Preserved egg is a unique Chinese food. Japan and South Korea serves this special egg in some local restaurants as well. What is interesting and makes me what to write about this food is because of my dad. My dad’ s working environment is always surrounded by people from different countries. When they went out for food together, my father said most of his international friends were having a hard time accepting the preserved egg, and many of them thought it was the weirdest Chinese food they had ever seen.
The history of preserved eggs can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty, which was found to be recorded accurately in 1504. According to the traditional Chinese medicine records, preserved egg is not only delicious food, but also contains certain medicinal value. It can be used for relieving toothache, high blood pressure, and also dispelling the effects of alcohol.
Even though I am a Chinese, I didn’t like preserved egg, either, when I was in my high school. First, preserved egg is in a dark gray color or sometimes is black with light pine needles pattern. As an egg, this kind of color is really a bit strange. And, when I know that preserved egg is made by preserving duck or chicken eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, I always tried to avoid eating this food on table.
However, what made me change my opinion on preserved eggs was one of the most popular porridge in China – preserved egg porridge with minced pork (This serves as regular food on KFC’s breakfast menu in China).
Usually, the preserved egg porridge tastes salty. Lots of people will cook the porridge until the rice comes viscous. The preserved eggs and pork will be cut into small pieces, which helps the rice absorb the aroma of those two foods and make the rice more mellow.
I have found a very detailed recipe of preserved egg and pork congee for you. It is very simple, and most of the ingredients can be easily purchased in West Lafayette area (C&T Market/ Better World Market). You will love the preserved egg after you try one.
- Wash the rice; soak with clean water for at least 1 hour. Transfer out and drain.
- Marinate rice with salt and oil. Rest for around 15 minutes. And then marinate minced pork with cornstarch and pinch of salt.
- In a pot, bring water or stock to a boil and then add rice. After 10 minutes, turn down the fire to simmer for around 40 minutes or until the rice is almost broken. Stir several times to prevent rice stick to the bottom.
- Place pork and century egg in. Continue simmer for around 5 to 8 minutes over medium fire.
- Sprinkle salt and mix well.
- Transfer to serving bowl, top with spring onion, coriander plus preserved Sichuan mustard (optional) before serving.
For more information about the recipe: http://www.chinasichuanfood.com/chinese-congee-with-pork-and-century-egg/
If you feel not confident in cooking, the China One restaurant also serves preserved egg porridge. However, I’m not highly recommending this method because the porridge there is expensive.
Attention: Do not eat too many preserved eggs, especially children, because they may contain a little lead (like popcorn). Certified lead-free preserved eggs are available.