Today’s FB post by a friend (and the subsequent comments) inspired me to share my tested and true collection of savory steamed egg custard recipes. This is the epitome of comfort food that many of us recall from the kitchen table in many Asian households. It is a simple, protein-rich, budget-conscious dish that satisfies and feeds the family and the soul. I am sure that one or more of these recipes will remind you of something your mother, auntie or grandmother used to serve to you. I used to make egg custards for my mom during her fight with cancer since this was a good source of protein, but easy to eat and digest. None of these are hard to make, just remember to steam it over gently simmering water. A hard boil will render your steamed egg hard rather than silky smooth.
Note: If you do not own a steam rack, they are very inexpensive at your local Asian grocery. Or you can remove the top and bottom of a can of tuna or use two pairs of wooden chopsticks laid out in a square for your wok or stir fry pan.
Steamed Egg Custard
4 eggs — lightly beaten
1 green onion — thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup ham — diced, cooked crabmeat, shrimp (can be omitted)
Combine eggs, green onion, sesame oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir in broth until evenly blended, then stir in the ham, crab meat or shrimp.
Place a steam rack in a wok and add water to just below the level of the rack. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat so the water simmers gently. Pour egg mixture into a glass pie plate or pour into 4 individual custard cups. Set cups on rack and cover. Steam until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes.
Steamed Egg Custard with Oyster Sauce
2 tablespoons dried shrimp — soaked and drained (can be omitted)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon light soy sauce — or oyster sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 to 2 tablespoons cilantro or green onions — minced for garnish
Bring 3/4 cup of water to boil and allow to cool. In a small bowl, soak dried shrimp in 3 T of cold water for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Roughly chop the shrimp. (I often omit this because it can be difficult to find dried shrimp not sourced from China. However, there is something about the taste and flavor that can’t be replicated with substitutions.)
Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in cooled water and soaking liquid. Transfer egg mixture to a 9-inch shallow bowl, add the dried shrimp, and stir to combine.
Bring water to a boil over high heat in a cover steamer larger enough to fit the dish. Carefully place the dish into steamer, cover, and lower heat to medium, and steam 10 to 13 minutes, or just until custard is set. Check the water level and replenish with boiling water. Carefully remove dish from steamer.
Pour soy sauce over the custard. In a small skillet, heat oil until hot but not smoking over high heat. Carefully pour hot oil over custard. The oil will make a cracking sound as it hits the sauce. Garnish with cilantro and green onions, and serve immediately.
Steamed Eggs with Clams
1 can chopped clams
1 1/2 cups water — boiled and cooled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 green onion — thinly sliced
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs well with a fork. Drain clams, reserving the clam liquid in measuring cup. Add enough of the cooled water to the clam liquid to make 1 3/4 cups. Add eggs with the clams and salt and stir until blended. Pour into heatproof dish.
Set a rack in a pot and add water to a depth of 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Set the dish on the rack. Lower the heat to a simmer and steam for 25 minutes. The eggs are done when they don’t jiggle in the middle when the dish is taped or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Pour the oyster sauce over the eggs and spread evenly over the surface with the bottom of a spoon. If desired , sprinkle with chopped green onion.
Chawan-Mushi (Japanese Egg Custard)
1 cup dashi — warm (preferably not the msg-laden granules as that will make this dish too salty)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 medium shrimp — shelled and deveined
2 small shiitake mushrooms
2 slices kamoboko
Mic dashi, egg, and soy sauce in a small bowl and divide equally between two containers. Drop the shrimip, shiitake, and kamaboko into the cups. Cover the mouth of each cup with plastic wrap before steaming. Put cups in a wide-mouth pot. Add enough water to pot to reach halfway up the cups. Cover and bring water to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and steam for 15 minutes. Don’t let water bubble too vigorously.
Steamed Savory Egg Custard with Tofu
4 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and white pepper — to taste
1/4 pound tofu — silken soft, cut in small cubes
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 green onion — minced
In a small bowl, combine eggs, broth, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stir until egg yolks are completely broken and well blended. Lightly grease a shallow 8-inch bowl with a few drops of sesame oil. Gently pour in egg mixture, add tofu cubes and sprinkle with green onion. Place in wok with enough water to reach the bottom of the bowl. Bring water to a gentle simmer and steam custard for about 20 minutes or until just set, being sure to keep the heat very low so that the custard will stay smooth. Remove from heat and drizzle with remaining sesame oil and serve warm.