Steamed Eggs with Spicy Bean Paste Sauce

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A classic Chinese dish of perfectly steamed eggs with a spicy bean paste sauce to top it off, including tips on how to get that silky smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture of steamed eggs.
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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!

I enjoyed it immensely in any way my mother prepared it – plain, steamed with minced meat or seafood, or with savoury, saucy toppings like this spicy bean paste sauce, flavoured with everyday spices and ingredients you’re bound to have stocked in your kitchen.


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  (whisper… this is going to take 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?

We all desire that perfect texture of steamed eggs – smooth, silken, almost creamy and melts-in-your-mouth, literally. It all comes down to 3 things: the ratio of water (or stock) to eggs, ample supply of steam at a consistent heating temperature, and good control of the steaming time.

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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 the whole measuring thing, and my steamed eggs always turn out beautifully. So what’s the tip? Here it is:


{  For every egg, add 3 half egg-shells of water.  }


Trust me, this ratio works! I know it looks awfully imprecise, and 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. I think this formula works because it keeps the proportion of water to eggs consistent, regardless of the size of eggs you use, as you’re using the egg shells to measure the portions.

There is an underlying assumption here – that 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. I have found that 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), and that will be counted as one half egg-shell of water. 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.

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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 which occur whenever you lift the lid off the steaming dish to add more water, can also be avoided. Always bring the water in the steamer (with lid on) to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, place the eggs 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, exercise good control of 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, the egg mixture is pale yellow in colour and is firmly set around the edges, with just a slight jiggle in the centre when you give the dish a gentle shake. Prick this jiggly centre with a bamboo skewer or toothpick, and if it emerges free of liquid, or 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), and also the type of dish ware you use, for example, ceramic, metal or glass.

Oh yes, one more thing – how do you get that silken smooth surface on your steamed eggs?

Once you’ve strained your egg mixture into the steaming dish, cover with a sheet of cling wrap. That’s it! 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 IS IT! All that’s left is the recipe… just chop, chop, and you can enjoy a steamy, saucy egg dish 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!

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5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe

Chinese Steamed Eggs with Spicy Bean Paste

A classic Chinese dish of perfectly steamed eggs with a spicy bean paste sauce to top it off, including tips on how to get that silky smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture of steamed eggs (adapted from 'All About Steaming' published by GIPH Media Pte Ltd).
Course: Dinner, Egg & Tofu, Lunch, Meat, Side, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Servings :4 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggs
  • 200 - 225 ml water (or roughly 9 half egg-shells of water)
  • 1/2 tsp chicken seasoning powder

For the Spicy Bean Paste Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp minced pork
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp spicy soy bean paste (tau cheong)
  • 1 dried Chinese mushroom soaked in water till softened, minced
  • 1 red chilli seeded, minced (optional)
  • 1 water chestnut peeled, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp corn starch mixed with 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onion for garnishing

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Beat eggs lightly. In a separate bowl, combine water and chicken seasoning powder and stir till powder is dissolved. Add to beaten eggs and stir till well combined. Strain into a steaming dish. Seal with cling wrap.
  • Fill a wok one-third full with water. Place a steaming rack over the water, making sure that the rack is well above the water level. Cover with wok lid and heat over high heat until water comes to a boil. Place the eggs dish on the rack, and cover with lid. Reduce to medium heat, and steam till cooked through. Remove from the wok.
  • In a saucepan, heat up oil till hot. Add minced pork and fry till separated. Add garlic, ginger, bean paste, mushroom, chilli, and fry till fragrant. Add stock (or water), salt and sugar, and bring to a boil. Then add water chestnut. Bring back to a boil and thicken with corn starch mixture. Turn off heat. Drizzle in the vinegar and sesame oil.
  • Pour or spoon the meat sauce over the steamed eggs. Garnish with chopped spring onions. Serve immediately.
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