How to master perfect Chinese steamed eggs (蒸水蛋)

  How to master perfect Chinese steamed eggs (蒸水蛋)  

Not sure how many of you are familiar with Chinese Steamed Eggs, but if you are Chinese, this surely will not be strange to you. Steamed eggs was one of my all time favorite childhood dishes. It is a simple and delicate dish which goes well with steamed rice and I find it suitable when you don’t have much appetite or just want something light and simple. Having said that it is simple, yet it took me a long time to master it perfectly, we have a Chinese saying “易學難精” which means easy to learn but difficult to master it perfectly.

When I was studying abroad in the UK, I needed to cook for myself. So steamed eggs came to my head, as it is supposed to be easy. Whisk eggs, add water, mix and steam, how difficult could that be?! But I failed for the first time. I asked my mom, she told me the instructions, after some time I tried again, the eggs solidified and was edible but the appearance was not smooth and pretty. Then I have not tried again for years until I came to Basel. Made occasionally, results were better but not quite consistent until these last 2 times. I don’t even need to measure the water required or sieve the egg mixture to get rid it of air bubbles as some people suggest nor I need to turn the heat from high heat to medium high. And I do not need to worry that it may be overcooked, exactly like how my mom does it. Every time I told my mom that it didn’t work perfectly, she teased me that I cannot master this simple dish. When I was in Hong Kong a few months ago in last November, she showed me that she didn’t even need to cover the plate anymore and the steamed eggs would still come out smooth with no bubbles. I suppose this is really a matter of practice, experience, and experiments with trials and errors.

So these last 2 times, with an interval of 6 months, I am able to repeat the perfect steamed eggs. I posted an iPhone photo in Facebook, unexpectedly that has generated a lot of comments and a lot of time asked me how to do it. It’s really no secret, so I take the chance to share my experience with you.

The above picture is the most basic version which contains only normal eggs.

As I grew up,  my mom has made us many other versions namely:

  • Steamed egg with salted egg (咸蛋蒸蛋)
  • Tricolor steamed eggs (三色蒸蛋) which consists of normal eggs, salted egg and thousand years egg
  • Steamed eggs with dried scallops (瑤柱蒸蛋)
  • Steamed egg with minced pork or beef (肉碎蒸蛋)
  • Steamed egg with fresh fish (魚片蒸蛋)
  • Steamed egg white (蒸蛋白), mom’s latest version, to minimize the cholesterol intake.

 

Luxury version :

  • Steamed egg white with crab leg or whole crab (花雕蛋白蒸蟹鉗), latest luxurious version. This is much more challenging, better leave the restaurants to prepare for us, haha.

Chinese Steamed Egg02

 

P1000290

Tims kitchen steamed egg white

Photo Courtesy of my dear friend, Annette @Tim’s Kitchen Hong Kong, Nov 2013 during our get together gals’ dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs or more or just one
  • cooled down boiling water (or cooked chicken stock rest at room temperature)
  • pinches of salt or chicken bouillon powder
  • finely chopped onion
  • toasted sesame oil
  • light soy sauce

Directions

  1. Whisk the eggs in a bowl (we whisk with chopsticks).
  2. Add in the cooled boiling water (Water : eggs ratio is approximately 1.5 : ); some people use the half egg shell to measure or more accurately they pour the whisked egg to a measuring cup. Somehow now I manage to be able to add the water with my eyes. The results are even better than by measuring ironically.
  3. Season the egg mixture with some salt or chicken bouillon powder.
  4. Add in some finely chopped spring onion if desire. Set the bowl aside. You can transfer to another deep plate or bowl for steaming. For my case, I could use the same bowl.
  5. Prepare your steaming equipment, a wok with a rack or a steamer.
  6. When the water is boiling, you can place your bowl or plate of egg mixture into the wok or steamer. Place a plate to cover the steam eggs. Steam for about 12-15mins at high heat. The more eggs you have, the longer it will take. You can check briefly if you are not sure if the eggs are set or not by lifting up the plate. If not totally set, give a feel extra minutes.
  7. When it is done, remove the bowl/ plate from the wok/ steamer. Drizzle a little sesame oil and soy sauce on top and serve immediately with steamed rice.

 

Tips:

  • Remember only use water that has been boiled and cooled down to room temperature, this helps to eliminate the air bubbles.
  • the 1.5 : 1 water to eggs ratio is a rough guideline, I find that the eggs will still set if a little too much water is added, whereas too little water will make the steamed eggs less smooth. Therefore a little bit more is better than a little less.
  • Choose a plate that covers well the plate or bowl so that the steam or water droplets will not go inside. This is very very important. One time I cover differently with the other side of the plate, I ruined the steamed egg because of the steam had got inside. If it is covered well, even if you steam for 20 minutes or longer, the steamed eggs will remain smooth. Cover with the bottom side of the plate up.
  • Once you have found out which bowl and or plate that work for your steamed egg. Repeat again with these utensils and don’t switch if not necessary.

Other Info

  Recipe Type : Main Course
  Preparation Time : 00:10
  Cooking Time : 00:12
  Total Time :
  Yield : 1 bowl
  Rating :      

2 Responses

  1. Chef Ramsey

    My modified recipe that goes well with any dish and all kinds of rice, it takes 5 minutes.
    Eggs. (However many you would like)
    Step one. Crack eggs into a porcelain bowl. *porcelain because you have to microwave it later.
    Step two. Mix the eggs.
    Step three. Add half water according to the amount of eggs you have.
    Step four add a pitch of salt
    Step five. Mix and wait for the bubbles to settle
    Step six, place in microwave on high for 3 minutes
    Step 7. Take it out, *caution hot* and add 4 spoons of soy sauce.
    Step 8, dine

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