Hard boiled eggs are popular as nutritious and healthy breakfast dishes in all corners of the world. These are multivitamin rich, especially in Vitamin A(Retinol) and K. Hence, these ensure protection of our delicate eyes and help to strengthen our muscles. Besides, hard boiled eggs contain high percentage of proteins, enabling cellular repair and regeneration.
Boiled eggs form a picturesque part of our morning salad, known as ‘egg salad’. These also act as starting materials to prepare other healthy dishes like scrambled eggs and deviled eggs. In addition to that, hard boiled eggs are also used for preparing Christmas cakes.
Boiled eggs are also rich sources of minerals like iron, phosphorous, sulphur, calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium. Their carbohydrate content is 0.6 gram. These are also rich in fats like lecithin. They have high calorie content of 77 Calories.
Boiled eggs are an instant meal. Boiling is probably the easiest and least time taking cooking process. However, eggs may be half boiled or hard boiled, as per one’s taste preferences. Boiled eggs may be of the following types.
- Soft boiled eggs: These have a viscous and runny yolk. These are also known as coddled eggs.
- Mollet eggs: The yolk is semi liquid in mollet eggs. The shell is firm.
- Hard boiled eggs: These are boiled longer, causing the yolk at the core to solidify.
Boiling is not a very simple process, since one needs to be careful not to over boil the eggs. Boiling time is a crucial parameter which determines the nutrition content of the final dish. It depends on a number of factors such as
- Shape of pan
- Egg size
- Egg water ratio
- Altitude where the dish is being prepared
Hard boiling is done basically by 2 methods i.e. steam cooking and by immersion in water. Both the processes require a lot of precautions for preventing overcooking or undercooking of eggs.
In this method, combination of steam and heated water is used for making hard boiled eggs. The process is referred to as steaming. Since the cooking of eggs is done via steam source, the temperature of water does not vary during the process. Hence boiling time is only 8 minutes, regardless of the how many eggs have been placed in the steamer basket.
- 4-6 fresh eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- Steamer basket
- Pour little water inside a pot and insert a steamer basket. Boil it. Put the eggs in steamer basket for 15 minutes. In this process, the steam penetrates the shells of the eggs, which makes them easier to peel.
- Adding a teaspoon of salt helps in quicker firming of eggs. It also prevents leakage in case the shell develops a crack.
- One may try cracking the shells without peeling and soak the eggs in water for few minutes. This makes peeling easier. It generally takes 8 minutes of steaming for preparing hard boiled eggs.
- For those living in a high altitude location, it is advisable to leave the eggs for a long time in heated water. Alternately, a low simmer could be maintained for 10 to 12 minutes.
In this process, eggs are boiled by immersion in boiling water till the yolks solidify. Cracking of eggs during boiling is prevented by adding a pinch of salt.
- 4-6 fresh eggs
- ½ tsp salt
Materials and equipments required
- Immersion in water: Place the eggs at the bottom of a saucepan. Pour one to two inches of cold water into the saucepan. The quantity of water must be sufficient so that the layer of eggs stay immersed in water.
- Heating: Heat the pot at high heat to start boiling the eggs. One may add 1 tsp of vinegar, in order to prevent the egg whites from running out, in case egg develops a crack during the boiling process. One may also put half teaspoon of salt which prevents cracking and makes the process of peeling of boiled eggs easier.
- Optimizing conditions: Turn off the heat supply, and then keep the pan for few minutes on hot burner. This facilitates perfect boiling.
- Cooling boiled eggs: Strain the water content from pan. Run cold water over eggs, so that they get cooled in less time. This also prevents overcooking. For a large batch of eggs, one can try the option of transferring to a bowl containing ice water.
- Storage: Once the eggs get hard boiled, they could be stored in a covered bowl in a refrigerator. If stored at room temperature these must be consumed within 2 hours of preparation. If stored in refrigerator, they stay fresh and edible upto 5 days.
- In case the sulphur in the egg white reacts with its iron content during hard boiling of eggs, it forms a greenish ring, which must be prevented. This is commonly observed when eggs are boiled for too long or upto a very high temperature.
- Before the cooking process, one must never try to piece the eggs. This increases the chances of bacterial attack upon the egg.
- Microwaves are hardly ever used for hard boiling of eggs. If placed in microwave, steam is likely to form too quickly in the inside and its excess pressure may cause the egg to explode.
- Sometime, fresh eggs just purchased might be difficult to peel. It is advisable to refrigerate them for 7-10 days, before one commences with the hard boiling. During refrigeration, the eggs are able to absorb in some air which makes separation of the membranes from the egg shell bit easier.
- Immediately after cooling eggs, peeling eggs is quite easy. This is because the process of cooling induces a slight contraction of the egg inside the shell.
- In order to peel a hard boiled egg, one may slightly tap on the surface and observe the shell getting crackled all over. Then roll the eggs between both the hands, so that the shell gets loose. Then bring the egg in contact with running water and start peeling from the larger end. This helps take out the shell without any hassles.
- After peeling, eggs must be eaten within the day.
- Hard boiling is not possible at an altitude of more than 10,000 ft.