Here’s a recipe from my mother for a simple Cantonese dish that transports me right back to my childhood. It was one of three or four dishes served at dinner, along with steamed white rice. My mother makes different versions of it, sometimes using dried scallops, sometimes dried shrimp, but whatever ingredients she uses, the basic steamed egg is the same – light, healthy and above all, delicious!
It should resemble a delicate, silky smooth panna cotta in texture. It takes a lot of practice to make this properly, and I’ve seen my mother occasionally get it wrong even after making it for so many years. Apologies for the lack of photos, but the top should look very smooth and ‘crater’-free. As you start eating it, the inside should also be smooth and neither over-cooked nor under-cooked.
Steamed Egg without Meat: (it’s hard to say how many people this will serve, as it’s supposed to be one of three or four shared dishes, eaten with steamed rice)
- 2 medium-size eggs
- Â½ tsp salt
- a little ground white pepper
- 2 slices ginger
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 260-280ml water (if you use more water, the end result will be softer; if you use less water, the egg will end up being a little more solid)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
What to do next:
Beat eggs, then add along with salt, pepper, ginger, spring onion and water into shallow dish (about 2 inches deep would be best, and my mother always uses a metal dish). Add water to base of wok or pan, wait until it reaches boiling point, place metal rack on base of wok or pan and put egg dish on top. Cover with lid and steam for about 10 minutes. Heat tablespoon of vegetable oil in the wok and pour with soy sauce over egg. Serve immediately.
Steamed Egg with Meat:
Hand mince about 90g pork or chicken, and marinade with a little salt, sugar, ground white pepper, soy sauce, cornstarch and a few drops of white vinegar. After 10 minutes, add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and mix (oil is always the last ingredient for marinading meat, because oil prevents the other ingredients from being absorbed).
Add meat to shallow dish and steam (same method as above) for about 10 minutes. Add egg mixture to dish, and steam for another 5 minutes. It takes less time to cook, because the meat and the dish are already very hot. Pour hot oil and soy sauce over egg, as above.