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Sunday, November 11, 2007

How to poach eggs 101: Poachpods vs old school

I am utterly hopeless at poaching eggs.

Runny fried eggs I can do. Soft velvety scrambled eggs a la Bills is easy. But I'd rather make a shark cake than be entrusted to make poached eggs for breakfast.

So when the kind folk at Kitchen Warehouse offered to send me some poachpods to try out, I had to the laugh at the appropriateness of the suggestion.

Product Road-Test: Poachpod

What is it: a silicone cup that can be used for poaching, baking or moulding.

Instructions say to lightly oil the pod before cracking an egg into it and floating it in a saucepan of simmering water. You are then instructed to cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook for about 4-6 minutes.

My saucepan doesn't have a tight-fitting lid so my makeshift version was a bit too big and hence the steaming effect was not quite as efficient. Cooking time was about 7 minutes which felt like an eon when it comes to breakfast.

The pod was removed and a spoon was used around the edge of the cooked egg. It slid out beautifully and was perfect in form.

Old School Method

Okay, surely the old school method is a lot faster and cheaper too? Buoyed with confidence I added a splash of vinegar to the saucepan, created a whirlpool and dropped in another free-range egg for poaching. Cooking time was significantly faster but the result was nowhere near as pretty.

The Taste Test

The poachpod egg was stronger in flavour since no water had come on contact with the egg. However it was also much firmer in texture since it cooks slowly from the outside in.

The old school method was quite soft in texture, but also a bit more watery - however I'd been lazy and not bothered with the whole blotting with kitchen towel palaver. The egg was a lot smaller since I lost a lot of egg white in the wispy trails that refused to come to the party in the middle. The egg yolk was lovely and runny though, which is how I tend to prefer my eggs.

The Verdict

- Takes longer to cook your eggs than direct immersion
- Harder to make runny poached eggs, unless you cooked the whites partway then added the egg yolk later
- It's one more thing you have to wash up
+ You can throw it in the dishwasher
+ Guaranteed uniformity and prettiness in appearance
+ No need to use kitchen towel for blotting
+ Ideal for people who like firm poached eggs
+ Great idea for poachaphobics

What else can you do with it?

The poachpod is non-stick, dishwasher safe, microwave safe and heat resistant to 675ºF / 357ºC.

Suggestions include using it to bake custards, frittata and creme caramels. You could also bake mini cakes or muffins, or use it to mould chocolate or puddings.

How much does it cost?

The recommended retail price is AU$19.95 but Kitchen Warehouse is selling it online for AU$15.95 (P+H AU$7.50)

Would I buy one?

Probably. My poaching technique still requires some work. I envision I'll poach using both methods until I had mastered the proper immersion technique.
14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/11/2007 04:29:00 pm


  • At 11/11/2007 7:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Egg poaching seems to be one of the simplest things in the universe of cooking that people can disagree so vehemently on. I think it was Elizabeth David who once said no two people do it the same way, but they will all swear theirs is the only proper way. (When I say simple I mean as in 'has few steps', not as in 'easy'.)

    My preference is for non-production-line, machine-made looking food, and now that I've realized that you cannot let the water come back past a simmer when you poach an egg I'm pretty happy with my poaching technique (it's largely the bubbling that breaks up the whites), so there's no way in hell I'd buy one of these doohickeys (for egg-poaching, at least). Especially if the egg tends to come out firmer than old-skool ones.

    Shame you didn't have the right saucepan for the job, to really test according to the instructions, the texture might have been much improved and cooking time diminished, but nice review, anyway. I'd be curious to see a creme caramel done in one of these.

  • At 11/11/2007 8:50 pm, Blogger Leonora said…

    The Famous Perfectly Poached Egg....
    Suggest a non-stick saucepan,two eggs deep with water and one tablespoon of grape vinegar, swirled as usual - but making sure the water does not boil - just simmers to reduce the agitation and able to support your prize gently. You should be looking at a yolk immersed in white that after draining sits damp and soft and delicious beyond words....!

  • At 11/12/2007 1:02 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Wow, thanks for the tip on the new product. I will have to see if these little gagets are sold in the USA. I like poached eggs, but I always ruin them.

  • At 11/12/2007 1:17 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    your poached egg looks pretty good!

    much better than what i can do, my yolk and white seperates straight away =(

    my fried eggs don't turn out so good either, they stick to much and taking them out bursts the yolk =O

  • At 11/12/2007 12:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a shameful secret with egg poaching - a large cup, with a handle on it, with two eggs sitting happily inside. A only-just simmering pot (bubbles break whites!) of water with plenty of vinegar (stops the wispy whites). Gently submerge the cup under the water, allow the water into the cup to cover the eggs as much as you dare (without dipping your fingers). Leave it there (in the pot) for about 10-20 seconds, then complete the pour. Those vital seconds allow for the whites to adopt a civilised shape before being set free.

    There's no need to worry about whirlpools etc, and the eggs look perfect. Remove with a slotted spoon and sit the spoon on top of the pot to drain while you butter the toast - the eggs won't be wet then, and there's no need to worry about paper towels either...

  • At 11/12/2007 1:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, what perfect looking eggs! I must admit I "feared" poaching eggs too after a disastrous attempt when I was 10 years old lol. Incidentally, a couple of days ago we found a great place for Eggs Benedict where they have the fattest puffiest poached eggs. Its called Wharfy's at Mosman. I'll post on it on Wednesday so you can see pics. If you like EB its worth the ferry ride :)

  • At 11/14/2007 12:44 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jr - Ahh...I think the overzealous boiling of water could be my downfall. I am definitely going to practice though. Thanks for the tips.

    Hi Leonora - Ooh I'm craving poached eggs already. Thanks for your advice. I'll definitely give it a go.

    Hi Lannae - I'm sure there are suppliers in the US. Happy poaching!

    Hi Jimmyly - Fried eggs are easy :) Are you sure you're greasing your pan well enough, and the pan is hot before the eggs go in?

    Hi Damian - Ahhh... sneaky poaching trick... I like it! I love that everyone has their own little technique. Seemingly so easy and yet so difficult!

    Hi Lorraine - I'm not a big fan of Eggs Benedict (I find the sauce very rich) but hey, I'm always willing to be converted :) Looking forward to your post... yum!

  • At 11/14/2007 1:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I got to be quite an expert at poached eggs, I had to make them at least once a day for an invalid...
    My method: about 2 inches of water in a small non-stick milk saucepan. Bring the water to the boil. Take the saucepan off the heat. Crack the eggs into the water. Return the saucepan to the heat, but turn the heat down so the water can't boil. Wait a few minutes for the eggs to cook. Remove poached eggs with a slotted spoon. No vinegar needed & no messy eggs.

    I also use whole egg mayo. instead of butter on the toast for a very cheaty kind of hollandaisey sauce.

    & thank you for the brilliant blog!

  • At 11/15/2007 2:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Amco also has a useful egg poacher, with holes so it actually poaches rather than steams, but cupped, so the egg white doesn't run away.


  • At 11/15/2007 4:08 pm, Blogger Nicole said…

    Is it just me, or are they really expensive for the tiny little things that they are? I "oohed" over these when i saw them on display and my husband just rolled his eyes :-)

    I use vinegar when poaching and put in the eggs one at a time using a cup and letting the egg cook a bit before sliding the it out of the cup. I do it this way because if you use the whirlpool approach, surely you can only cook one egg at time? When 2 of us have 2 each for breakfast, the first egg cooked will be cold before the last one is finished. Or maybe i need to learn some keeping warm techniques!

  • At 11/16/2007 1:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can't say i like poach eggs at all. ;) scrambled.. fried.. or an omelet are my style.. ;)

  • At 11/18/2007 11:32 am, Blogger grocer said…

    poaching eggs comes down to one thing, the freshness of the egg.

    supermarket eggs are about 2 weeks old by the time they get home so that's a pretty big handicap most people carry when poaching eggs.

    here are 2 other posts on egg poaching, one by me

    and another by stickyfingers, a very knowledgable egg poacherer!

  • At 11/18/2007 6:13 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Servalan - You must be quite the expert with all that practice! I had a little poaching lesson this morning with Mr Chef except we used vinegar. The drop approach (as opposed to the swirl) makes a cute little carry pouch indeed.

    Hi md - An interesting contraption! Thanks for the link.

    Hi Nicole - So many methods. The cup method sounds interesting. Will have to give that method a go too!

    Hi Mama - I do love fried eggs on rice with a splash of soy, but yeah, I love eggs any style. Just not watered down or overcooked!

    Hi Grocer - Egg freshness does make a huge difference. Thanks for the links and tips :)

  • At 7/11/2013 1:32 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just bought a two pack pod for poaching eggs from Coles for $2. Just had lunch and perfect poached eggs. In a pot with lid for 5 mins.


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