Tuesday, March 1, 2011



Everyone has fond memories of their favorite comfort foods growing up.  For me, one of those comfort foods is what my family refers to as “rice-butter-Maggi-egg.”  The dish is exactly what it sounds like: rice topped with butter, Maggi, and eggs with a dash of black pepper.  Rice-butter-Maggi-egg was my mom’s go-to dish whenever she needed to whip something up fast.  It has since become one of my emergency meals when I’m feeling too lazy to do any actual cooking or when I have no produce or pantry items to work with.


For anyone not familiar with Maggi, I’d describe it as zingy soy sauce with more depth.  It’s easily found at any Asian grocery store, but the trick is to find a place that sells Maggi that’s made in Europe (Germany if I recall correctly).  The bottles with the yellow tops are made in China and are perfectly fine, but the bottles with the red tops that are made in Europe taste so much better.  The European version has more depth and punchiness than the Chinese version.


When it comes to the butter in rice-butter-Maggi-egg, I tend to use Bretel.  It may seem odd to get butter out of a can, but it’s seriously really good and melts in your mouth.  I first discovered Bretel maybe 10 years ago at my aunt’s house where a petit dejeuner of bread and butter is common for breakfast.  The baguettes come from a Vietnamese-Belgian bakery and the butter from France in the form of Bretel.  Canned butter is so popular in Vietnam that counterfeit brands exist.  My mom and uncle have told me stories of how people in Vietnam unwittingly buy Bertel instead of Bretel.


The egg component of rice-butter-Maggi-egg typically consists of a sunny side up egg.  However, in my ongoing experimentation with sous vide eggs, I decided to sous vide the eggs at 63 C (145.4 F) for an hour.  The yolks turned out creamy and runny like I wanted, but the whites turned out a little too runny for my taste.  Texturally, a custardy and slightly runny egg white doesn’t sit well with me.  To remedy this, I put the eggs in boiling water for about 30 seconds to firm up the egg whites.


Once all the components are on a plate, one of my favorite things to do is to break the yolk and mix it with a little of buttered rice and Maggi.  This humble dish will always be a winner in my book and I can’t see myself ever getting tired of it.

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