Thursday, 21 April 2011

Soft-boiled Egg with Sesame Roasted Broccoli Soldiers

Since I posted a tutorial on poaching eggs, I thought it'd be great to have a tutorial on boiling eggs, fit for Easter.

I don't like being exact when I cook, and many times I just eyeball the measurements, in fact I'm quite happy just adding "a dash of this" or "a sprinkle of that" or "a glug of this" or "a drizzle of that", but the only way to get eggs boiled to the perfect level of done-ness you want is by careful timing.

Boiling Eggs 101
Put room temperature eggs in a single layer in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, and once boiling, take the pan off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for
4 min: Soft boiled eggs (whites are set, yolks are still runny)
6 min: Medium boiled eggs (whites are firm, yolks are half runny)
15 min: The best hard boiled eggs (whites and yolks are firm, but yolk is still creamy i.e. see photo below)
17 min: If-you-like-it-real-cooked hard boiled eggs (whites and yolks are firm)
Any longer: Rubbery egg whites and yolks with a grey ring around them
Immediately remove to a bowl of ice water, or keep changing a bowl of cold water, to stop the cooking process.

Hard boiled eggs on some noodle soup I made last time

This is based on countless kitchen experiments. I've tried bringing the water to a boil first before dropping the eggs in (nope. you risk cracking the shell), bringing both eggs and cold water to a boil but letting them simmer instead of sitting in hot water (nope. I find it difficult to determine exactly when the "simmer" starts), starting with cold eggs (nope. shell cracks.) etc etc.

Some other tips:
1. Use old eggs, and save the fresh ones for poaching. Fresh eggs are harder to peel.
2. Jamie Oliver has a brilliant way to peel eggs fast. Roll the egg on the counter to create cracks all over, and then peel under running a running tap.
3. Use the right sized pot, big enough to hold the eggs in a single layer, but not too big that the eggs can roll about and crack each other up (no I'm not trying to be funny, no pun intended.)

Now that we've got the egg sorted,

Sesame Roasted Broccoli Soldiers
Ingredients (can easily be doubled or quadrupled)
Broccoli, cut into florets but make sure stalks are roughly equal
For about 1/4 head of broccoli,
1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
1/2 tsp of sesame oil
extra virgin olive oil, enough to coat
sesame seeds, to serve (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. Toss broccoli florets with the tamari, sesame oil, and evoo. Spread in an even layer on a greased baking tray.
3. Roast for about 10-15 min, or till lightly browned at the edges. Scatter sesame seeds over.

The intense umami flavour and sesame aroma of the roasted broccoli is addictive enough on its own, but I like mine dunked in egg yolk, a twist on the classic British egg and toast soldiers. I don't have a fancy egg cup, so I just served my soft boiled egg in the egg carton >< SInce it's spring you can also try it with roasted asparagus spears instead!


  1. Brilliant! Reminds me that I need to boil up some eggs soon. Broccoli stalks just beg to be played with, don't they? :)

  2. I have not had half boiled eggs in a while. Makes me want to go and boil one now. Broccoli soldiers sound good too!

  3. Hi Shu Hun,
    Your tutorial on boiling eggs is very good. I just love your Sesame Roasted Broccoli Soldiers, great recipe. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week! Have a wonderful week end!

  4. that looks yummy!! Im a chef by trade and like your blog, you got a new follower

  5. Thanks for the boiling eggs 101 guide! Now I know!

    And you are getting more and more creative with your recipes!

  6. This is a great and healthy idea! Thank you for sharing : )
    Franzi (

  7. Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you visit often.

    I love to find young cooks with great talent like you.


  8. Thanks! Ah, I don't think I'm that talented, I'm still learning from all my flops! heh

  9. this is yummy they are fabulous for breakfast and healthy too
    thank you for commenting on the boiled eggs

  10. Soft-boiled Egg is my fav breakfast all the time ^^

  11. It's a great post... I like it. I also use my iPhone to boil eggs. Have a look 100% free apple store