Poached eggs and tuna on hash browns
KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — I’ve always been fascinated by the sight of eggs, vulnerable without the gentle protection of their delicate shells, slowly cooking to perfection in a pan of simmering water.
There seems to be something magical about the whole process ... especially since I used to expect the egg to fall apart and dissolve into the water. So when the egg whites stay almost protectively around the yolk and proceed to lose its translucence, turning slightly opaque instead ... I consider it culinary magic.
The perfect poached egg has soft yet firm whites that gently covers a runny yolk, and it is truly a sight to behold when you spear the solid whites to reveal the molten golden yolk inside it.
Poaching is a process of gently cooking delicate food in liquid other than oil, such as water and milk, and one rule to remember when it comes to poaching is never, ever let the liquid boil.
For eggs, it’s best for the water to be maintained between 71 to 82 °C, and an easier way to achieve this would be to allow the water to boil, and then reduce the heat and let it cool slightly to the ideal temperature.
Do note that the temperature of the water is very important – too high and you end up with tough whites and an overcooked yolk, and if the water is too cool the egg will separate as it cooks.
When poaching, we want to ensure that the egg whites stick to the egg yolk and retain its shape. So, when it comes to poaching, the fresher the eggs, the better. Fresh eggs have whites that gather compactly around the yolk, yielding a neater, rounder shape once poached.
On the other hand, the whites of older eggs tend to thin out and prove difficult to be coaxed into being poached perfectly. Poaching the perfect eggs may seem quite difficult, especially for beginners, and that’s where the vinegar comes in handy.
Adding a few drops of vinegar into the simmering water will help the egg whites to congeal faster, hardening them and thus, allowing them to retain their shape instead of dispersing into clouds of white and yellow.
However, I do have to warn you that the vinegar may affect the taste of the egg, albeit subtly, so if you don’t fancy some vinegar flavour in your eggs, please feel free to omit them. Another trick I’ve learnt to help the egg retain its shape is by creating a vortex in the water before sliding the egg in.
By stirring the water around and creating a swirling motion at the centre of the pan, the eggs will be caught in the motion of the water which will bind the whites to the yolk more tightly, helping them stay.
Once the egg is ready, gently remove them with a slotted spoon to allow the moisture to drain off, and dunk them in some cold water. Eggs tend to undergo residual cooling, whereby the heat from the cooking process remains even after it has been removed from the external heat supply, and continues to cook the egg from within. The cold water will prevent this from happening, allowing the yolk to stay deliciously runny.
Together with the goodness of tuna and the crispy hash browns, this dish is an example of a delicious breakfast, made with minimal effort.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes
4 pieces of pre-packed frozen hash browns
1 can tuna in olive oil
2 tablespoon Japanese mayonnaise
small handful spring onions, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon vinegar
pinch of salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1. Defrost frozen hash browns in toaster for 1 minute
2. Meanwhile, mix tuna, Japanese mayonnaise, cracked black pepper and spring onions in a bowl. Set aside.
3. To poach eggs, simmer water in a pot over low heat, add vinegar and salt and create a small, gentle whirlpool. Crack egg straight from the fridge into a clean bowl. Slowly drop the egg in the middle of the whirlpool and let it cook slowly for 2 - 3 minutes until egg floats to the top. Dish out with a slotted spoon and submerge poached egg in
cold water. Repeat steps for the rest of the eggs
4. To fry hash browns, transfer hash browns from toaster to saucepan filled with olive oil. Fry hash brown for 1 minute each side over high heat, ensuring it doesn't burn.
5. Plate panfried hash browns onto a clean plate. Top with tuna mixture and then finish off with poached egg.
6. To eat, break the egg yolks first.
For more recipes, go to www.chopstickdiner.com