Monday, June 30, 2014

Chinese Steamed Egg Custard Recipe

A silky, smooth and thin custard topped with a savoury mince. A dish that's very common in many, many Chinese households around Malaysia

One of the reasons why I LOVE my company is that everyone is such foodies, no kidding. What brings us together is that we're all such fatties, which is something we happily embrace. We. LOVE. Food. Whether it's cooking awesome meals for your usual weekday lunch using the office kitchen; or telling each other about a new restaurant we've tried over the weekend; or even sharing a recipe we've tested that turned out amazing. 

Another thing that makes this whole foodie scenario more fun is the fact that we truly celebrate each other's cultural diversity. Which is why every few months, we have this thing called the "International Food Day". Basically, it's a potluck for everyone to bring a dish from their cultural heritage. Plus, we secretly love it even more when some people get their Mums/Aunties/Grandmothers to prepare these traditional dishes -- wowsers. If only Mum lived in Melbourne too so I can kindly ask her to contribute something and pass it as my own creation (as if anyone's going to buy that).

Obviously, we always, always overestimate the amount of food to bring and we end up having SO much leftovers. Personally, I'm not complaining because one of my favourite things about potlucks is (shamelessly) taking home the leftovers. 

Taken from my Instagram: @winceeee

We've honestly outdone ourselves the last time. We really did. Our company is growing, which also means, more food at International Food Day... Yeeew!! This time, we had Italian, Australian, Lebanese, Syrian, Jewish, Iranian, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Russian, Macedonian and Greek food... AMAZING to say the least. Everyone always puts in so much effort (or sometimes, their Mum does haha) that the end result is just too good.

For myself, I always make sure that the food I bring is Vegetarian, just so I can share with my vego friends in the office. Not the easiest thing to do if you're Chinese as we are natural carnivores but I think it's been so far so good. In the past, I've made my Seri Muka (Malaysian Pandan Custard with Sweet Glutinous Rice), Vego Fried Noodles, Malaysian Vegetable Curry and now this, Chinese Steamed Egg Custard (but the vego version). 

These photos are the vegetarian version, using tofu instead of minced meat =)

This dish is hands down one of my favourite childhood dishes to eat. It's a dish that's found in almost every Chinese household around Malaysia, with so many variations from family to family. There's 2 ways that I like to have this:
1) The quick steamed version (that creates a soft, pillowy custard) with the mince at the bottom of the dish
2) Low and slow steamed version (that creates a smooth, silky custard) with the mince at the top of the dish

I've shared the first version several years ago in the link: here

Photo of pillowy version from 2011 
*cringes at old photos*

Essentially the same dish, but the different methods make it feel like 2 completely different dishes. I make the first version at home on for a quick weeknight dinner and the second version when I want to make it more presentable to share with others. Both equally delicious and satisfying.

Anyway, here's the recipe for the smooth, silky, thin and light custard version. With vegetarian version, which is just as satisfying as the meat version, if I may add. 

Chinese Steamed Egg Custard Recipe


For the custard:
8 eggs *
400 ml stock or water *
1/2 tsp salt
White pepper
1 salted duck egg yolk (optional)
1 century egg (optional)

* Quantity may be adjusted to suit the size of your dish. Ratio is 50ml stock/water per egg.

For the seasoning:
1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Chinese Shao Xin wine
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn flour
2 tbsp water
Few dashes white pepper

For the mince:
200g minced pork or beef *
1 cup dried shiitake mushroom
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 brown onion (diced finely)
4 cloves garlic (diced finely)

For vegetarian version, replace minced meat with equal amount diced firm tofu

To garnish:
Chopped spring onions
Fried shallots (optional)
1 tsp soy sauce
Sesame oil


1. Beat all the ingredients of the custard in a large bowl until well combined. Dice the salted duck egg yolk and century egg (if using) and stir into the custard. Pour into a deep round dish and set aside.

2. Mix all the ingredients of the seasoning with the minced meat. Set aside.

3. Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl of boiled water for 20 minutes to let it rehydrate. Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid. Dice to small cubes and set aside.

4. Heat up a pan with the oil. Add the onions and garlic and fry until fragrant. Add in the minced meat and mushrooms and stir until the meat is cooked. Dish out and set aside.

5. Place the dish with custard in a steamer. Steam on medium-high for 25 to 30 minutes until the egg is set but still slightly wobbles in the centre. It is done when liquid doesn't spill out when you cut into it. 

Tip: Don't cover the steamer completely with the lid (with about a 2cm gap) so that the steam doesn't get pent-up. This helps to make sure the custard remains smooth and silky.If the steam is too high, the custard will inflate and has lots of pores on the surface. 

6. Remove the cooked custard from the steamed and top with cooked mince mixture. Drizzle 1 tsp of soy sauce and few drops of sesame oil around the egg. Garnish with spring onions and fried shallots (if using). Serve immediately with rice.

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