A classic Chinese dish of perfectly steamed eggs with minced pork in a spicy bean paste topping, including tips on how to get that silky smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture of steamed eggs.
A dish of perfectly prepared steamed eggs has a gloriously smooth, silky soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I could eat a whole bowl of it, and then some more! Here, steamed eggs with minced pork in spicy bean paste is flavoured with everyday spices and ingredients you’re bound to have stocked in your kitchen.
As a child and more so as an adult, I enjoy steamed eggs immensely in any way my mother prepared it. Whether served plain, steamed with minced meat or with savoury and saucy toppings.
In the old days, Chinese mothers often prepared this dish as a nutritional source of dietary protein that they could feed their families.
Eggs were among the more affordable food items then, compared to meats and seafood. So it’s no surprise that we often had egg dishes, and one of the most classic Chinese egg dishes is steamed eggs.
And I’m going to share with you here, just how easy it is to get perfectly steamed eggs. This post is a little longer than usual, but it’ll be worth every second of your time, I promise!
So How Do We Get Perfectly Steamed Eggs?
Do you desire that perfect texture of steamed eggs? For me, a dish of perfectly steamed eggs is all about getting that smooth, silky, creamy and delicate texture of soft tofu.
How to get smooth and silky steamed eggs right every time
This might sound a little like a science lesson, but really it’s all very simple. There are 4 aspects of perfecting your steamed eggs, and once you get nail these down, I guarantee you’ll have the best texture every time! In all likelihood, I’m betting that you’re already doing 3 out of the 4 correctly.
- Water to eggs ratio
- Enough water for steaming
- Keep consistent steaming temperature
- Control the steaming time
First, get the optimal ratio of water to eggs.
Years ago, I came across this very simple method of working out the amount of water (or stock), and it forever changed the way I prepare steamed eggs.
Since then, I’ve done away with measuring water or stock and no longer doubt that my steamed eggs will always turn out beautifully. So what’s the secret? It comes down to a simple ratio.
For every egg, add 3 half egg-shells of water.
Trust me, this ratio works! I know it looks awfully imprecise. Probably not what you would expect of a formula, but it’s never failed me.
And it saves me the trouble of having to work my head around weights and volumes as soon as I vary the number of eggs.
This formula works because it keeps the proportion of water to eggs consistent, regardless of the size of eggs you use, because you’re using the egg shells to measure volume.
There is an underlying assumption here, and that is you’re using eggs of roughly the same size. This isn’t normally an issue as we tend to use eggs in the same batch or carton, be it small, large or extra large eggs.
Also, it helps to break an egg nicely in half so that you get more or less equal half egg-shells. Using the larger of the two halves gives me a better result.
Fill that half egg-shell with water to the brim. That is, to the point where the shell can still hold the water without flowing over. This is counted as one half egg-shell of water. You need 3 of these per egg.
But hey, don’t sweat it if you cracked an egg and ended up more with 2/3 of an egg shell. Just fill it with water to about half the volume of the original egg.
Next, ensure an ample and consistent supply of steam.
Do make sure that you fill the steamer with an adequate supply of water right at the start. This will ensure an ample supply of steam, hence a more consistent steaming pressure.
Temperature fluctuations occur whenever you lift the lid off the steaming dish to add more water. So this should be avoided as far as possible.
Always bring the water in the steamer (with lid on) to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, place the egg mixture in the steamer. Put the lid back on, and then reduce the heat to a low.
If you must add water at some point, make sure you add boiling hot water.
Finally, control the steaming time.
Under-steaming or over-steaming will both affect the final texture of the steamed eggs, resulting in either an under-cooked egg mixture, or a stiffer texture if over-cooked.
When cooked just right, the egg mixture is pale yellow in colour. The eggs should be set firmly around the edges, with just a slight jiggle in the centre when you give the dish a gentle shake.
If you prick this jiggly centre with a toothpick, some liquid may ooze out. If the liquid is clear, it is cooked. Do note that steaming time will vary depending on how deep or shallow your dish is.
The shallower, the shorter the steaming time. Also the type of dish ware you use, for example, ceramic, metal or glass, can vary the time it takes to steam cook the eggs.
How to get silky smooth surface
It’s as simple as covering your dish with a sheet of cling wrap. Once you’ve strained your egg mixture into the steaming dish, stretch a sheet of cling wrap till its absolutely tight across the dish.
The cling wrap should not be in contact with the surface of the egg. Also, it stops any condensation from dropping onto the surface of the eggs during the steaming.
Just be sure to keep the fire low so that the egg mixture doesn’t heat up to the point of simmering or boiling , which will ruin that smooth surface we’re aiming for.
Okay, that’s all there is to it! All that’s left to the recipe is some quick chopping and stir frying. You’re on your way to enjoying this steamy, saucy steamed eggs with minced pork in spicy bean paste in less than half an hour! Enjoy!
Oh, and do let me know if the half egg-shell formula works for you! I’d love to know!
More recipes to inspire your next meal:
- Sweet and Sour Fish + The Best Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Mapo Tofu (Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork and Bean Curd)
- Sweet (or Salted) Radish Omelette
- Stir-fried Eggs and Tomatoes
- Steamed Eggs with Minced Meat