Have you ever tried to make a healthy breakfast in a kitchen with no stove or oven? This is one of my favorite solutions — high in protein, only about 150 calories, tasty, and satisfying.

Yummy breakfast from the zapper!

I wanted to make a solo fitness retreat for myself, so I booked a condo in Thailand for a month. There’s a beach for morning jogs, a workout room for when it’s too hot to run outdoors, a swimming pool, and enough space in my condo for yoga. Plus plenty of fresh, healthy Thai food. Perfect, right?

Except after I moved in, I realized that the so-called kitchen is only equipped with a microwave and a fridge. Oops. Lesson learned — it’s not enough to search Airbnb for apartments with kitchens, we must also read the list of amenities to make sure it’s not just a kitchenette in a separate space!

Also, there doesn’t seem to be a market nearby — just a 7-11. How will I eat healthy in this place?

After researching a lot and experimenting a little, I came up with a couple of recipes I like. They’re egg-based, because that’s what’s available at the 7-11 in Thailand.

This has been my breakfast every day. It’s easy to make, dirties just one dish, and it keeps my hunger satisfied for hours. It’s also very cheap to make and less than 150 calories; what’s not to like?

I think this is water morning glory? It was the only fresh vegetable at the 7–11, and it came packaged with garlic and chilies.

Microwave poached eggs and greens

  • 1/4-1/3 cup leafy greens, chopped or torn. Could be spinach, kale, whatever you have on hand
  • Seasonings. I used half a tiny red chili and one very small garlic clove, but bring your imagination. A little chopped ham and/or cheese with some green onion would be delicious.
  • Two large eggs
  • Salt & pepper to taste

My condo kitchen came with individual covered ramekins — score! — but this could be done in a small bowl or even a heavy mug covered with a small plate.

If you have a kettle, put some water on to boil. If not, double the cooking time during the first round of microwaving below. I think using boiling water works best, though.

Put the greens in the bottom of the bowl and add the seasonings of your choice. Pour in enough hot water to cover the greens, plus an inch or two. You want enough water so the eggs will submerge when you add them, but leave space at the top of the container so it doesn’t boil over. Salt the water generously (the salt will help the eggs poach well).

Note: Some people swear by adding a few drops of white vinegar to the cooking water for poached eggs; it’s meant to keep the white from drifting and separating. I haven’t felt the need for it in the microwave, but you could certainly add it if you like to use it.

You probably need less water than you think.

Cover and pop into the microwave for a minute (two minutes if you’re not using preheated water).

Crack each egg and, holding it close to the water’s surface, gently slide it into the water. You want the white of the egg to stay together, so don’t disturb it or stir at all. Let the eggs lie wherever they land.

The yolks will sink under the water and you might see a bit of cloudiness if the whites start cooking right away.

Cover and return to the microwave for about 2 minutes. This is the tricky part because microwaves are so variable, and the eggs will keep cooking after you remove them. If you like your yolks very runny and you started with boiling water, 90 seconds of cooking and two minutes of standing with the lid on might be enough. If you like firmer eggs, or you started with cold water, you might need to go a little longer. Generally, a minute and a half to two minutes of cooking plus two minutes of standing (still covered) has worked well for me.

You may need to experiment a bit, especially the first time you make this. Test the eggs by touching a yolk with a spoon and see how much it moves — but definitely stop cooking while it’s still a little underdone and let it stand, covered, for a minute or two more.

The greens will probably float to the top, and the egg will look slightly underdone.

Pour off the water — I did this by wrapping my ramekin in a dishtowel (no potholders!), setting the lid slightly ajar, and pouring. Then I invert it all onto a plate and pour off any remaining water.

If you have a slotted spoon, you could also just scoop out your eggs and greens and leave the water behind. You’re going to break it all up anyway, it doesn’t need to stay in one piece.

This is how it looked after I drained the water off and inverted it onto a plate.

Use your spoon (in Thailand we all eat with spoons) or fork to break up the egg and add a bit of pepper, if you want it. If I were at home, I’d top this with a dash of smoked paprika.

I could have taken this one out a few seconds earlier — but still yum!

Heartier Variations

The first few times I made this, I put about 1/4 cup of leftover cooked rice in with the greens. That was nice, but I’m liking the lower carb, lower calorie version right now.

This would be great on a toasted English muffin.

Nomad’s Kitchen is part of a series on how to live as a nomad

Author

Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer. She has been traveling the world, living out of a backpack, since May of 2013. Lauren has written regularly for CBS Local, WebPsychology, Hipmunk, and Hotelplanner, and has also been published in The Culture-ist, Matador, and other online and print publications.

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