During the celebration of Eastertide, which also coincides with the spring season, eggs are used to represent new birth and fertility as the earth renews itself and awakens after a long hibernation from the cold winter. For Christian believers, a Paschal egg resembles an empty tomb which signifies the resurrection of Jesus. There was an old practice of painting Easter eggs in red dye that could be dated back during the time of the early Christians of Mesopotamia to symbolize the blood of Christ that He shed on the cross.
It is worthy to note a number of egg traditions that exist in many countries in the world. The most popular of them all is the Easter egg hunt, a game wherein decorated hard-boiled eggs or colored egg-shaped chocolate candies are strategically placed somewhere else, and the parents would ask the children to find those eggs that could either be inside the house or secretly buried in the garden. The one who gets the most number will get the prize. In some parts of England there is a traditional game known as “egg tapping” or “egg jarping”. In this event, the players will have to hit each others’ eggs. The owner of the unbroken egg will be declared the winner while the losers will have to eat their eggs. Egg jarping competition is annually held at Peterlee Cricket Club during Easter Season. Egg dumping practice is also common in the countries of Austria, Bavaria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Lebanon, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and German-speaking Switzerland. There is also the traditional “egg rolling” occasion popularly held at the United States White House lawn, a yearly event in which the parents and children would push the eggs along through the grass using wooden spoon. Similarly, in United Kingdom and Germany, participants would also roll the eggs down the hillsides. Also in UK and Germany, there is the so-called “Egg dance” or “hop-egg”. The objective of this contest is to dance among the egg that are laid on the ground avoiding as much as possible to damage or step on them. The old egg decorating and painting is also a tradition still common in Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus and some Mediterranean countries. In Germany, eggs are used as ornament for Easter egg trees. A pysanka is a Ukrainian Easter egg decorated with wax used as a symbolic gift to family members and important friends. In the Philippines, the arrival of the Western Easter bunny has also crept into some Filipino Easter practices. Egg hunt has also become part of the celebration in several churches in the country. Malls and hotels hold mini-fairs that feature rides and egg hunting competition for children. How amusing isn’t it that these little proteins in calcium shell brought to us by the mother of the groovy “chicken dance” and whom we associate the idiomatic expression “chicken run”, became a lovely epitome of a worldwide festivity.
And what is the best way to make with all those Easter eggs is to transform them into some deviled eggs. I know the name is quite the exact opposite of what we are celebrating today but it does not relate to anything evil or sinful in nature. “Deviled” was only a term coined to a dish prepared with hot spices. The expression “deviled” in food was first used during the 18th century. In 19th century, it was commonly referred to spicy and zesty dishes.
Deviled Eggs or Eggs Mimosa are hard-boiled eggs cut in half, and stuffed with the mixture of its own yolk and any ingredients depending on preference and the country of origin which would be anything like mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, horseradish, wasabi, caviar, pickles, Tartar sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, chutney, salsa, mushroom, cheese, capers, olives and some spices e.g. cayenne, chipotle, turmeric, pimientos, garlic, jalapeno, poppyseed, thyme, cilantro, parsley, shallots, curry, paprika, dill and a lot more. Sometimes garnished with shrimps, ham, anchovies or bacon, they are usually served chilled as a side dish, an appetizer or even part of the main course.
Believed to have originated way back in the ancient Rome, deviled eggs are still a popular holiday food across Europe until today. They call it, “ceuf mimosa” in France, “ouă umplute” in Romania and “fyllda ägg” in Sweden. They are also a regular table fare in Hungary and refer to them as, “töltött tojás”, wherein yolks are mixed with white bread soaked in milk, mustard and parsley. Surprisingly, a variation called "Russian eggs" is popular in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany and they are usually filled with caviar and served in remoulade sauce. It did not actually come from Russia but its name was only derived as it is served on a bed of macédoine, which is also known as Russian salad. In Midwestern and Southern parts of the United States they are also called dressed eggs apart from salad eggs and commonly served as hors d'oeuvres. In the Philippines where they have gained wide acceptance as well, stuffed eggs are locally referred to as “rellenong itlog”.
My very own variation is of course a Filipinized version with the meat flakes of tinapa or smoked fish as one of the ingredients. Tinapa is the Filipino cooking terminology for smoked fish. It is a common breakfast item usually served with fresh tomatoes and a lot of rice. The Philippine fishes frequently processed into tinapa are galunggong (mackerel scad), tamban (gold-striped sardinella) and bangus (milkfish). It is very easy to find tinapa in our local market as it has been a regular commodity of Filipinos, poor or rich alike. Nowadays, tinapa is not only considered as viand for a meal, it has also become an important component to a number of Filipino dishes like pancit palabok (garnished rice noodles) and ginisang monggo (sautéed mung beans).
So there we have it – a dish with an evil-inflicted name on a holy Easter Sunday. What a divine irony! Happy Easter to you all!
Pinoy Tinapa Deviled Eggs
Number of Servings: 4 to 6
- 5 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
- 2-3 tbsps. tinapa (smoked fish) flakes
- 4 tbsps. mayonnaise with pickle bits
- 2 tbsps. cheese pimiento spread
- ¼ tsp. cayenne powder
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. paprika (to taste and for garnish)
- 3 tbsps. green onions (to taste and for garnish), minced
- Divide an egg into two parts. Make sure to slice it through the egg yolk. Style it into preferred cuttings though a lengthwise incision would already suffice. Separate the yolk from the white. Set aside the egg white. Do the same to the rest of the eggs.
- Place all the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Mash them using a fork.
- Add-in the mayonnaise, cheese spread, cayenne powder, black pepper, salt and paprika. Continue mashing until well blended.
- Toss in the tinapa flakes and green onions and mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Use a blender or food processor if making a big bunch.
- Scoop the egg yolk mixture or pipe in an icing bag and fill them back into the cavity of egg whites, forming a mini lump on top.
- Sprinkle with some paprika and garnish with remaining green onions. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Serve chilled. Enjoy!
TIPS FROM ENZ:
- Boil the eggs at a single layer in a saucepan. Use a larger pan if cooking more eggs. Two or more layers in a small pot may cook the eggs unevenly.
- Adjust the spices according to your preference. Add more if you want more spicy deviled eggs.
- It is a simple starter dish that you can also serve at all occasions.