Most authorities regard eggah as a dish in Arab cuisine that is similar to an omelet or frittata. Some would say it’s like a tortilla. I would say it’s more like an egg cake. In fact, eggah is nothing like an omelet (or omelette). To my mind, an omelet is something light and fluffy. Eggah is nothing like that. It generally has a filling of chicken, meat, vegetables or noodles. And it’s big, about an inch thick or more. You cut it into slices like a cake. And some cooks bake it in a rectangular dish and serve it in squares like Sicilian pizza.
In Arabic culture, eggah can be served as an appetizer, side dish or even an entree. And it can be eaten hot or cold. As noted, it can be cooked in the oven or on top of the stove. If doing the latter, you require a good, heavy frying pan, preferably cast-iron. Also, the dish should be cooked on low heat for the eggs to set. Butter, usually clarified butter, is used to cook the dish. I depart from this in that I prefer extra virgin olive oil. Another fact: in Iraq the dish is called kuku. I don’t know why.
EGGAH WITH CHICKEN AND NOODLES
1 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed. Note: you can also used leftover
cooked chicken—as long as it’s been boned
1 pound tagliatelle or fettuccine noodles
3 cardamon pods, cracked (these can be found in any Asian, Indian or Arabic store)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1. To cook chicken breasts: just place them in a pot with water to cover, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes; then cube or cut into small pieces.
2. Cook the noodles according to package direction, but only until al dente. Do not overcook. You can add the chicken stock from the chicken breasts used in the water for boiling the noodles. Drain and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the chicken, noodles, cardamom, salt and pepper, and mix well to combine.
4. Heat oil in a large frying pan or heavy skillet. Add the egg mixture and cook over very low heat for about 1/2 hour, or until the mixture sets. Brown the top under the broiler for about 2 minutes.
5. Top with parsley and serve as is in the pan, cutting into slices. Or, if desired, unmold onto a serving dish and serve that way.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Picture: courtesy of Pinterest