My laziness contradicts itself. When people hear that I make my own kimchi, they usually respond with “Wow! You make your own Kimchi?? I just get mine at the asian shop because I’m too lazy.” The irony is that I make my own kimchi because I’m too lazy to make the trip to the asian grocer’s. Hah! When you live in the countryside and the next Asian grocer’s is a train and bus ride away, you learn to either do without some things or you learn to make your own. Like kimchi and salted eggs. Even egg tofu! But that’s another post for another day. It’s about the eggs today.
Salted eggs are traditionally used in mooncakes, rice dumplings or even steamed by itself and eaten with porridge or congee. In the last couple of years though, there’s been a salted egg craze in Asia. I THINK it started with Liu Sha Bao, a steamed bun filled with a salted egg yolk custard and you can find it on most dim sum menus. While it wasn’t exactly a new dish, it suddenly got A LOT of attention and that’s when things started going out of hand. Salted egg dishes started popping up everywhere. From salted egg prawns to salted egg potato chips and salted egg croissants! There are lists of salted egg dishes for the brave and curious to try out.
I used to think that salted eggs were really difficult to make and that the process involved burying the eggs in a bed of charcoal and horse pee (YIKES!! That’s really a myth about century eggs, though.) While salted charcoal is one way to go, there is a much much easier and practical way of simply brining them.
I was never really one for salted eggs but when I stumbled upon this recipe, the ease of it got me so intrigued I felt compelled to try it. I didn’t change a thing on the recipe except to swap out Shaoxing wine for Hua Tiao wine but really, I use them interchangeably. I’m that ignorant. Still, the eggs came out so perfectly! The yolks solidified and was a bright ball of orange that is just mesmerising. And you really can taste the pepper and the star anise in the eggs!
I am lucky enough to have very sweet neighbours. One of whom, when heard that I was looking for duck eggs, turned up on my doorstep one day with the eggs in her hands. Turns out her friend has ducks and she never knew what to do with the eggs, so lucky me get to “dispose” of the eggs for her! Yay! But if you can’t find duck eggs, no worries, I make it with chicken eggs all the time too and they’re every bit as good. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference.
The hardest part of the recipe is the 40 day wait, especially for my daughter. She eventually stops asking when the eggs will be ready around day 8 or 9. Maybe the wait would be easier if we had Josh Hartnett waiting with us. (If you did not get that reference……..)
Homemade salted eggs
Recipe from Christine’s Recipe
- 10 – 12 eggs (duck or chicken)
- 1 cup sea salt
- 4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp Hua Tiao wine
- 1 star anise
- 2 tsp Szechuan Peppercorn
- In a medium size pot, combine all ingredients, except the eggs, and bring to a boil until salt is dissolved. Set aside to cool. You want to brine your eggs, not cook them.
- Wash the eggs and check for cracks. Carefully place them in a big container and set aside.
- When the salt solution is cooled to room temperature, pour it into the container to cover the eggs. The eggs will float because the salt solution is so much denser. I used a flat rock (the ones in the pictures) to weigh down the eggs but you can use a saucer or anything you deem suitable. Use your imagination. Just be careful not to crack the eggs when weighing them down.
- Put the lid back on the container and leave the eggs to brine in a cool dark place for 30-40 days. I usually go for 40.
- When the eggs are brined, drain and rinse the eggs and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. They should keep for a few weeks to a month.