I have been a fan of eggs since I can remember. My grandfather was the one to extensively introduce everyone in the family to the superb taste and nutritional importance of eggs. Be it the classic English ways of cooking it like scrambled eggs, poached eggs, sunny side up fried eggs or the more Indian ways of cooking it through maska omelettes, anda bhurji or various forms of egg curries, I am in love with each one of them. There is something magically enticing about the combination of proteinaceous egg whites with the fatty, more viscous egg yolk culminating in a nutrition packed healthy dish.
Eggs are a rich source of essential proteins, fats and vitamins. It’s a healthy meal component for all age groups, as also during lactation and convalescence. The value of the nutritional importance of eggs has been recognized and documented in several ways in India. I remember seeing the National Egg Co-ordination Committee (NECC) advertisements on TV, with big sports stars like Sachin Tendulkar and Saina Nehwal telling the public the importance of eggs. My favourite one is the one with Devang Patel and his little kiddo companions singing the glory of eggs! This one showed many egg preps and had the ‘Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande’ tagline!!!
Perhaps the more memorable TV appearance that eggs made was through Govinda’s song ‘Ande ka Funda’ from the Bollywood movie Jodi No. 1. An entire song having philosophical bearings attributed to the egg in a light hearted manner. The egg has humour, universality, health and philosophy in this song and it’s a nice perky one to listen to 🙂
I have my own interpretation of the Ande ka funda which I wish to put forth here 😛 It is derived from the egg preparation that I have enjoyed the most since childhood – the Sunny side up form of egg fry 🙂 And the reasons for it range from the sophisticated yet philosophical name of the prep to its simplicity to its awesome taste.
For those of you who have never seen or eaten it yet, it is a simple egg fry prepared in a fry pan by just plopping open an egg and allowing the egg material to flow out and cook with the egg yolk (yellow) surrounded by egg white. Due to the free flow nature of the egg white it often flows in different directions, making the egg white spread out and get shapeless at times. There are the artistic or obsessive cooks (yours truly included!) who fret over the spread of the egg white and often end up twisting and turning the fry pan to get perfect circular egg whites surrounding the yolk. The egg is allowed to cook to whatever extent you wish to, depending on whether you like the central yolk to be completely cooked or runny or somewhere in between. Then you season it with salt and pepper and you are done!!! It’s literally cooked with just these basic ingredients! It’s the first thing that I learnt to cook in the kitchen; even before Maggi 🙂 Grabbing a forkful of the slightly runny yolk with the whites that are crisp on the underside and softly cooked on top is the most heavenly bite of breakfast you can ever get!! And then you can eat it with toast, rice or even just by itself. This is Ande ka Funda No. 1 for me – Simplicity. You do not need elaborate ingredients or equipment or even a lot of time to cook this delicious egg fry. Just the basics suffice.
This egg dish is also one of the most beautiful looking egg preps. As in, it appears bright shiny yellow in the centre, surrounded by clear whites and seasoned with pepper. White with yellow is a very pretty colour combination to look at! Like they say, we eat food with our eyes before our mouths – this one completely stands this test with its beautiful and composed look 🙂 The Sunny Side Up dish is a very true representation of the structural composition of an egg, and I love it’s appearance for this reason as well. The egg components lose their structural integrity when we whisk and beat them to make egg scrambles or omelettes or French toast – but not with the Sunny Side Up egg fry! This is Ande ka Funda no. 2 – Beauty in true representation.
The Sunny Side Up is made with several variations. For instance, sometimes two eggs are used instead of one, thus giving us two egg yellows and whole lot of egg whites around it. Many kid recipes give this dish the appearance of a cat, or mickey mouse by shaping the egg white around the egg yolk to represent two eyes! There are also variations where the egg is fried by confining it in moulds and different shapes, such as in sections of bell peppers, or inside holes carved in slices of bread or even in readymade moulds that are otherwise also used for cakes. Different shapes make it look even prettier at times! This is Ande ka Funda no. 3 – Flexibility. The dish is flexible enough to assume your favourite shapes whilst retaining its beauty and nutritional importance.
Now coming to a more zoomed out thinking about the Sunny Side Up dish. There is something about the name Sunny side up that makes me feel extremely positive. It’s probably the optimism that we associate with sunshine after a rainy day or the warmth of the sun during chilly winters that leads to this feeling about the name. Bright and sunny is our representation of happy warmth! And that is what the name sings to us. It’s something that tells us to put up our Sunny Side (happy side) up despite the endurance of heat and getting fried up on the bottom!!!! And this is the final and probably the most important Ande ka Funda! Funda No. 4 – Perk up and get your sunny side up always 🙂
So in short, that is my version of the ‘Ande ka Funda’ derived from my favourite childhood breakfast. Simplicity, beauty, flexibility and a happy sunny optimism. Some of life’s refreshing lessons come from very simple everyday things and food is one important component for me in this case. Food is an inspiration for thought (Food for thought literally!!). I am often criticized by many people around me for this quality of attributing a preaching personification to food– since it spoils the holistic taste-oriented pleasures that food gives them 😛 I’m sorry guys but I’m taking the whole ‘we are what we eat’ very literally as well as philosophically here 😛
Food that tastes well and also gives me positive vibes about it always earns a special place in my heart. Sunny side up egg fry falls exactly in this category. And after all this talk, I am hungry, and rushing to the kitchen to cook one right away!
Do you have any food items in your life that go beyond good taste and actually ‘talk’ to you about something? Not just philosophy or life lessons. It could be memories, relations, humour or just about anything. Let me know 🙂