Bold Scrambled Eggs, and Notes on Egyptian Onions

I love Indian food and cook it frequently, and I especially love the simple dishes that make quick meals in Indian homes. This is a cuisine that vegetarians should get to know well, since the population of India is about 40% vegetarian and vegetable dishes abound. But it can seem daunting to view the ingredient list of many Indian recipes, and the toasting and grinding of spices for each dish can require more time than is available.

So start with simple scrambled eggs. These are loaded with bold flavor, and easy to make. I lean low-carb so I eat them plain, but you can scoop them up with warm parathas or warmed-over naan from last night’s take-out, or pat out squash flatbread thin and use that. It’s always a good investment in your health to use the best eggs that you can lay hands on if you don’t keep your own hens. Check out the farmer’s market and get eggs from hens that have been fed a lot of greens, since bugs and leaves are a big part of the natural diet of a hen.

The only out-of-the-ordinary prep that you need to do is to toast some whole cumin seeds in a dry skillet just until they are fragrant and a little darker and then grind them in a spice grinder. In the summer I do a tablespoon at a time so that I always have a bit on hand, but don’t make too much because once toasted and ground it doesn’t stay fresh for long.

Be sure to add salt to the vegetables as they cook, as directed. This is part of getting them to soften properly and assures that they are seasoned through.

For two hungry people, you’ll need:

3 eggs and three egg yolks, or 4 eggs if you prefer, beaten a bit

4 large green onions or a bunch of the little grocery store type, cut in 1/4″ slices crosswise, whites and greens kept separate

Ghee, 2-3 tablespoons, or neutral oil of your preference

one small bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped finely crosswise, stems and leafy parts kept separate

one teaspoon of ground toasted cumin seed

Heat the ghee in a skillet, and add the white parts of the green onions with a good pinch of salt and sauté over medium-high heat until cooked through but not browned. Add the onion greens and the cilantro stems and another small pinch of salt and cook until the onion greens look softened; taste one to be sure that they have become pleasant to eat. Add the beaten eggs and yolks and cook, turning over with a spatula, until they are cooked to your preference. Taste for salt and add more if indicated. Add half the cilantro leaves and the toasted ground cumin to the pan and stir to distribute, serve, and top with the remaining cilantro leaves.

This is great as part of an Indian brunch for two as shown above, or by itself as a quick easy meal that can be on the plate in 15 minutes if you have the ingredients handy. You can also make a mini version in your smallest skillet with one big green onion, a few stalks of cilantro, and one egg, if you aren’t hungry enough for a meal but want a nutritious snack.

If you love green onions and want to have them around throughout the growing season, my blogging friend Luke has helped me figure out how to do it with Egyptian, or walking, onions. Once you have these sturdy onions, you have them. To get started, I ordered a hundred top-set bulbs off Etsy one fall when they were plentiful. It’s a bit of an investment by gardening standards, but it’s a one-time thing. Choose an area with good rich soil that gets plenty of sun and water. When the top set bulbs arrive, plant 20 of them and keep the rest in a cool dry place well away from direct sun, with excellent air circulation. No plastic bags. The following spring, when the ones you planted in the fall are about 6″ high, plant 20 more. Keep going in like fashion until you have succession-planted them all. If I notice the ones in the storage box sprouting, I put the box in the refrigerator until they are all planted.
When the fall planting is over a foot tall, but has not yet sent up the tough inedible central stalk that forms the top bulbs, start harvesting. This is important: snap or cut them at the soil surface rather than pulling them out. The bulb and roots that you left in the ground will sprout a few new green onions for later in the year. After managing your patch this way for a year, they will get so thick that they are pretty well defended against weeds and you will need to start pulling some out by the roots to prevent overcrowding. At that point, you can also start deciding when to let some go long enough to form top bulbs, and you can either start a new succession bed or give them to a friend who wants to try it.
At this point I let mine perpetuate themselves from the ground and rarely let them form topsets. I keep two smaller beds, one in full sun and one in partial shade, and they yield at different times and keep a fairly good succession going with minimal input from me except harvesting and cooking.

I do top-dress periodically with well-rotted goat manure and kelp meal. I’m a great believer in kelp meal, for bringing back onto the land some of the trace minerals that we washed off it into the ocean. I strongly prefer the organic Icelandic kelp meal from Thorvin, because it is harvested from an area of the ocean tested for heavy metals and some of the other nasties that we are washing into the water. I don’t want a closed system on my tiny urban farm, because any trace mineral deficiencies that existed wouldn’t get corrected. The Thorvin meal would get pretty expensive on a commercial scale, but for the small urban homesteader it’s a healthy investment. I also use it generously as a supplement for my chickens and goat. For the chickens I mix some into any moist food that they like to eat, such as any leftover cooked greens or wilted salads, and for the goat I mix it with organic blackstrap molasses to make a treat that she will trample me to get.



5 responses to this post.

  1. I love how you have developed my off-hand suggestion of spring planting Egyptian walking onions into such a refined succesion planting plan. Wonderful!

    So true about the Thorvin kelp. Our certifier now only allows a few kelps for certified organic operations due to all the contaminant and radio-activity. Thorvin is the one we use.


    • Posted by wooddogs3 on September 20, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Radioactive kelp? Gack. That is a hazard that I didn’t know anything about. Interesting that your large operation uses Thorvin. Among gardeners I am reading more and more about wanting to be sure that their soil is replete with trace minerals, but I have wondered to what extent this is a concern to the vegetable-eating public. Do your customers ever ask about it?


      • Oh my, that would take me back years if someone was so aware of the threats in the food supply they would ask about such a detail. No, customers seldom go past whether we feed grain or not to our animals. That is why we so value being certified organic though. Although I must admit it can take time for studies to truly move them to action such as with pyrethrum, they do keep us updated on what we cannot use. As we tell our customers: we once thought our methods could be certified organic until we got certified and found a whole list of practices that so would not have passed. The culture is far too “Greenwashed” anymore to pry to such depths though. Have you noticed the same?

      • On the other hand if you were asking if the customers are interested in trace minerals in our vegetables, again, no they don’t ask. We use a mineral amendment called Carbonitite for that. It’s notable because it is a calcium carbonate in addition to containing an enormous array of minerals and elements. The ratio of pottassium to calcium to magnesium is near the ideal levels for optimal plant uptake too. We in fact own the dealership rights for the product in Ohio, so were asked to represent the company at the Acres USA conference where I was educated far more about the product than I educated others I think. Several of the speakers who are gods in the world of ecological soil science stopped to tell me about how many of our elements on earth are believed to have orginated from colliding nuetron stars in space so only are found on earth where comets have hit. The site where carbonitite comes from is the sight of a comet impact, and a volcanic deposit, which a river runs over, so the stuff has about every deposit you can imagine. Its not sea minerals of course, so lacks iodine, we try to get that from kelp.

      • Posted by wooddogs3 on September 21, 2017 at 8:48 am

        I seem to observe that there is so much to worry about that people are hesitant to ask anything beyond “Is it organic?” It’s like every question may lead to a new concern. My heart goes out to people in that position. I think that once you have control over even a tiny piece of your own food supply you start asking the hard questions, but before that point, it can seem better not to wonder, or people don’t even know what to wonder about.
        I notice with my patients that it is often when people experience a pronounced or catastrophic change in their health that they get really curious about nutrition. Which is a bit late, but as long as we’re above ground there’s room for positive change.
        I am very curious about the carbonatite. I had never heard of it before, and read J. James’s thesis about it with great interest. I don’t know how it would affect my very alkaline soil. Wonder it you can tell me anything about that.

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