Introduction: Vegan Egg
Vegans won't eat or use animal products -- so the whole idea of a vegan egg is oxymoronic, a contradiction of terms, an impossibility, right?
I will show you in this instructable how to cook up a vegan sunny-side up egg which contains no animal products. It looks like an egg, it feels like an egg, but no bird ever laid eyes on this baby.
This is not the easiest recipe to follow. It requires a fair amount of specialized and hard to find ingredients, but once you've gathered everything you need and you've practiced a few times it's fairly quick, very tasty (it's a desert), and super fun to serve. This is extreme gastronomy, cooking for the concept, deconstructing the age old question of (which comes first) the chicken or the egg to replace it with the more fundamental question: what is an egg?
Step 1: Ingredients and Materials
The main ingredients are mangos, coconut milk and sugar, with a little bit of rice flour. Coconut milk is sold in 16oz cans and you can buy it either sweetened or unsweetened, low fat or regular. I used the unsweetened full fat variety it should work with any kind (just don't add extra sugar if you buy the sweetened variety).
You will also need calcium lactate and sodium alginate (to give your egg yolk the right shape and texture) and agar agar for the egg white. Sodium alginate and agar are extracted from seaweed, and calcium lactate, despite its name, is NOT made from milk (it is made by reacting lactic acid with calcium carbonate. Lactic acid, in turn is made with sugar, water and chalk). This desert is 100% vegan fun.
For tools you will need a hand blender and a small slotted spoon.
Although you might be able to find the ingredients locally and individually, it is much easier to buy a kit online. Molecule-R Cuisine R-Evolution Kit is fairly expensive but has very pretty packaging, and it's convenient because you'll get a good sample of ingredients and all the specialized tools too. It is from their DVD that I got the idea for this recipe: they give instructions for a reconstructed egg, but they didn't take the concept to its logical conclusion, they didn't make it vegan. Their egg white is made with regular milk, and doesn't taste as good as this version. You can also buy food grade sodium alginate , Calcium Lactate and Agar Agar Powder separately.
Step 2: Preparation
Chill 6 small individual serving plates in your freezer.
Use your hand blender to dissolve 2 grams of sodium alginate (about 3/4 of a teaspoon) in 2 cups of water, then refrigerate it for 15-30 minutes.
Step 3: Egg Whites
3 tablespoons sugar (omit if you are using sweetened coconut milk)
1/2 teaspoon agar (2 grams)
1 tablespoon rice flour
1 pinch salt
Sift the sugar mix into 1/2 cup coconut milk, stirring carefully to avoid clumps. Bring to boil over moderate heat in a small saucepan.
Stir in an additional cup of coconut milk, and remove from heat.
Set out your chilled plates, and pour about 3 tablespoons of "egg white" onto each plate. You should have about 1/4 cup left in your pan after serving all six plates. Put saucepan with remaining coconut mix over low heat and wait a couple minutes for the first layer of "egg white" to set.
When the first layer is hard enough to support an extra layer, spoon the remaining coconut sauce over the gelled "egg white" on each plate. You may have to add extra coconut milk before pouring if the mix has thickened too much.
Allow to set about 5 minutes (in the refrigerator if you've got the space, but it will also work at room temperature).
If you are preparing this dish a few hours or even a day in advance, after the egg white is set you can pour a little coconut milk (diluted with water if necessary) over the egg whites, cover and store in the refrigerator.
Step 4: Egg Yolks
Peel and cube one large, ripe mango or 2 small "champagne" mangos. If you can find the Champagne mangos, these are much better, not just for this recipe but for all purposes: they are sweeter and less fibrous than any other variety. There are whole instructables devoted to the subject of cutting mangos, but these instructions are best suited for my recipe.
1/2 teaspoon calcium lactate
1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending on your taste and how ripe and sweet your mangos are)
Remove the sodium alginate bath from the fridge and pour into a shallow bowl so the the mixture comes close to the rim (this will make your job easier)
Prepare a second bowl filled with clean water nearby, and, if you are preparing this in advance, a third container with about 1 cup of mango juice.
Use a soup spoon to carefully drop a dollop (about 1/2 to 3/4 tablespoon) of the mango puree into the sodium alginate bath. You can put in 2 or maybe 3 dollops at a time, as long as you are careful not to let them touch each other. It is very hard to get a perfect sphere but don't worry, once it's on your egg it will look fine.
Use your slotted spoon to (very gently) mix the solution around the yolks so an even gel forms around each one. Leave in the bath at least 3 minutes, then, with your slotted spoon, pick them up one at a time and rinse them in your bowl of water. If you are serving immediately, proceed to step 5, otherwise after rinsing the yolks place them in some mango juice to store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. You can put them in water instead of juice, but depending on how long you are storing them, they will absorb some of the liquid. In water (overnight) the taste will become a bit diluted and the texture more liquid, less gooey.
Step 5: Assembly
If you prepared your parts in advance, carefully pour the liquid off the egg whites and wipe the plates dry. Presentation is everything here!
Using your slotted spoon, carefully lift the yolks out of the mango juice, rinse them in a bowl of fresh water and place them on the center of the second layer of egg white.
Play around with this recipe. Next time I make these I'll use a little food coloring on the yolk to make some green eggs and ham. Maybe I'll color the egg whites too and serve rainbow eggs... but this time around I was going for the 100% realistic look.
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