Rich and full of flavour, this is the dish everyone falls in love with when they visit Istanbul. Luckily it is easy to make at home and avoids completely the fool’s mission of cooking eggs to order for a crowd.
Much of this dish can be thrown together the night before and is then simply served in the pan, with plenty of warm Turkish bread alongside. If you can find pul biber (Aleppo pepper) chilli flakes, so much the better; regular chilli flakes will generally be more fiery, so add to taste.
Turkish scrambled eggs
50ml olive oil
2 small brown onions, finely chopped
2 green capsicums, cut into 1cm squares
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
5 tomatoes, chopped
Pinch of ground cumin
½ tsp mild chilli flakes, plus extra for sprinkling
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp dried oregano
Handful of chopped coriander and/or dill
Turkish bread, lemon wedges and sumac, to serve
Pour a generous glug of olive oil into a large frying pan and fry the onions and peppers over low heat for about 8 minutes – you want them to soften and cook slowly, without browning. Add a sprinkle of salt and the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, along with another glug of olive oil.
Once the tomatoes start to break down (use the back of a wooden spoon to help crush them), add the spices and oregano, and keep cooking until you have a glossy and fragrant stew. Season with salt and a lot of pepper. (If you are preparing this in advance, cool and keep in the fridge, then gently reheat before continuing.)
When you are almost ready to eat, preheat the oven to 160C (140C fan) and put the Turkish bread in to warm up.
Break the eggs into a bowl with a pinch of salt and use a fork to beat them very lightly.
Scoop about three-quarters of the tomato mixture out of the frying pan and set aside.
Add a bit more olive oil to the pan containing the rest of the tomato mixture and turn the flame to low–medium. Pour in the beaten egg, then sprinkle over the chopped herbs and a few extra chilli flakes.
Once the egg has started to set, move a spatula around the pan, dragging some of the tomato mixture through the egg. Do this a few more times until everything is mixed but not combined; there should still be distinct curds of egg.
While the egg is still runny, gently fold in the reserved tomato mixture. The trick here is to take the pan off the heat before the egg looks completely cooked – the residual heat means you will end up with perfectly scrambled eggs. If you keep the pan over the heat too long, you risk the eggs becoming rubbery.
Take the pan to the table and grind over even more black pepper, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sumac. Don’t forget the bread in the oven, then let people serve themselves.
Asian scrambled eggs
If you like this recipe, do try the terrifically more-ish Asian version, where the spices and peppers are replaced with soy sauce, rice vinegar, fresh ginger and garlic chives.
Make it gluten-free
Serve these eggs with gluten-free toast, or just as is.
- This is an edited extract from Special Guest, by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe (Murdoch Books, $39.99). Next week, chard & cheese tart with poppy-seed pastry