Khai Tom

To me, the egg is kind of the perfect food. You don't have to do much to it; it's very versatile. You can make it into a lot of different shapes and textures. A perfectly boiled egg is good for breakfast, in a soup, on top of rice or as a snack.

Always start with room temperature eggs. This is important. When we drop them into the boiling water and start the timer, we know that it's always going to come out with the same consistency. It ensures proper doneness.

If you start at room temperature, you know that at 4 minutes you get a soft-boiled egg with a runny yolk. At 6 minutes, it's runny in the center and starting to get molten. What we like to use are 8-minute eggs, which are set, almost molten and custard-like. The whites are a beautiful, soft, translucent consistency. They don't get chewy.

Bring a pot with plenty of water in it to a boil, adding salt. When at full rolling boil, set your timer for 8 minutes and add as many eggs to it as you want -- all at the same time using a spider or colander.

The trick is that, when the timer goes off, we immediately pull them out of the water and shock them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. It brings the temperature down quickly, whereas if you pull them out of the water and allow them to naturally fall back to room temperature, they'll continue to cook throughout.

When they're cool enough to handle, peel and eat. The yolks should be just set but still soft.

Also: We age the eggs. We get them in from the farm and let them sit for a week before we cook them. It makes them easier to peel after cooking. The white starts to collect itself and no longer sticks to the shell.

There's a dish called Khai Luk Koei (Son-In-Law Eggs), in which you boil and peel the eggs and then deep-fry them -- without breading or anything. It gives them a nice crispy crust on the outside. Then you slice them open and put a sweet tamarind and chili sauce on the top. They're eaten as a drinking snack.

Andy Ricker

Andy Ricker is a chef and restaurateur who specializes in Thai cuisine. He won a James Beard award in 2011 and owns restaurants in Portland, Ore., and New York under the Pok Pok umbrella.