January 5, 2014

Chinese Salted Duck Egg 鹹鴨蛋

Chinese Salted Duck Egg 鹹鴨蛋

chinese, salted egg, duck egg, salted duck egg, recipe, homemade
By Published: 2014-01-05
You want to know why homemade food is worth your time and effort?  Because it tastes so incredible, that's why!  Since we have started making more and more things from scratch I have discovered that it's not really about money saving, but about super taste!  Which is great if you love food and eating like we do.  Very consistently homemade foods taste waaaay better than than the crappy commercial stuff you pay for.  We recently tried making our own Chinese Salted Duck Egg and 'Wow!' were we happy with the results!  The bright orange yolk was lusciously greedily oily while the egg whites were salty, yes, but also permeated with the scents of star anise, cinnamon and szechuan pepper used in the brine. Chinese Salted Duck Egg is super easy to make, you just have to find a source for fresh duck eggs (chicken eggs can be substituted, I've heard), brine the eggs and then wait for 20-30days.  What?! So long you say!  All good things come to those who wait...we promise!

chinese, salted egg, salted duck egg, 鹹鴨蛋

For the fresh duck eggs we went our local hong kong wet market, of course.  There's a little store there where an old couple have been selling eggs forever and they have really interesting eggy stuff like free range eggs, etc., for really, really reasonable prices.  The old egg man is a prickly bear with a soft spot for little kids and cats.  At first he was super grumpy with us and now that we've been going to his shop for a while, he's much nicer.  His wife is sometimes there too. The day that we bought these duck eggs (almost two dozen!) there was only the little old egg lady there keeping shop and she could just barely lift our bag of eggs!  What a wonderful thing to be working and keeping busy even as you get old.  I want to do that!

chinese, salted egg, salted duck egg, 鹹鴨蛋

chinese, salted egg, salted duck egg, 鹹鴨蛋

You will have to really wash the eggs well.  I was using an old toothbrush at first but then ended up just using my finger to gently scrape off all the yuckies.  (Update:  I've discovered that gently using a bit of steel wool is the best way to clean the eggs!)  Duck eggs are a beautiful blushing blue color that will intensify after brining.  The reason it is preferable to use duck eggs rather than chicken eggs is a flavor issue.  Duck eggs are more oily for whatever reason so salted duck egg yolks are really prized for their creamy, oily, fragrant taste and texture.  These same duck egg yolks are what is used inside of Chinese Mooncakes.

chinese, salted egg, salted duck egg, 鹹鴨蛋

Another great thing you can get at your Hong Kong local wet market is spices!  You can get all kinds of spices and they are always sold in small quantities which is great because you won't end up with jars and jars of spices that will take forever to use up (I plead guilty!).  We used Szechuan pepper, Star Anise,  Cinnamon or Cassia Bark and Black Cardamom.  Ummm...these spices smell seriously good!  As for the most important ingredient, the salt, well, if you can afford it get sea salt.  Sea Salt not only provides extra minerals for your body but also adds a wonderful flavor element.  In other words, sea salt is tasty, not just salty.  

chinese, salted egg, salted duck egg, 鹹鴨蛋



This is what our Salted Duck Egg yolk looked like after cooking.  Just oozing with delicious yolky oil!  The top image is of our delicious Steamed Pork Patty with Salted Duck Egg  咸蛋蒸肉餅.  The bottom image is Salted Duck Egg steamed on top of rice as it is cooking (just put the whole egg on top of rice and water before cooking.)  The yolk, as you can see, was a luscious, melt in your mouth, fragrantly oily taste sensation!  When I was a little girl I used to fight with my sisters for my "fair" share of the Salted Duck Egg yolk.  Nowadays my little girl and her daddy and I fight over the egg yolk.  Yeah, a family tradition continued!  But seriously, my little girl loves Salted Duck Egg yolk and always asks for more because it is so yummy!

Chinese Salted Duck Egg Recipe 鹹鴨蛋

Large Glass Jar

Ingredients:

20 fresh duck eggs (or chicken eggs)
1 1/2 cup fine ground salt
6 cups water
2 1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
6 star anise
4 tsp szechuan peppercorns
3 pieces cinnamon bark
3 black cardamoms

Directions:

Clean eggs thoroughly.  Make sure eggs are not broken.  Bring water, salt and spices to boil until all salt is dissolved.  Turn heat off and let cool to room temperature.  Add the wine.

 Carefully place your eggs into your glass jar or porcelain container.  Pour your cooled brine over the eggs.  The brine should be able to cover the eggs completely.  If not top up with a little bit of cool boiled water.  Use a lid or plate to weight down the eggs so that they are submerged in the brine completely.  Cover and store at room temperature for around a month.  Test one egg by cooking it.  If it is salty enough for your taste, remove all eggs from brine, rinse with water and store in the fridge.  If not salty enough, let the eggs brine for another week before rinsing and storing.  Happy Eggy days!

Tip: Update!  We have found that the perfect length of time for us for marinating the salted duck eggs is 20 days.  The eggs have a perfect balance of oily yolk and salty (but not too salty) egg white.

Recipes to use with your Chinese Salted Duck Eggs at The Hong Kong Cookery:

chinese, congee, rice porridge, recipeChinese Congee 粥

make your own mooncake recipeMid Autumn Festival- Making Your Own Mooncake

zong zi rice dumpling recipeZong Zi Rice Dumpling 粽子
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11 comments:

  1. Hi can u reuse the salt water?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ivy - Yes, you sure can reuse the salt water! We've been doing just that. Be sure to have clean, dry hands and utensils whenever you touch the salt water so as not to contaminate it and your salt water can be reused many times. Always check with a good sniff for any off smells and look for any bubbling (bad) before reusing. ~ellen

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    2. Almost forgot! Also make sure your duck eggs are completely dry before submerging them in the salt water! ~ellen

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  2. Hi Ellen: Can you please post the recipe for "Salted Egg Steamed Pork Patty" - I assume it is 鹹蛋蒸豬肉? My mother used to make it when I was little but I can't make it taste like hers. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi H Gotts - glad to hear from you again! I can't believe I forgot to post Steamed Salted Egg Pork Patty, we make it all the time. Will rectify soon, thks ~ellen

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  3. Thanks Ellen for the salted egg recipe.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mary - You're very welcome! ~ellen

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  4. How long would the eggs last before needing to be used? Would you just continue to store it in the salty brine indefinitely until use?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julie - Don't store your duck eggs in the salty brine past the time when you think it is ready as it will just continue to get saltier and saltier. Stored in the fridge, the salted eggs will last up to 2-3 weeks. ~ellen

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  5. Hi! Did I understand it right that we have to remove the eggs from the brine solution and we can store it in the fridge without boiling for 2-3 weeks? How long can uncooked and cooked salted eggs stay in the fridge without spoiling?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Grace - Yes, you should store the brined eggs uncooked in fridge until you want to eat them. You can't keep eggs in the brine as it will keep getting saltier. Once cooked I would try to eat them up in a day or two (store in fridge meanwhile). ~ellen

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