Soft-boiled eggs served with soy sauce and ground black pepper have been staple fare in the kopi tiams (coffee stalls) and hawker centers of Malaysia and Singapore for a very long time. There is just something delectable about them: they are moreish with the right hit of umami – just the thing you need to go with hot buttered toast, maybe a schmear of kaya, and a large mug of kopi c (milky coffee) or teh tarik (pulled milk tea) for a good Peninsular breakfast.
Considering the fact that the culinary traditions of the Philippines echo those of its Indo-Malayan neighbors, most Filipinos have never eaten soft-boiled eggs. In this part of the world, eggs are usually fried sunny-side up, over easy, or scrambled. If eggs are ever boiled, they’re boiled till hard and mixed with mayonnaise and pickle relish for a sandwich filling – if they aren’t sliced up for a garnish or left whole and stuffed into meat loaves or roasting fowl.
That said, my take on this kopi tiam staple has an egg that isn’t quite soft boiled. The appropriate culinary term for the egg shown above is Mollet egg. This French technique involves starting the eggs in boiling water (never cold, though some brave cooks actually do so) and cooking them for around 6 – 8 minutes. The end result is an egg with a firm-ish white and a semi-solid yolk that is utterly unctuous and satiny on the tongue. It is similar to poaching, though you don’t have to crack the eggs into the water; indeed, Mollet eggs can be used in the place of poached eggs for such dishes as eggs Benedict or eggs Florentine.
Best way to eat them, in my personal opinion, is to drizzle on about half a tablespoon of soy sauce and a generous sprinkle of ground black pepper. It is, to be quite honest at this point, like a cross between a kopi tiam egg and Japan’s hot-spring poached in the shell onsen tamago which is served in a similar fashion: cracked and stirred into some soy sauce and a bit of dashi stock. Hot buttered toast and coffee are a definite must.
So, going back to the