Laying it out: Why eggs are the most underrated kitchen staple

Adam Liaw shows off his egg creations.
Adam Liaw shows off his egg creations. Photo: Supplied.

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In the lead up to World Egg Day, celebrity cook and Australian Eggs ambassador Adam Liaw makes a big call: that the humble egg might just be the world's favourite food. 

"I can't think of any country or cuisine that doesn't eat eggs – and an awful lot of them," he says. "They really are the convenience food of a lot of countries."

Paired with leftovers to make a hearty breakfast or whipped into an elegant dessert, the versatility is what makes them a staple in kitchens around the globe.

"The unique chemistry of eggs allows you to do so much with them," explains Adam. "The white is slightly alkaline, the yolk is slightly acidic… they really are this kind of perfect food in a sense."

No doubt you agree, but chances are you're ready to break out of your, er, shell and try something beyond the everyday scramble or sambo. Once you start thinking of eggs as a kind of alchemy, a world of delicious options beckons, says Adam.

Turkish cilbir - poached eggs with yoghurt.

Turkish cilbir (poached eggs with yoghurt). Photo: Supplied.

To celebrate World Egg Day on 9 October, he has created a dozen egg recipes inspired by cuisines from around the globe – including our own backyard – for foodies to whip up at home.

Sri Lankan egg hoppers, Vietnamese egg coffee and Welsh Anglesey eggs are among the collection and will all be going head-to-head in a competition to find Australia's favourite egg dish.

Adam hopes the delicious dozen inspires Australians to expand their horizons. "Eggs are a phenomenally versatile thing, but people are probably cooking the same two or three dishes – a fried egg once in a while, a boiled egg, and a fried rice or carbonara. What I wanted to do with this set of recipes was show how the rest of the world does it."

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His own "eggsperiences" began at a young age, eating fried eggs with soy sauce as an extra dish with dinner. Growing up in Adelaide, Adam also developed a taste for galaktoboureko, a traditional Greek semolina custard pie, that he would routinely order from the local Greek patisseries.

For World Egg Day, "I got the chance to write my own galaktoboureko recipe," he says. "It's something I'm going to make again and again, because it was so good."

Australia's entry – and another favourite dessert of Adam's – is, naturally, the pavlova. But for this collection, he has put a twist on the classic.

Australia's favourite dessert: the pavlova.

Australia's favourite dessert: the pavlova. Photo: Supplied.

"The problem that everyone has [is that] they make their Christmas pav and then they've got six egg yolks sitting in the fridge and they don't know what to do with them!" he laughs.

"So, I thought, instead of trying to top it with cream, why not try something a bit different and make a thick custard to put on top of the pavlova. Obviously, the challenge is that a custard requires sugar to set, so we've counteracted that with thick yoghurt. So, you've got this tangy yoghurt custard that sits on top of the pavlova, and you don't have egg yolks sitting in your fridge that you don't know what to do with."

The Aussie pav, however, is facing some tough competition from dishes such as France's elegant ile flottante, a meringue floating in crème anglaise; China's umami hit of stir-fried tomatoes and eggs ("the vegemite on toast of China"); chawan mushi from Japan, a kind of savoury steamed egg custard; and a tooth-achingly sweet leche flan from the Philippines, made with condensed milk, evaporated milk and eggs.

But if there's one dish from the collection Adam encourages Aussies to embrace, it's migas, the Mexican version of fried rice or bubble and squeak.

"If you're having taco night on Tuesday, as a lot of families in Australia do, this should be what's for breakfast on Wednesday morning," he says.

"It's basically fried rice with tortillas – you just tear the tortillas, fry them in oil, throw some eggs in, and put whatever toppings you want on there – salsa, coriander, onions, guacamole. It's really, really delicious."

Tempted? To get your hands on Adam's recipes and help find the world's most eggsellent dish, head to australianeggs.com.au/world-egg-day and get cracking. Then vote for your favourite egg recipe on Instagram via @adamliaw and @australianeggs.