I have made scrambled eggs for as long as I can remember and too many times to count. This was a weekend breakfast staple in my home growing up and evidently one of the first basic things that my mum taught me how to cook. When I first prepared Mayai Nyanya, as it is known locally, it was as simple as frying onions and tomatoes with seasoning and adding eggs after tomatoes had cooked to a sauce. I noticed that sometimes in a rush the eggs would be added too soon to make a scramble with half cooked tomatoes whose results never sat well with me. Or the tomatoes were for cooked longer, and the aroma of the onions would be lost by the time the eggs were added.
As a lover of all things egg, I need this dish to have both the sauciness of the tomatoes and fried onions. Instead of using fresh tomatoes I prefer using Homemade Tomato Sauce. It saves time and adds more taste to the dish. When I don’t have my sauce on hand (which is almost never) I cook down tomatoes with black pepper, salt, and oil to make a quick substitute.
Once the tomatoes are done, Sofrito is the next thing you want to add to your eggs. Initially, I would only cook my eggs with tomatoes and red onions, but I found that I needed more aromatic vegetables to build flavor. The sofrito solved this problem for me. Sofrito is a base made of aromatic ingredients sautéed in oil. My sofrito recipe for the eggs calls for a variety of bell peppers, white onions, and cilantro. The vegetables are finely diced and cooked with some seasoning to almost their caramelization point which is when they are most flavorful.
After this two processes, the only thing remaining is deciding whether you would like an omelette instead.
This is typically a breakfast meal served with bread. This dish by itself is as versatile as it is nutritious. You can have it with other accompaniments at any time of day.
Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes & Peppers
- 6 eggs*
- ½-cup Homemade Tomato Sauce**
- 1 white onion, finely diced
- 1 red onion, finely diced<./li>
- ½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 bunch cilantro, divided into leaves and stalks, chopped
- 2 tsp. black pepper plus extra, divided
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. Royco, divided
- 3-4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- Salt to taste
Ingredient Notes:* I used fresh organic free-range chicken eggs, but any fresh eggs will do.
** 5-6 medium sized chopped tomatoes, cooked in 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp. oil, and a pinch of salt can substitute Homemade Tomato Sauce.
Takes: 15-20 mins prep time, 30 mins cook time
Equipment needed: nonstick/cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan
For this dish, I like finishing my mise en place first and having everything near the stove ready to be added to the skillet
Mise en place refers to preparing and organizing the ingredients one is going to require before cooking.To make the substitute homemade tomato sauce, heat 1 tbsps. oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add salt, 1 tsp. black pepper and chopped tomatoes.
Cook the tomatoes for 12-15 minutes until saucy. Add a tsp. of Royco to thicken, take off heat and set aside in a bowl.
If you have the sauce on hand you saved yourself some prep and cook time, and your recipe begins with making the sofrito.
Over high heat, add another tbsp. of oil in the same skillet. Add salt and green peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the white and red onions and cook them for three more minutes stirring frequently to make sure they do not burn. Sprinkle the remaining black pepper and Royco and cook for an extra minute.
Add the chopped cilantro stems, and stir for a short while before adding the other sweet peppers. Cook this for 2-3 minutes on high heat. I find that colored peppers are more delicate than green peppers so I prefer to cook them for a very short time.
At this point, the sofrito is done. Check for salt, sprinkle paprika, and take off heat. Set aside in a different bowl.
Scoop your tomato sauce into a large bowl. Break your eggs one by one in a small bowl then transfer them to the large bowl.
Add the chopped cilantro leaves.
Then finally add the sofrito. Instead of adding all the sofrito to the egg mixture, I preserve about ¼ cup and add to the eggs once they are cooked.
Gently whisk this mixture, making sure all the ingredients are well mixed. Check for seasoning and adjust where necessary, I always find that I usually need to add some salt. Feel free to add an extra egg if you feel like the sofrito and tomato sauce have overwhelmed your eggs.
Heat the rest of oil (2 tbsp.) in the skillet, sprinkle a pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the egg mixture and let cook on medium-low heat without interference for about three minutes.
Begin gently folding the eggs. Folding is preferred to stirring because it will result in a much chunkier scramble.
Fold the eggs for about 5 minutes, or until most of the egg has solidified and now looks something like this.
If you decide to make an omelette, heat a ½ a tbsp of oil in a skillet. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour about ½ a cup of egg in the skillet and let cook for about 5 minutes.
Turn the omelette being careful not to break it and cook for about 5 minutes adding some more oil so that it doesn’t stick. I wasn’t so lucky with mine but it looked and tasted good all the same.