Slow Cooked Eggs aka “Onsen” Eggs

By Dyske    July 14th, 2009

Creative Commons License photo credit: k.Akagami

In an episode of Top Chef Masters, Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 made slow-cooked eggs using an “immersion circulator”, and the judges went wild for them. One of them said he’s never had an egg like that, which is a bit embarrasing given that he is a food critic. According to this article written March of 2007, it was all the rage then already.

In fact, the Japanese have been slow-cooking eggs for hundreds of years in hotsprings. It’s called “Onsen” eggs. Similar eggs are served at some Japanese ramen noodle restaurants, such as Ramen Setagaya. When I saw Dufresne cook it on Top Chef, I didn’t make the connection at first because they made it sound so novel and high-tech. A friend of mine pointed it out to me that it’s just Onsen eggs.

5 Responses

  1. cooldude says:

    the japanese reckon that everything is theres… even stupid onsen eggs… how lame.. they even think korean kimchi is theres and call it fucking ‘kimuchi’ how fucking gay

  2. Frank Luo says:

    I think the reason that he never had a slow cooked egg is that when a food critic visits a restaurant, the proprietor and/or chef normally try to impress them with something more complicated than boiled eggs, slow or fast.

    Then again, if a food critic is not met with an array of infused, encrusted, caramelized… Things… He might well declare the restaurant uncreative and uninteresting. So it takes real courage to present a food critic with a perfectly executed simple dish, and an open-minded critic to see it for the perfection that it is.

    I am reminded of Giotto di Bondone’s perfect circle. A less obscure reference might be the rat Ratatouille presenting ratatouille in the eponymous animated film.

    On a less philosophical level, eggs that are only barely cooked at low temperatures, and so retains a slight creaminess, is not uncommon — it is among the best ways to cook scrambled eggs, to whisk it while cooking and stopping at just the right time, taking into account that it continues to cook for a while after you remove it from the pan. It is, I believe, also the desired result when stirring a raw egg into things like Oyakodon and ramen, although in those dishes it is considerably more difficult to achieve because the diner has little control over the heat.

  3. Robert Geczi says:

    Who has time for these eggs to cook? Just boil it up in a jiffy, or fry it.

    Done. Onto the digestion phase, and the next course of food.

  4. GP says:

    Well, I have to say I did spend my New Year’s eve afternoon – a portion thereof – and cooked some ONSEN EGGS…
    My approach:
    I tied a meat thermometer (only one I have) onto the handle of my microwave (which I never use and hangs just above my stove) so that only the tip was dipped into the water, as it hung above the pot.

    I used a coffee-cup saucer, placing it upside down on the bottom of the pot, allowing some space between the bottom and the eggs themselves.

    I brought the water temp up to 149 degrees and dropped 4 room temperature eggs into the water — carefully monitoring the temperature for 45 minutes. Several times, I had to pull the pot off the burner but for chunks at a time the temperature remained stable at around 148 or so…

    After 45 minutes, I popped two English muffins into my toaster, keeping the eggs on for another 3 minutes (don’t ask me why–never made these before) and then took the eggs off the burner and ran cool water onto them.

    The English muffins sprang up, as I dried the eggs then dropped the muffins once again, for further browning.

    Then, ever so carefully I cracked the shells and began to peel–ONLY the TOP and part of the SIDE of the egg needs peeling as they easily, with a bit of a shake, plop right into the bowl or serving your preferred serving dish.

    Once I saw the gelatinous look of the whites, I knew I had succeeded. They look lovely!!!

    English up and buttered. Eggs salted and peppered and WOW….!!!!! The flavor and consistency unlike nothing else OR no other kind of egg you’ve ever had.
    Recap: 45 minutes (in my case 48 minutes) to cook at 149 or so degrees.
    –3 to 5 minutes to peel
    — 1 minute to eat!
    Somehow that doesn’t seem right… all that for one minute of culinary pleasure. I say try it and once you taste that creamy, luxuriant egg. And spread it onto your English muffin, you’ll want to do it again and fantasize on what other foods this wonder of an egg can be served with. I cannot wait to try it with asparagus and on top of fresh thin pasta, along with freshly shaved Parmigiano…. Delish!

    Smiles, g

  5. lovechickens says:

    Awesome ideas here, thanks. I actually took the plunge and got me some chickens last week! Now I have more eggs than I know what to do with!. You might like these egg recipes.