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A fried egg is a cooked dish commonly made using a fresh hen's egg fried whole with minimal accompaniment. Fried eggs are traditionally eaten for breakfast in English-speaking countries, but may also be served at other times of the day.
Regional adaptations and specialities
In Egypt, fried eggs are a common breakfast food. They are prepared plain, with vegetable oil or native butter or ghee only, or have one or more additions. These typically include tomatoes, various types of cheeses, beef sausage (both the thin fresh type, and the larger dried Turkish sucuk type), pastirma, or specially prepared minced meat with onions and spices; they may also be served with ful medames (slow-cooked fava beans). Less frequently encountered are "star eggs", prepared by deep frying in boiling vegetable oil.
Fried eggs (Spiegeleier) are a crucial part of such traditional German dishes as Strammer Max (the egg is fried on one side with an unbroken yolk, and served "sunny-side up" on top of an open ham sandwich) or Hamburger Schnitzel / Holsteiner Schnitzel / Fernfahrerschnitzel ("trucker's schnitzel") – a similarly prepared fried egg served on a Wiener Schnitzel.
Fried eggs over (or side-by-side with) pan-fried potatoes is another common dish, traditionally served with spinach as a third component of the meal. Some German cooks break the yolk and distribute it across the surface of the white during the frying.
All of the above are typically lunch, rather than breakfast, dishes, although fried eggs themselves (like boiled or scrambled eggs) are a common part of a German breakfast.
India and Nepal
In India and Nepal, fried eggs are most commonly called "poached," but are sometimes also known as bullseyes, as a reference to "bullseye" targets, or "half-fried" in Southern India, indicating that they are partly cooked, even though it's a fried egg. They are commonly served alone or as accompaniment to a variety of dishes including roti, dosa, or paratha. with a variety of oils such as mustard oil and vegetable oil. During or after the frying stage, they are sometimes sprinkled lightly with condiments such as black pepper, chili powder, green chilis and salt. Bullseyes are a common street vendor dish in South India. Some restaurants also refer to them as "egg fry" (over hard) or "egg half fry" (sunny-side up).
In central and northern India's English-speaking middle classes and mid-level restaurants, "single-fried" refers to sunny side up and "double-fried" to over hard. Street food parlance uses "half-fry" as a base term with "half fry bina palti" (un-flipped) meaning sunny side up and "half fry palti maarke" or "alti palti" (flipped) meaning over easy/medium/hard where the customer oversees the flip and says when.
Called "medama yaki" (目玉焼き, lit.: cooked like eyeball), fried eggs are usually made sunny-side up. They may be served with salt and pepper, or soy sauce.
Eggs are fried in cooking oil, sometimes with a sprinkle of salt. It is common to put a fried egg on top of bibimbap or Kimchi bokkeumbap. Sometimes, rice dishes, such as bokkeumbap, are simply made by applying a fried egg on a top of a bowl of hot rice, drizzled with a spoonful of gochujang and sesame oil. Occasionally, salt is added to fried eggs, and served as Banchan, which refers to small dishes of food served along with bap.
Netherlands and Flanders
An uitsmijter is a dish consisting of two or three fried eggs, sunny-side up. One version is fried together with ham and cheese (uitsmijter ham en kaas) or bacon and cheese (uitsmijter spek en kaas). Another version is placed on buttered bread over a generous slice of cold meat, e.g., cooked beef or ham, and usually garnished with a dill pickle. It is a common lunch dish served in many cafés, lunch rooms and canteens in the Netherlands. Uitsmijter literally means "thrower-out", and it is also the Dutch word for a "bouncer". The Dutch name of this fried egg dish probably refers more to the fact that it is quickly made ("thrown out of the kitchen" so to speak) than to the similarly named doorman.
The two most popular fried egg dishes commonly eaten in Russia are yaichnitsa (Russian: яичница, a generic term for pure fried eggs, and omlet (Russian: омлет), an omelet distinguished from simple eggs by addition of milk and/or other liquids.
Yaichnitsa has two main varieties, a glazoon'ja (Russian: глазунья), usually referring to the sunny-side up but generally meaning any variant with the unbroken yolk, and a scramble called boltunya (Russian: болтунья), which may have various toppings such as fried bacon, ham, salt pork or other cold cuts, fried bread or onion, vegetables, etc. added. A common way of preparing both types is to have multiple eggs cracked into a saucepan or frying pan and cooked without flipping. The whites flow together and individual portions are divided up after the whole pan-full has cooked.
Nasi goreng, one of the most popular dishes in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei is often served with a fried egg, either setengah matang which is half cooked with still runny yolk or matang which is well done. In Indonesian, sunny side fried eggs is called telur mata sapi whichs translated as "bull's eye egg". Fried eggs is a popular topping for dishes such as mie goreng, either freshly prepared noodle or cooked from instant noodle Indomie Mi goreng.
In Thai cuisine, when the words khai dao (lit. "star egg") are placed after the name of a dish, it means that one wants that dish accompanied by a fried egg. The very popular kaphrao mu rat khao khai dao for instance, translates to "basil fried pork on top of rice with a fried egg". Sometimes this is referred to as a "top egg". Fried rice is also popularly accompanied with a fried egg, such as with khao phat Amerikan and khao phat (standard Thai style fried rice). Another popular way of eating fried eggs in Thailand is to use it as the main ingredient of the Thai salad called yam khai dao.
In the Philippines, fried eggs are often cooked like a sunny-side egg but the yolk is half cooked by sprinkling it with salt and oil while being fried, giving it a distinctive pink-colored membrane. It is served in the morning with garlic rice and a choice of breakfast meat such as beef tapa, longaniza, fried milkfish, dried fish, tocino (caramelised pork), Spam, or corned beef, such as in tapsilog and its variants. In addition, fried eggs are eaten in a dish called Arroz a la cubana, which is seasoned ground beef with raisins, cubed potatoes, tomato sauce, and olives, along with white rice and fried ripe plantains. Fried eggs are also a main ingredient in the noodle dish Pancit Batil Patong, where a fried egg is topped over stir-fried noodles.
Spain and Latin America
In Brazil, a runny egg placed over a steak with a side dish of rice and black beans is called a bife a cavalo, literally "horse-riding steak". A similar dish, with the name bife a caballo in Spanish, is also common in Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador (called "churrasco"); fried potatoes and salad replace the beans and rice. In northern Mexico, Huevos Montados (riding eggs) are served with refried beans and fried potatoes (or french fries). A common method of serving eggs in Mexico is huevos a la Mexicana, which blends fried eggs with diced tomato, onion and green chili pepper; the amount of pepper added is often to order. There are several other egg dishes in Mexico which combine different ingredients: motuleños (in Yucatán), aporreados (mixed with refried beans), and huevos rancheros (sunny-side up eggs served over a corn tortilla, covered with spicy salsa). Also, in some parts of Mexico, fried eggs are served with a fresh tomato, onions, and cilantro salsa. Red chili is optional, as is a blended sauce. In Peru and Chile, a fried egg is included in lomo a lo pobre, Chorrillana, Paila de Huevo, and several other dishes. In Ecuador, a sunny-side up egg is served over pan-seared cheesy mashed potatoes and sausage, called "Llagingachos."
UK and Ireland
Fried eggs can be served on toast, or in a sandwich, with bacon, sausages, and a variety of condiments. It is also an essential part of the full breakfast commonly eaten in Britain and Ireland. Fried eggs are often served with ham or gammon steak as a popular pub grub meal. They are usually cooked without turning over. The egg is cooked on a high heat and hot fat is splashed onto the top of the egg. This results in a custard-like yolk with a cooked surface. May also be referred to as runny or hard.
United States and Canada
North Americans use many different terms to describe fried eggs, including:
- Sunny side up — Cooked on one side only until the egg white is set but the yolk remains liquid. This is often known simply as eggs up. Gently splashing the hot cooking oil or fat on the sunny side uncooked white, i.e., basting, may be done to thoroughly cook the white. Covering the frying pan with a lid during cooking (optionally adding a cover and half-teaspoon of water just before finishing) allows for a less "runny" egg, and is an alternative method to flipping for cooking an egg over easy (this is occasionally called "sunny side down" or "basted").
- Over easy or over light — Cooked on both sides; the yolk is runny and the egg white is fully cooked. "Over easy" fried eggs are also commonly referred to as "dippy eggs" or "dip eggs" by Marylanders, by Pennsylvania Dutch persons living in central Pennsylvania, and by those living around them, mainly due to the practice of dipping toast into the yolk while eating.
- Over medium — Cooked on both sides; the yolk is cooked through but soft and near liquid at the center. The egg white is thoroughly cooked.
- Over hard or hard — Cooked on both sides with the yolk fully cooked through and hard. Similar to a hard-boiled egg.
- A style known simply as "fried" — eggs are fried on both sides, with the yolk broken, until set or hard.
Egg in the basket
This dish is usually made by cutting a circle or other shape out of a slice of bread, often using a drinking glass or cookie cutter. The bread is fried until brown on one side and then flipped and an egg is broken into the center and seasoned, usually with salt and pepper, and sometimes herbs. The pan is then covered and the egg is cooked until the white is just set. The cutout center of the bread is often fried as well and served alongside or on top of the finished egg.
- C. Countess van Limburg Stirum: The Art of Dutch Cooking; First published in 1962 by Andre Deutsch Limited, London; 2nd edition, p.45)
- "Uitsmijter". The Dutch Table. 2011-04-03. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- September 29, 2011 (2011-09-29). "Kra Pao Moo (stir fry pork with basil) for lunch". Athomeinthailand.com. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- "Khao phat Amerikan". Austin Bush Photography. 2011-03-16. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- Kodi. "A "Farangs" trek through a Culture of Food and the Unknown- Thailand". Kodikassell.blogspot.nl. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- December 1, 2009 (2009-12-01). "Thai Fried Egg Salad – Yam Khai Dao (ยำไข่ดาว)". SheSimmers. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- Spanish painter Velázquez painted a portrait of an elderly lady frying eggs in 1618