Friday, 4 February 2011

Poached Eggs

I've always wanted to poach an egg and have tried a few times without success. The whites seems to dissipate in the water and become all straggly and stringy. I did try using a method I learnt from my friend Lorraine at Not Quite Nigella where she uses plastic wrap to encase the egg white and yolk.
Even that method though didn't quite work for me as the egg seemed to cling on to the cling film. I suppose that's why its called Cling Film...

Recently, the whole family has enjoyed watching MasterChef (The US
Version) and the kids have a great time in immitating Gordon Ramsey whenever The Lovely Wife or I cook something. After the season of MasterChef ended, our Satellite TV Station introduced Junior MasterChef(Australia).

I was so astounded by all the stuff that these little kids were making!
Simply Magnificent. I coulnd't cook half of what I can cook now at their ages. Then there was this little girl that made a poached egg. Dammit! If an eight year old (or was she younger) could poach an egg than I bloody well could too!

So... a few days ago, during the Public Holiday for City Day, I decided I was going to poach an egg. I remembered an episode on the adult MasterChef where Whitney (the winner) had poached an egg and the judges mentioned that she had used the 'swirl method'. I was intrigued by what the swirl method was and learnt that you stir the water before dumping the egg in. The swirling water creates a centrifugal force that pulls the egg onto itself.

I also remembered reading somewhere that you should add some vinegar to the water as the vinegar helps to bind the proteins in the egg and stop the egg white from spreading too much. However, I have also read that it doesn't really make that much of a difference.

The first time I attempted the Poached Eggs, I used vinegar in the water. I swirled the water around and then dumped the egg in. It started to spread out and so I tried scooping up the sides to the centre. Bad idea. More strings of egg white formed. I let the egg set and then scooped it out into a bowl. I discarded the water and started to boil a new batch. This time, I used a smaller saucepan. The water was only salted and I didnt use vinegar.

I remembered at this point that it was best to use room temperature eggs. At least I had left two eggs outside to 'warm up.' It was also advised that the best poached eggs were fresh eggs. The eggs I had in the fridge were already more than a couple of days old, if not older. Maybe that's why the first attempt failed.

Anyway, I broke one egg into a small rameking and waited for the water to boil. I turned the heat down and then I swirled the water into a nice whirpool. The egg was slipped into the water gently and the swirling action really seemed to bring it together. I timed it perfectly to three minutes and then scooped it out and let it dry before I placed it on a nice piece of toasted wholemeal.

Fill a saucepan with water ensuring enough water to cover the broken egg.
Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp vineger (optional).
Bring water to to the boil and once boiling, reduce heat to low so that water is just simmering.
Working with 1 egg at a time, crack an egg into a small bowl. Stir the simmering water in one direction to create a whirlpool. This is the 'swirl method'.
Quickly slide the egg from the bowl into the swirling water. Allow to cook for 3 minutes, without stirring.
Then using a slotted spoon, remove the egg and allow to drain on the spoon over some paper towels.
Repeat with remaining eggs, one at a time. Between cooking eggs, use the slotted spoon to skim off any foam or egg remnants from the surface of water surface.

Serve eggs on toast, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper.

While I was getting my camera ready, I called out to my little princess who excitedly waited at the dining table for her breakfast of poached eggs on toast. She sliced the yolk and all the creamy goodness spilled out. "Just like on MasterChef, Dads!" she exclaimed proudly. I was rather proud of myself too!

I did another egg for my son but this time I left it in a bit longer to get a firmer yolk. The yolk did turn out a little firmer and I think the firm yolk was quite nice too although I have to admit that I prefer the runnier version.

My little princess really enjoyed her Poached Eggs and I was really proud of myself for having finally conquered the poached egg. I started singing a little jingle with my princess that went like this:

Daddy can make a poached egg, Daddy can make a poached egg.

We sang it over and over again until The Lovely Wife started to roll her eyes toward the heavens, seeking enlightenment!

Next step is to try and make Eggs Benedict...


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

hey Dharm! glad to see you mastered it! with the method on my site, did you brush oil on the cling wrap as mentioned? That should pretty much sort any sticking to the cling wrap :)

Foodycat said...

Well done! I also struggle with poaching eggs, but have had a request for eggs benedict for tomorrow so I really have to have a go!

bellini valli said...

Now you can have all the Eggs Benedict you want Dharm!!!!

David T. Macknet said...

There's a secret nobody's told you: put a splash of vinegar into your water. The vinegar (or lemon juice) will coagulate the exterior proteins immediately when you drop the egg into the water. No swirling, no plastic, no nothing. So long as you don't have too heavy of a boil going, you'll have perfect ones every time!

David T. Macknet said...

(Not that those don't look awesome, and make me hungry, 'cause they do!)

Elle said...

THe poached eggs look perfect! Did a little research before I made Eggs Benedict and found that the key to good ones is the have a way to keep the hollandaise hot while you poach the egg. I used a Thermos bottle that had been preheated so I could just pour the sauce over the eggs once they were done. WOrked like a charm! Can't wait to see your Eggs Benedict! Bet your Princess will be completely amazed and awed. :)

Naomi said...

Great work. The eggs look fantastic!

I still think the secret is the last one you said - it has to be fresh eggs.

When in Japan, it was so easy to poach eggs. All the eggs were fresh! There are a few Japanese dishes that have raw eggs (shabu shabu) most eggs sold are incredibly fresh.


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