Half Boiled Eggs Recipe for Classic Kopitiam Eggs for Your Kaya Toast. 12 most popular Weekend Eggs recipes in 12 years of Grantourismo. Copyright © 2021 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Half Boiled Eggs Recipe for Classic Kopitiam Eggs to Go With Your Kaya Toast

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This half-boiled eggs recipe makes the classic kopitiam eggs tailor-made for having with kaya toast in a Singaporean or Malaysian coffee shop. The just-set, still runny yolks and milky whites are perfect for dipping toast ‘soldiers’ into. The secret is getting perfectly soft eggs every time. My technique is flawless for achieving the perfect soft boiled eggs every time.

This half-boiled eggs recipe for classic Singaporean and Malaysian kopitiam (coffee shop) eggs, like many of our recent Weekend Eggs recipes, is now coming from a place of missing our former life of travel and the opportunities it gave us to experience local rituals, particularly of the culinary kind.

We’ve especially been missing the experience of lingering over a long, slow, weekend breakfast or brunch at a local cafe or coffee shop and whatever that entails wherever we are in the world, and this half-boiled eggs recipe is a result of us craving the quintessential kopitiam breakfast in Singapore and Malaysia.

If you’re arriving here for the first time, we recently revived our Weekend Eggs series of the quintessential breakfasts of places, which we started when we launched Grantourismo ten years. We picked things up again with Calabria’s take on ‘eggs in purgatory’, followed by Thailand’s son-in-law eggs for kai look keuy (fried soft-boiled eggs), the puffy Thai omelette kai jiaw, and Cambodian steamed eggs recipe.

But before I tell you about this half-boiled eggs recipe for classic kopitiam eggs, we have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-supported, which means we rely on income generated from readers of this site to continue to share recipes and food stories. If you’ve cooked any of our recipes and enjoyed them, please do consider supporting Grantourismo if you can.

In this post you’ll find ways to support Grantourismo, such as clicking through to links to buy travel insurance, rent cars and hire campervans, book accommodation, or purchase books, kitchen utensils or ingredients. You can also purchase something from our online shop (we’ve got everything from gifts for foodies to food-themed face masks featuring Terence’s images) or you could support our Cambodian culinary history and cookbook on Patreon.

Now let me tell you about this half-boiled eggs recipe for classic kopitiam eggs.

Half Boiled Eggs Recipe for Classic Kopitiam Eggs to Go With Your Kaya Toast

I’ve been testing half-boiled eggs for weeks to try and find a foolproof technique to get perfect soft-boiled eggs every time, just like they serve in a coffee shop in Singapore or Malaysia. Plenty of dark soy and white pepper have been sprinkled over countless eggs resulting from endless variations of the cooking methods traditionally used to make these eggs.

The best bit about these half-boiled eggs is that they require very little attention. If you start these eggs on a timer, by the time your alarm goes off you could have toasted your bread, slathered on some kaya and be ready to dip those toast fingers into your eggs.

What I found during my research was that many half-boiled eggs recipes out there are just too vague about temperature and timing, and many don’t even give you the size of egg that’s desirable to make the recipe work. I tried very hard with our perfect soft boiled egg recipe to explain everything, so with this half-boiled eggs recipe I decided to go back to basics.

I liked the idea of the old-fashioned Malaysian way of making the eggs by placing them in an enamel tin cup – like the kind you might have found in the back of a cupboard in your grandmother’s kitchen or in a camping kit you only use once a year.

But the problem with timing eggs in these cups is that they don’t hold the heat very well. They’re almost as bad as ceramic cups, but that’s another story.

What makes this method even less reliable is the ambient temperature of the room where the cups are placed and how firmly the cups are covered during the cooking period. This will mean the difference between runny everything and firm yolks with really firm whites. But still, the simplicity of the idea was very alluring – no sous vide machine and no standing over a pot of water with a stopwatch.

So after numerous countless tests, I settled on a vessel that not only would retain heat well but with repeat cooking, the eggs would remain at the same level of doneness. And that vessel is a stainless steel vacuum insulated coffee mug.

Pouring just-boiled water into the mug with an egg placed inside and sealing the lid gives you an easily reproducible benchmark. The main variables left are the timing of the cooking of the egg and stopping the cooking process.

Tips For Making Half Boiled Eggs

During testing, I found that letting the water go off the rolling boil for 15 seconds before pouring the hot water into the mug reduces the likelihood of the raw egg cracking.

For the sake of accuracy, when it comes to the water bath, to stop the cooking of the eggs, I like the water to be around 10°C.

I found that the optimal time for half boiled eggs with a soft yolk was 8 minutes. Any shorter and the egg yolk was consistently not firm enough to hold together. The whites were sometimes a little runny, but for us these kopitiam eggs are all about the yolk.

If you like your half-boiled eggs to be a little more cooked so that you have a yolk that’s still soft but firm enough so that you can cut into it, I consistently found that 9 minutes was the perfect timing.

We’ve been served eggs like this a lot in Malaysia and Singapore, where the yolk had to be scooped out of one half of the egg shell when the egg was cracked. This is great with the toast ‘soldiers’ as you can spread the yolk like a jam over each piece.

Speaking of cracking the eggs, the classic technique is to hold the egg in your hand and crack it with the back of a spoon in the centre of the shell while holding it over your bowl. This method makes it easy to open the egg from the centre and ‘pour’ the egg into your bowl.

And speaking of jam, if you really want to be transported back to an old-fashioned kopitiam in Singapore or Malaysia then you’ll need to make a pot of kopi and our recipe for kaya coconut jam.

One last point. Some people have asked on social media why we have not recommended one of those electric egg cooker-boilers that a lot of kopitiam places use to make their half-boiled eggs.

This gadget might get used daily in a kopitiam, but unless you become addicted to these eggs, this device will end up in the back of the cupboard competing for storage space with that automatic bread maker.

Half Boiled Eggs Recipe

Half Boiled Eggs Recipe for Classic Kopitiam Eggs for Your Kaya Toast. 12 most popular Weekend Eggs recipes in 12 years of Grantourismo. Copyright © 2021 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Half Boiled Eggs Recipe for Classic Kopitiam Eggs

This half-boiled eggs recipe makes the classic kopitiam eggs tailor-made for having with kaya toast in a Singaporean or Malaysian coffee shop. The just-set, still runny yolks and milky whites are perfect for dipping toast 'soldiers' into. The secret is getting perfectly soft eggs every time. My technique is flawless for achieving the perfect soft boiled eggs every time.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Malaysian, Singaporean
Servings made with recipe2 Eggs
Calories 68 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 eggs - around 57 g (2 oz) per egg

Garnish

  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dark soy

Instructions
 

  • Bring water in a kettle or on the stove to a rolling boil.
  • Place each egg gently into an individual stainless steel vacuum insulated coffee mug.
  • Take the water off the boil for 15 seconds and then pour the water gently into each coffee mug covering the eggs fully. Put on the lid and set a timer for 8 minutes.
  • Fill a mixing bowl with cold water and a couple of ice cubes. We want the water bath to be around 10˚C.
  • When the timer is up, remove the eggs from the mugs with a large spoon and gently place them in the water bath.
  • When the eggs are cool enough to touch, remove them from the water bath and dry them off.
  • With an egg in your palm over the serving bowl, gently crack the centre of the egg.
  • Tip out the egg from the shell into the bowl. If the yolk stays in one half of the shell scoop it out with a spoon. Remove any extra egg white from the shells and add to the serving bowl.
  • Serve with white pepper, dark soy and toast fingers.

Nutrition

Calories: 68kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 230mgPotassium: 68mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 238IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 1mg

Do let us know if you make this half-boiled eggs recipe for classic Singaporean and Malaysian kopitiam eggs as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.

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AUTHOR BIO

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Terence Carter is an editorial food and travel photographer and infrequent travel writer with a love of photographing people, places and plates of food. After living in the Middle East for a dozen years, he settled in South-East Asia a dozen years ago with his wife, travel and food writer and sometime magazine editor Lara Dunston.

6 thoughts on “Half Boiled Eggs Recipe for Classic Kopitiam Eggs to Go With Your Kaya Toast”

  1. Love this! Perfect every time. But we make it so often I’ve been considering buying hubby one of those electric egg cooker-boilers you mention for Chrissy so he can take over the kopytam duties on the weekend. What do you think?5 stars

  2. Hi Carol,
    Glad the recipe is working for you.
    The electric egg cookers are used by small cafes and are great if you need to make a bunch of eggs – give it a go.
    Cheers,
    T

  3. Usually we don’t dip kaya toast with half boiled eggs… its either kaya n butter toast with coffee or buttered toast with half boiled eggs n coffee. That’s the traditional way..

  4. Everyone eats food differently and has different culinary traditions and rituals, even people within the same culinary culture, whether due to age, geography, background, experience, or preference/taste. One person’s tradition may not be another’s. Neither are right nor wrong, just different :) That’s what a lifetime of eating our way around the world, researching and writing about food has taught us :)

    When we first tried kaya and kopi in Singapore, on our first trip there and to Malaysia 21 years ago, everyone at the kopitiam was dipping the buttered kaya toast fingers into the soft-boiled eggs, so that’s what we did, we loved it, and we’ve eaten it that way every since. But, sure, I’ve also observed people only dipping the buttered toast and eating kaya spread on toast separately. We lived in Bangkok for years too and observed the same. Each to their own :)

    That’s what makes eating and cooking fun. Wouldn’t things be boring if we all did everything the same way?

    Thanks for taking the time to drop by and share your experience/tradition :)

  5. This recipe collection comes at a wonderful time, Honestly, I can eat eggs any time of the day! Your compilation gives me lots of new ideas! I especially love Fluffy Eggs with Salsa Recipe. I enjoy eating it very much. I saw your recipe and it seemed a little unique to me. After working out the recipe I realized the taste and smell is really awesome. I know many types of egg half boiled but after following this recipe I will not follow any other recipe while cooking half boiled EGGS. Thank you for the gift of such a delicious egg roast recipe. One thing I really want to know is what kind of cooking utensils this recipe can cook very well.5 stars

  6. Hello Ethelyn, great news – that’s what we love to hear! Thanks for taking the time to drop by and leave a comment :)

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