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01. 02. 2006

Cooking the perfect egg

The traditional breakfast in Singapore and Malaysia is toast slathered with kaya (a jam made from coconut milk and eggs, and scented with pandan leaves) and butter, a couple of soft-boiled eggs lightly drizzled with soya sauce, and hot coffee (condensed milk optional). It was only when I tried to prepare this myself that I realised just how tricky making the perfect soft-boiled egg was. Delia Smith notwithstanding, I find making soft-boiled and hard-boiled eggs an inexact science. Fortunately for those of us who aren’t domestic goddesses, there are gadgets to help.

ottoegg.jpg
As a child, my grandmother relied on the “half-boiled egg maker” for our breakfast. This is a simple gadget consisting of 3 sections. You put the eggs into the upper compartment, pour boiling water over the eggs up to one of the fill lines (depending on how many eggs you’re cooking), put the lid on, then wait for the water to finish dripping into the lower compartment. I was surprised recently to find how commonly used this still is, though finding one for home use proved a little tricky. I was able to find one made by Thai manufacturer OTTO Ware, only to be reminded that Singapore, unlike Australia, is not safe from the avian flu.

pearllifeegg.jpg
With egg cooking still on my mind, I was unable to resist buying a microwave egg steamer made by Japanese manufacturer Pearl Life. Cooking eggs in the microwave isn’t of course a new concept, but this is the first gadget I’ve seen that will cook them in their shells, no piercing necessary. You pour water up the fill line of the lower half of the plastic “egg”, replace the perforated aluminium insert, set the eggs in the indentations of the insert, snap on the lid, and it’s ready to go in the microwave. Everything’s in Japanese, but the guide on the box is easy enough to follow, with different cooking times for different number of eggs and different consistencies (soft-boiled, hard-boiled with a soft centre, or completely hard-boiled). Following this, I have been able to make perfect hard-boiled eggs every time. The Pearl Life egg steamer will cook 3 eggs at a go, but the NordicWare version, available online, will cook 4.

Posted by saresha    Category: home
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Comments (8)

I disagree, cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg CAN be achieved rather exactly. I found this out when I searched the web a year or so ago in an attempt to find the perfect hardboiled egg recipe. The recipe I decided on is from Julia Childs' "The Way to Cook". I won't post it here because it won't fit well, though.

todd:

awwww, now that's not fair... post it, post it!

Try the Norpro egg timer. You stick it in the pan & by watching the color change to the indicator marks you can tell when your eggs are done. Soft, medium & hard & any gradations in between. Plus it doesn't matter how many eggs or how much water you use.

Unless you're a big egg eater, it also takes up much less space in the kitchen, and in my opinion, is a really elegant solution. Gadgets are cool, but this is cooler!

"replace the perforated aluminium insert,.........and it’s ready to go in the microwave."

Are you crazy!? Have you ever seen what happens when you put metal in a microwave!?

What's the real story?

Anomaly:

Why is Australia safe from avian flu?

This really work, the traditional breakfast...

I am from Malaysia...and my grandma use this forever to make breakfast for all of us... nicely done...wonderful..

I miss it soooo much

elsakawai.com

ser:

I'm Singaporean, and I like my soft-boiled eggs, avian flu or not. (Anyway, the government cracks down on all imports at the borders... but anyway...)

I've never used one of these makers, so let me just share how we do it the traditional way.

Find yourself a metal container, put your eggs in and boil water in a kettle. Once the whistle blows, take the boiling water off the stove, pour in enough water to cover the eggs, and put the lid on.

In my family, we call them three-minute eggs because that's how long they need to be cooked (give and take a minute, we always forget about them!). Remember to watch the clock and drain once time's up or you'll end up with ... hard-boiled eggs.

You can put metal in the microwave as long as different pieces are well insulated from each other or have good electrical contact. Both of these are true for the microwave boiled egg makers. The plastic is a good insulator between the metal insert and the microwave interior walls, while the two piece metal insert are in good electrical contact. Only small currents are generated by the low settings prescribed. All these ensure there should be no sparks. The metal insert is necessary to shield the eggs from direct heating by microwave which generally bursts them. The eggs are essentially cooked by steam. The shield is not complete so there is some, though minimal microwave assistance.

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