Chinese-style steamed egg

Steamed egg – making it is so easy yet difficult at the same time. — Filepic

Growing up, I assumed everyone knew what steamed egg was as it was a staple in my house, but I now realise it’s a novelty for some people. This was the one thing most kids would eat no matter how they fuss and turn their noses at the rest of the dishes on the table. Nutritious and tasty, my mum would make this when she ran out of ideas, or was in need of a gravy-like dish to go with rice. When I had my own kids, I appreciated this dish even more.

One of the easiest things to make, it can also be tricky mastering steamed egg if you are aiming for a silky smooth custard texture. For a smooth, clear surface, sieve the egg mixture to remove air bubbles and impurities, and cover with cling wrap, aluminum foil or a plate so that condensation water doesn’t drip onto the surface to form holes. As a general rule, the water to egg ratio is 2:1 but if you’re a perfectionist, use a weighing scale since eggs always vary in size anyway.

They say warm water (or chicken broth) ensures the mixture is steamed more evenly, especially since our eggs are often kept in the fridge. I confess, my steamed egg is often a hit-and-miss affair as far as the texture is concerned as I never bother to follow all the steps. It always turns out delicious either way.

To make things more interesting, you can add crabstick, fishcake, mushroom or up the game a notch by making it more luxurious with crab, prawn or scallop. Some Chinese restaurants offer “steamed three-colour egg” which is a mix of chicken egg, salted duck egg and century egg. My mum sometimes added you tiau (fried crullers) cut into smaller pieces − her own version − and I love this odd combination as it holds fond memories for me. — Contributed by PATSY KAM/

Use four eggs, or half that if you’re making a smaller portion.Use four eggs, or half that if you’re making a smaller portion.


4 eggs

2 cups water (or chicken broth)

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp white pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 stalk spring onion


1. Crack the eggs in a bowl, add salt and pepper, and beat the eggs together.

2. Add the oil and water, then stir gently to mix everything evenly.

Sieve the egg mixture to get rid of bubbles and impurities, for a smooth custard. — FilepicSieve the egg mixture to get rid of bubbles and impurities, for a smooth custard. — Filepic

3. Sieve the mixture into a wide and deep dish. At this point, put in the extra ingredients if any, and cover the dish with a plate.

4. In a wok (or whatever steaming apparatus you’re using), place the dish with the egg mixture. Steam for about 8 minutes and turn off the fire, then let the egg set for a few minutes. Garnish with soy sauce and spring onions.

Spring onion for garnishing.Spring onion for garnishing.

* If it’s still watery in the centre, then you need to steam on medium fire for a few more minutes. If there are moon craters, then it’s steamed too long. There are many variables, depending on the type of dish you use, the intensity of the fire, the water ratio, etc. The only way to get it perfectly smooth and silky is by trial and error. Good luck!

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