Smooth, slippery and heavenly soft, Chinese steamed eggs requires minimum ingredients yet delivers a delicate look and flavour. Learn how to make it flawlessly.
I’m very lucky to have had a childhood full of sweet memories and many of them are food related. My family didn’t have any sophisticated ingredients but every single dish my mum & dad prepared was so satisfying and delicious. Today, I’m sharing a super simple dish that always reminds me of my dear mum (now it has become my own children’s favourite dish): Chinese steamed eggs (蒸蛋羹), also know as water egg or egg custard.
It couldn’t be simpler to make Chinese steamed eggs: beat the eggs, add water then steam. Voilà, all done! However, it does require a bit of attention to detail to achieve the perfect texture: smooth, slippery and heavenly soft. I consider myself a perfectionist especially when it comes to cooking, so I’d love to share my tricks on how to produce a bowl of flawless Chinese steamed eggs.
The right egg water ratio
Too much egg will result in a hard curd, whereas too much water will make it impossible to turn the mixture into a solid form. The ideal egg water ratio should be around 1:2 in volume. For example, I normally use medium-sized egg which measures about 50ml each. So I add 100ml of water. If you wish, replace water with chicken stock for a fuller taste.
The right water temperature
Warm water works best for this recipe. The right temperature helps the beaten egg and the water to combine. I would suggest around 45°C (113°F). But don’t rush to buy a thermometer! I have a simple trick: boil some water, then pour it into the same amount of cold tap water.
Getting rid of lumps and bubbles
In order to make the steamed egg super smooth, you need to remove any lumps and bubbles in the egg water mixture prior to steaming. if possible, use a sieve to filter when pouring the mixture into steaming bowl(s).
Avoid dripping water from the lid
When it comes to steaming, I’ve got two options for you: 1. Use a regular steamer if you have one; 2. Use an ordinary pot which is wide enough to place your bowl(s). Sit the bowls directly in the boiling water. Make sure the water level is right: low enough not to splash into the egg bowl and high enough to complete 10 minutes steaming without drying out the pot.
Unless using a traditional bamboo steamer which allows the steam to escape from the lid, I suggest you cover the bowls with cling film (pierce a couple of times). This is to prevent the condensation on the lid from dropping onto the smooth surface of the egg curd. See the image above: the bowl on the left wasn’t covered by cling film thus has an uneven surface.
Seasoning: less is more
Chinese steamed eggs doesn’t need sophisticated seasoning to impress your palate. Exactly like how my mum serves this dish, I only add a little light soy sauce and sesame oil, then cut through the curd several times to let the sauce penetrate. Simply delicious!
Sometimes, I garnish the steamed eggs with prawns and vegetables like asparagus, carrot, etc. In this case, you need to steam the eggs as usual for 7 minutes, then place in the garnish and steam for a further 3 minutes.