Health Freak Mommy: Chinese Steamed Egg Custard

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Chinese Steamed Egg Custard

I have lost count on the number of times I had attempted to dish out the 'silky smooth steamed egg' dish but each time I did, I failed!  Sometime I failed so miserably that I vowed not to try it again, only to try it yet again when the littlest one kept bugging me to order steamed egg each time we have dinner outside.  Yes, steamed egg is Cass' number 1 favorite dish.  In fact, this girl just loves eggs cooked in any style but her top favorite has got to be steamed egg Chinese style and Chawan Mushi (Japanese style).

I have Googled for steamed egg recipes several times in the past but the recipes that I followed did not reveal the ultimate tricks to silky smooth steamed egg with texture like custard.

Yesterday, I did a Google search  to look for the perfect steamed egg recipe again.  I randomly picked one of the recipes in the search results and tried this blogger's recipe, which came with really  handy tips and tricks and yes, I finally succeeded!!

Finally I can show off my silky smooth steamed egg custard!




Now I know why I failed miserably in the past!  I missed out on a few very important tricks, i.e. --
1) covering the plate while steaming. How could I have missed this step?!  This is the no.1 most important step

2) stir the egg mixture in a circular motion in ONE DIRECTION ONLY (clockwise or counter clockwise) until the egg white and egg yolk are totally combined.

RATIO : Add 3 oz water for one egg.  I used 5 eggs, so I added 15 oz of filtered water.






Trick #1. The Stirring Motion : Stir in a circular motion instead of back and forth motion. A back and forth motion creates lots of air bubbles which will prevent the surface of the egg custard from being smooth. If it does end up with having a lot of bubbles, use a small spoon to scoop out the bubbles, or set aside and wait for a few minutes for the bubbles to go away.

NOTE: I noticed in most recipes they required using a fine mesh strainer to filter out the membrane of egg yolk in the egg-water mixture. I found this is totally unnecessary if you stir the eggs well. Well, yesterday I did not strain the egg mixture and the end product turned out super smooth!


Trick #2. The amount of water added: For each large egg you should add 3 oz of water. This ratio is important.

Trick #3: Add salt just before cooking the eggs. There is a chemistry term called Hofmeister series. It describes certain salts will make protein more soluble in water (salting in) while some salts will tend to decrease the solubility of protein in water (salting out). Egg white consists of water (92% by weight) and protein (8% by weight). The chloride anion from the table salt will tend to make egg white protein less soluble in the water. So if I add salt to the egg long before I am going to stir and mix it, the egg white protein will not mix well with the water. So remember add salt at the very end or just right before you are ready to cook it.

Trick #4: Cover the container while steaming. Condensed water vapor on the steamer lid will drip down into the bowl. If there is no cover on the bowl, the water will make the surface of the egg custard uneven and look like honeycomb.

Trick #5: The steaming time: 7-8 minutes.  Yesterday, I steamed my 5 eggs mixture for 7 minutes.  The 7 minutes of steaming is AFTER the water has started to bubble in the wok.  Only put in the plate of egg mixture after the water has bubbled.
My daughters' former babysitter used to steam the egg mixture for only 2 minutes and she lets the plate of egg mixture sit in the wok for another few more minutes, with the flame turned off.  She makes the world's smoothest and silkiest steamed egg, I kid you not. I really do miss her steamed eggs.  I must visit her one of these days to get the secret recipe from her!


RECIPE:

Chinese Steamed Egg Custard (recipe courtesy of Little Orange Bean)
Prep time:  


Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 1 serving
Tools: Steamer, a small mixing bowl, measuring cup, chopsticks for stirring, heat-proof container with cover
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg 
  • 3 oz water (if you use more eggs, you will have to do some multiplication to get the required amount of water)
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil
  • (Optional) pinch of salt
  • (Optional) green onion for garnishing
  • (Optional) Fried garlic with oil for garnishing
Instructions
  1. In a small mixing bowl, use chopsticks to whisk the egg in a stirring motion in one direction (clockwise or counter clockwise) until the egg white and egg yolk are totally combined.
  2. Add water and sprinkle salt; then briefly stir in one direction.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into a heat-proof container, cover with heat-proof lid or aluminum foil.
  4. Fill the steamer with cold water. Place the bowl in the steamer. Bring the water to a boil then turn down to medium heat with gentle boiling. Steam for 7 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, the egg custard should be slightly firm and wobble in the center. Test by inserting a toothpick; it should come out clean.
  6. Add sesame oil and garnish with green onion. Serve warm.
Notes
1. Stir in a circular motion instead of back and forth motion. A back and forth motion creates lots of air bubbles which will prevent the surface of the egg custard from being smooth. If it does end up with having a lot of bubbles, use a small spoon to scoop out the bubbles, or set aside and wait for a few minutes for the bubbles to go away.
2. Add salt just before cooking the eggs.
3. Cover the container while steaming. Condensed water vapor on the steamer lid will drip down into the bowl. If there is no cover on the bowl, the water will make the surface of the egg custard uneven and look like honeycomb.
4. Add 2 more minute for each additional egg. If you steam too long, the egg will be over cooked and tend to be tough.


Happy trying!  If I have succeeded, so can you! ;)



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