♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Today on "America's Test Kitchen," we're making our favorite egg dishes from around the world.
Dan makes Julia Turkish çilbir.
Adam reviews sponge holders.
Becky makes Bridget xihóngshi chao jidàn.
And Keith makes Julia matzo brei.
It's all coming up right here on "America's Test Kitchen."
♪♪ -Today, we're cooking egg dishes from around the world.
And up first is a favorite from Turkey called çilbir, which features strained yogurt and a spiced-butter sauce.
-So, this is a fabulous egg dish.
It totally changed the way I think about poaching eggs.
And what's really lovely about it is it represents so much of Turkish food.
We have a lot of different components.
We have eggs, which are really beloved in Turkey, yogurt, which probably got its start in Turkey, and then the spiced butter you talk about.
So, it's really simple to put together.
We're gonna start with the yogurt itself.
So, it's a nice, thick yogurt.
This is a Turkish yogurt.
It has a really nice, tart acidity to it.
So, you really want a strained, whole-milk yogurt for this recipe.
If you can't find Turkish, still look for a really thick one.
If you have regular yogurt on the plate and you add the hot egg, everything gets a little too soupy.
-So I'm gonna start off with a little bit of grated garlic.
This is just 1/4 teaspoon.
So, this is an optional ingredient.
Some people don't like garlic in there.
Some people swear that if it doesn't have the garlic in there, it just doesn't taste right.
-[ Laughs ] -So, I'm gonna stir that in, and then just a pinch of salt.
This is 1/2 cup of strained, whole-milk yogurt.
So, now I'm gonna start the plating process already, and I'm gonna spread this just between the two, nice and evenly.
You can do this as more of a communal, like, a big platter with a lot more eggs.
-You can also do it individually, and that's what I'm gonna do here today.
And, so, using the back of your spoon -- you could use a spatula for this -- you want to just make a nice bed.
We're gonna put a poached egg on there.
So, you know, we just want a cozy bed for it in the yogurt.
That looks great.
Now, we're doing this ahead and putting on the plate and spreading it out.
We're gonna let this sit, and it's gonna come up closer to room temperature.
-Which is great.
You don't want cold, cold yogurt and then the hot egg.
So, next up, we have our eggs.
Now, what's really interesting is this dish has old roots back to the Ottoman Empire, and at times it was considered a very luxurious and, you know, a meal for royals.
Now it is everyday food.
Everyone makes it, breakfast, lunch, dinner.
It's just you have this stuff on hand and kind of go with that.
But one of the big, challenging things is always cooking eggs properly.
-So, during research for this recipe, we talked to an awesome YouTuber and writer.
She's a Turkish cooking authority named Aysenur Altan.
And she was saying that back in the Ottoman Empire, if a chef wanted to work for the royal court and cook for them, eggs was the tryout, eggs was the audition.
Which I can relate to.
-I totally can relate to that.
Chefs kind of quake in their boots if they have to make the perfect fried or poached eggs, 'cause it's really hard.
There's nothing to cover up any mistakes.
So, we're gonna take a little bit of the stress out of making poached eggs with this really cool method.
So basically, what we're gonna do first is crack our eggs into a colander.
-Such an interesting technique.
-I really love it.
So, you can probably already see that some of the white has slipped off there.
So in every egg white, there's a thick and a thin portion.
The thick is what clings really closely to the yolk, and the thin is around that.
That thin, depending on how old the egg is, it can be really thin and slough off.
And that's when you get the kind of feathery bits when you're poaching eggs.
The messy egg water.
Messy egg water.
So 20 to 30 seconds, they sit in there.
All that white has slipped away.
And then we'll simply pour them out into a liquid measuring cup like this.
Now it is time to cook.
So, we have our Dutch oven here with 1 1/2 quarts of water in it.
There's actually a nice thing in using a lot of water.
It retains its heat better.
If you use just a small amount, temperature fluctuations happen a lot more.
And a Dutch oven helps with that, as well.
You can obviously poach way more than two eggs here, but this is the setup that we like to use.
So, I'm gonna add to this a tablespoon of white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt.
That's gonna help quickly set the outside, so it does have a benefit.
The salt will help with that a little bit and provide a little bit of seasoning.
-So, I'm just gonna slide this off the heat, and we're gonna add our eggs.
So, this is really nice.
We can get right close to the water.
We don't want to drop from up high.
I'm gonna get just one thing at a time, and then do the other one over here.
So give them a little bit of space.
I'm gonna let this sit for about three minutes.
We're looking for runny yolks and just-set whites.
-So we've got eggs, we've got yogurt -- two very Turkish ingredients -- and now we're gonna make this gorgeous butter sauce that you see all over the place.
-You see it on top of soups, manti, the beautiful dumplings, and it's the crowning glory on this dish, as well.
I have a tablespoon of unsalted butter.
I'm gonna heat this over medium heat.
And what I'm really looking for here is a little bit between melted butter and what we would consider brown butter.
So we're gonna look for the butter to sputter, meaning all that water is gone.
It's gonna take on a hint of nuttiness -- just a hint.
So you can see it is just starting to sputter in there.
I'm gonna go just a second longer here.
That is perfect.
We get a little bit of whiff of browning.
We're gonna go in with our pul biber.
So, this is 1/2 teaspoon of pul biber, which is these gorgeous chili-pepper flakes.
They're so beautiful, and I love -- the texture of them is really easy to pick up with your fingers and sprinkle.
-Their heat level means that you can use a lot of them, so you taste a lot of chili.
And this is a classic use right here, to have them in a butter.
They stain the butter, and then you carry all that flavor across the rest of the dish.
-It has been three minutes for our eggs, so I'm gonna take the lid off here.
-I love how calm that water is.
-Off the heat is magic for poached eggs.
-It really is.
So, I'm gonna pull it up.
And I like to give a little touch, just to make sure that the yolk is beautiful and jiggly.
And it is.
Give a couple shakes like that to get water off, and then actually use a little bit of paper towel here.
This will wick away moisture on the bottom and actually from the egg itself.
And then we'll transfer straight over to our yogurt.
-Looks like you're topping a cloud over there.
-[ Chuckles ] -I love it.
-It looks very elegant.
-Isn't it beautiful?
-We're gonna some color in a second here.
Now time for our spiced butter.
I'm just gonna do a beautiful drizzle.
So, there is one final flavor we're gonna add, and that's a little bit of dried mint.
Dried mint is so fabulous.
It's so different than, you know, fresh mint, and it adds a really nice kind of brightness and more complexity to the dish.
-This is some beautiful bread.
-So, the traditional bread for eating this would be bazlama, which is really thick.
It's made with yogurt and yeast and it's grilled on both sides.
-So it's really thick, and it's great for dipping.
You can also use, you know, any flatbread.
This is pita, which is also a lovely option.
So, I see a spoon here -- not a fork, not a knife.
-This is your eating utensil.
-So, what I like to do is get in there and really break that yolk.
Just look at that.
-Oh, my goodness.
-And you just have these splashes of color.
You got white, you've got the orange from the chili pepper, the yolk.
And get that kind of mashed together in there and give it a try.
-[ Chuckles ] Mmm.
And that pul biber has such an interesting flavor.
Little bit of heat.
This sounds a little too romantic -- you kind of taste the sunshine.
It's like a sun-dried tomato or a raisin, that intensified -- I feel like I'm elsewhere.
-I like that.
-It's transporting me.
Dan, this is incredible.
-If you want to make these beloved Turkish eggs, start by seasoning strained yogurt with garlic and salt.
Poach the eggs off the heat, and make a sauce with melted butter and pul biber.
From "America's Test Kitchen," a wonderful recipe for çilbir.
-I like how every component kind of on their own not that complicated.
And bring it all together, it's amazing.
More than a sum of its parts, for sure.
-A good scrub sponge is there to keep your kitchen clean.
But what is keeping that sponge clean?
I've asked the question, and here with the answer is Adam.
-A question for the ages, Bridget.
Everyone's asking that.
We are testing sponge holders to keep your sponge up off the bottom of the sink, and that's gonna help keep it clean.
We have six different models here.
-Price range was $5 to $15.50.
Two different ways to attach them.
These two in front of you both hang down into the sink.
Put it around a faucet or a soap dispenser or something like that.
-Hangs into the sink.
The other four have suction cups that attach them to the side of the sink.
That means you can put them anywhere you want in the sink.
Now, we have tested sponges in the past.
This is our favorite.
And we found in the sponge testing that to keep them as clean and sanitary as possible, you got to keep them from being wet.
You want them to dry out.
-'Cause that's where all the mold and bacteria can grow.
-Don't want mold and bacteria.
-We do not.
-So that formed the basis of our testing, actually.
We wet sponges with a measured amount of water, and we put them in the sponge holders and let them dry for 10 hours and then weighed them to see how much water had evaporated.
We repeated that several times to get an average.
And the best, most open air circulation, the cage design that allowed a lot of air through -- those let -- about 67 was the top, or the low 60% of the moisture evaporate.
Something that was really closed like this, which has these solid walls and just tiny, little holes at the bottom -- -Right.
-That one only allowed 25% of the moisture to evaporate.
-That's almost a bowl at this point.
-[ Laughs ] Exactly.
So you want an open design and a lot of air circulation.
-That would make you think that those are the best.
-Until you're washing a stock pot or a Dutch oven in your sink, because those protrude from the side.
They hang in there.
And we found ourselves bumping them and then knocking them off.
Because, also, they're right by where the levers for the cold and the hot are.
So, we favored the suction-cup models, but that brings us to a second age-old question -- how do you keep the suction ones put in the sink?
They're always sliding around.
-I can't tell you the number of mornings I've come into the kitchen and found it's sitting at the bottom of the sink.
-[ Laughs ] -Hate that.
Here's how -- you want more suction cups rather than fewer.
So, this one had two.
Couple of them just had one.
-You want bigger suction cups.
These were the biggest ones in the game.
They were 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
And you want them to be as far apart as possible, because that acts as almost a lever to help keep it attached to the side of the sink.
These were five inches apart.
What I am holding is our winning sponge holder, SunnyPoint NeverRust Kitchen Sink Suction Holder, for about $10.
And it's terrific.
I'm never using another sponge holder as long as I live.
See you next week, when we figure out what keeps these clean.
-[ Laughs ] -High and dry is the name of the game.
And to do that, pick our winner.
That's the SunnyPoint NeverRust Kitchen Sink Suction Holder.
And it runs about $10.
In China, the dish xihóngshi chao jidàn is beloved by food bloggers, so much that they have named it the unofficial national dish.
Now, here in the States, many Chinese immigrants and their families crave the stir-fry of tomatoes and eggs.
It's reminiscent of their childhood and their upbringing.
Well, I love a good craving.
And Becky's here, and she's gonna show us how to make this great dish.
And I'm really excited to cook it with you.
-You know, eggs can overcook in a flash.
-So we nailed down a foolproof process for those.
And we're also gonna make sure that the tomatoes contribute some nice sauciness without being too liquidy.
So, let's start with the tomatoes.
-We have one 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes.
And this dish is commonly made with fresh tomatoes, but we wanted to be able to make this year round.
-So we're going with canned.
And I'm just gonna cut these into about 1-inch pieces here.
There's our last tomato.
So, now I have some aromatics over here that we'll get ready.
I have four scallions.
And this is just the white parts sliced nice and thin.
I'm saving the greens for a garnish at the end.
-And three cloves of thinly sliced garlic.
2 teaspoons of grated, fresh ginger.
-And we're gonna mix that with a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
And coating these in oil -- this will just make them ready for the wok.
So none of the little pieces burn, so they'll all be coated in a little bit of vegetable oil.
-So those are ready.
So let's move over to our eggs.
I have eight large eggs here.
2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine.
-And that has a nice, savory flavor to it.
And a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil -- really nice and fragrant and nutty.
And, so, the liquids, not only do they season the eggs, but they also dilute the proteins, so it makes it harder for them to bond, and so they're less likely to form tough, tight curds.
-And then 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 'cause we want them to be seasoned.
So well whisk those together.
So, while I finish whisking here, if you wouldn't mind turning on the burner to medium high.
I have 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the wok there.
So you can see our oil is starting to shimmer there.
-So let's add our eggs.
[ Sizzling ] -That's a good sound.
That's what we want.
Now, we just want to slowly, but constantly stir for one to two minutes here.
We want the eggs to coagulate.
And I know it seems a little counterintuitive to add eggs to a really hot pan when you want them to be moist and soft, but it's the best way to really get them to steam really quickly.
So that's what we're looking for.
You see they've coagulated.
They're still wet.
Let's transfer them to the bowl here.
And then we have our aromatics that we have all ready to go.
Scallion, the ginger.
Get ready for some good smells here.
-So, let's let these go for 30 seconds, just so they can start to get really aromatic.
-Which is happening already.
So that's about 30 seconds.
Let's add our tomatoes.
So, we're adding the tomatoes and all those juices that we strained off.
2 teaspoons of sugar -- that's just gonna bring out the nice sweetness of those tomatoes.
Sometimes the canned tomatoes can be a little tinny, a little acidic.
So the sugar really is a nice addition there.
And 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
So now we're gonna let this simmer for five to seven minutes.
We want to cook it down until almost all those juices are gone.
We want it to be almost dry, and then we will finish the recipe up.
-It's been about five minutes, and you can see how much that liquid has reduced.
It's nearly dry.
-That happened fast.
-Just five minutes.
This whole dish comes together very fast.
-So let's put our eggs back in.
And I also have the scallion greens that we reserved.
-Chopped into 1-inch lengths.
So, we're just gonna cook this for about a minute.
I'm gonna break up any large curds of egg.
I'm gonna call that done.
That looks pretty good to me.
What do you think?
-That is it?
-Do you see how a child could make it?
Why were you looking at me when you said that?
[ Laughs ] -You can do it, Bridget.
You can do this by yourself.
[ Laughing ] Okay.
Let me put it in our serving dish.
Here you go.
-I mean, you can tell how comforting it is.
You don't even have to chew it.
It's so nice and soft and moist and fragrant.
I'm glad you brought the forks.
That way I can shovel as much of this in as I possibly can.
-[ Laughs ] Your eyes are lighting up.
-And there's a whole new world of eggs for me.
-And the eggs -- beautifully creamy, fluffy.
Not overcooked at all.
And the tomato flavor is so concentrated.
-It's still really bright.
-But then you still get -- You get the undertones of the sesame oil and the garlic.
-And the wine.
And the ginger.
This is going into the weekly rotation.
Fabulous lunch or dinner when you just have a short amount of time, but you want something satisfying, delicious.
-I have got a whole new craving now.
-That's good stuff.
-[ Chuckles ] Thanks, Becky.
Oh, you've got to try this at home.
Whisk eggs with Shaoxing and sesame oil.
Cook the eggs until they're just set, and simmer the tomatoes until they're almost dry before adding those eggs back to the pan.
So from "America's Test Kitchen," one of the best egg dinners you could ever make -- xihóngshi chao jidàn.
Also be a great lunch.
-Matzo brei is Yiddish for "fried matzo," and it's a simple dish made with matzo and eggs.
And today Keith's gonna show us how to make it.
This is a simple dish, and it kind of goes like this.
You break matzo into pieces, you soak it with a little liquid, you scramble it with some eggs, and then you fry it in fat.
It's a really comforting scrambled-egg dish.
-I love it.
-It's quite simple, but you can also make it complex, depending on how you want to top it.
And it also varies from family to family, so everybody makes it a little different.
In fact, this recipe was developed by Mari Levine, one of our colleagues.
-So, I'm gonna start in a 10-inch skillet.
I'm gonna add 2 1/2 tablespoons of chicken schmaltz.
-Or chicken fat.
I love it.
-So, I'm gonna heat this over medium heat.
So, the schmaltz is melted.
I'm just gonna add 2/3 cup of chopped onion here.
Some salt -- just 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
So, I'm just gonna stir this in.
You can smell that schmaltz already.
-All that chicken-fat goodness.
So we're just gonna let that bubble away and cook.
And what we're looking for is the onions to soften and get a little bit of color on it.
Takes six to eight minutes.
While that happens, we'll work on our egg.
So, I have three whole eggs here, and we're gonna use three whole eggs to two matzo sheets.
-We like that ratio the best.
But again, it changes from family to family what that ratio is.
-I'm impressed with your one-handed egg-cracking ability.
-[ Laughs ] Cracked a lot of eggs in my life.
I like it.
Whenever I do that, I have 50% chance to break the yolk.
You're three for three.
-Three for three.
Just gonna mix these up, break up the yolks a little bit.
And I'm also gonna add salt and pepper to this -- 1/8 teaspoon of table salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
-These onions are smelling magnificent.
When you put anything with schmaltz and onions, it is gonna taste awesome.
-Those are our eggs -- three eggs.
And now for the matzo.
I have two sheets of unsalted matzo here.
-This is pretty traditional.
It's unsalted, so it's gonna be pretty bland.
So, I'm just gonna break these into -- well, 1 1/2-inch pieces.
You don't have to be super precise here.
Now, a lot of recipes will soak the matzo ahead of time before adding it to the eggs.
You notice I'm going right into the eggs.
-So you can use dairy.
You can use water for this.
But we actually like something a little firmer.
We're gonna actually soak the matzo in the egg itself.
It's gonna create something a little drier, a little firmer, but we really like that.
So, these matzo sheets are about 2 ounces, but they're all pretty much the same size, so you can use what you have.
Now that those are all broken, I'm gonna ask you for that spatula.
-There you go.
-And I'm just gonna toss these.
Make sure that they're well-coated.
We're gonna leave these in here for about two to four minutes.
And all we want to do is have those matzo sheets soften slightly.
We don't want them to be really, really mushy.
We still want them to have some texture.
So we'll let these go for two to four minutes.
Our onions will continue to cook, and then we'll come back and cook this.
-Our onions are softened, and now we can cook this.
So I will just give this one last toss.
And I can actually feel that the matzo are pliable, but not so overly soggy.
I can sense that they're softened.
They bend a little, but they're not mushed out.
So now I'll just scrape this in here.
Make sure I get all of that eggy goodness in there.
And I'm just gonna cook this just for a couple minutes.
Really quite simple.
I'll just take that and get underneath and kind of use a folding motion here.
It smells great.
-[ Laughs ] -Smell those caramelized onions?
-A little bit of color is really wonderful.
Now, I like this dish a little on the softer side.
You can go a little longer if you want to, but I like to keep the eggs a little soft here.
So I am gonna call that done.
Just want to make sure that this is seasoned properly.
Salt, definitely some salt.
-[ Laughs ] Well, there's no salt in the matzo, so that makes sense.
Just stir that salt in there.
Now we are ready to go.
So, this serves two, so I'm just gonna scrape this out onto plates.
-So... -Boy, that looks good.
It does look great, doesn't it?
-You can eat it just like it is right now.
But people top this all sorts of ways.
We have a couple recipes online.
One has smoked salmon.
-One has mushrooms.
-We also have a sweet one, which has cinnamon and sugar, which is my favorite.
-Oh, is it?
So, today, we're gonna use some chives.
Just a little bit.
I'm gonna add a little sour cream to mine, too.
The matzo have just enough texture.
You can still pick up a whole piece of matzo with your fork.
-Also, the ratio of egg is nice to the matzo.
I mean, the matzo is still present.
It's not like scrambled eggs with a little bit of matzo in it.
They're really kind of a nice, level playing field.
-This is delicious, Keith.
-I'm glad you liked it.
-For a good and schmaltzy matzo brei, start by browning some onions in a nonstick skillet with schmaltz.
Use three eggs to two sheets of matzo, and let the matzo soak in the eggs for two to four minutes before cooking.
From "America's Test Kitchen," a terrific recipe for matzo brei.
You can get this recipe and all the recipes from this season, along with select episodes and our product reviews on our website, americastestkitchen.com/tv.
I could see smoked salmon or lox being good on this, too.