Green eggs (but no ham)

I mentioned yesterday that I was intending to do some more noodlesprucing for dinner.  That, indeed, is just what I did – with quite interesting results…

The starting point was a packet of spicy prawn flavoured instant noodles.  For vegetable content, I had some left over (uncooked) red cabbage and a spring onion that needed using up, so I chopped them up fairly finely and fried them in the saucepan before adding the spicy prawn flavour sachet and boiling water, followed by the noodles themselves.  I also lobbed in a handful of caraway seeds, as caraway is generally a good accompaniment to cabbage.

Having written yesterday about poaching eggs in baked beans as a way of noodlesprucing them (to use the term in its more general sense), it occurred to me that an egg could also be poached in the broth in which noodles are being cooked.  Since I happened to have an egg to hand, I decided to test this theory, putting the egg in about half way through the simmering of the noodles (i.e. about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time).

When I transferred my noodles into the bowl for eating I was initially somewhat dismayed to discover that the egg had turned a somewhat unpleasant, mouldy-looking greyish green colour.

I then remembered an exciting food chemistry factoid that I learned from a book several years ago, which is that red cabbage juice reacts with egg white to make it turn green.  As far as I recall, there is some enzyme in the cabbage juice that reacts with a protein in the egg; as far as I know, it only works for red cabbage juice.  I remember doing some experiments frying eggs with red cabbage juice and discovering that the result was not a particularly attractive shade of green.  Still, it doesn’t seem to have any appreciable effect (positive or negative) on the taste of the egg and it was comforting to know that this colour change was an expected chemical reaction and not an indication that I’d accidentally used a bad egg or something.

The idea of poaching an egg in my noodle broth seems to work very well and I’ll doubtless try it again in future.  I assume that if (as is usually the case) I’m not cooking up red cabbage with the noodles, the egg shouldn’t come out green.  Who knows, though, what other interesting colour changes I might discover.

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