low and cook for 3 minutes or so to let the flavors mingle.
At this point, you can serve the pilaf for dinner or keep on going and poach an egg over individual servings…or serve half and keep half for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Place an individual serving of leftover pilaf in a small saucepan with a small pat of ghee or butter. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until pilaf has warmed through. Crack an egg on top of the pilaf, cover the pan, and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook for 3 minutes undisturbed.
Serve immediately. If you like, garnish with a bit of freshly chopped cilantro.
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