Smooth, silky & creamy Steamed Egg: As comforting as they come

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Steamed egg brings back many childhood memories. Next to milk and milo, it is one of the first foods which we were comforted with.

Quick and easy to make, I can imagine why mothers feed their kids with this. When the rice cooker button pops up, from "cook" to "warm", my mum will put a plate on the rice. She poured a layer of the egg-water mix into a plate, closed the lid, and let it steam-cook for a few minutes. It is an efficient way of cooking, making use of the steam and heat from the cooked rice. Sprinkle some diced spring onions to introduce some veg to the child's diet.
Occasionally, minced pork and salted egg yolk will be added.

I still have very early childhood memories of eating that as my mum shoved spoonfuls of rice topped with that into our mouths. We were too young and restless to eat neatly or quickly. She will tell us stories to keep us enthralled, distracted and mouths gaping to make her task of feeding us easier. And if we refused to eat mid-way, the stories paused. I can still remember some of these stories and occasionally use them for my Sunday sermons.

Silky smooth an creamy texture

Mcdonalds was non-existent then (thankfully) and that was the only fast food we knew: rice and egg.

The plain steamed egg dish can still be ordered in some Cze Char stalls. Sometimes it is called "Steamed Water Egg." It is commonly found in "Economy Rice" stalls if you care to notice.

So, how do you make this silky and smooth dish? It is really one of those CFG or 101 dishes. It is about adding the right amount of water to the egg. Let me give you a quick low-down on how to cook this.

For every egg you use, you add equal amount of water. 1:1 ratio. The simplest thing is to use the egg shell to measure the water. Create a hole at the sharper tip and use it as a container. Give the tip a light smack with a spoon and peel the top off. For larger amounts just use a large bowl to measure. Add a bit of salt, pour into a wide container through a strainer and steam away.

If it is shallow i.e. no more than one cm, it should be perfectly steamed after 7 minutes. Use a chopstick and drop gently into the middle of the container. If it rests on solid, it is done. Just experiment and you will get the hang of it. It is really easy. The worse thing that can happen is overcooking it and you will see bubbles on the surface. But it can still be enjoyed.

Serve it with some some sauce on top (light soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce). You can even use some Chicken of Essence. Add diced spring onions and fried shallots. Sprinkle in some white pepper. All very optional and just use what you have.  

If you want a lighter texture, use more water. Replace water with soy bean milk and you get a  heavier texture akin to tofu (check the Egg Tofu recipe here).

Japanese have their Chawanmushi using dashi stock and adding flavourful items like chicken, mushrooms etc. In fact, nowadays, you even have gourmet truffle Chawanmushi. These are steamed egg dishes for grown-ups. You can take it in many different directions, whatever you fancy, simple or gourmet. You can use different types of containers.

Just get confident at making it silky smooth and you can improvise from there.

5 eggs
Equivalent amount of water

1 tablespoon light soy sauce
½ sesame oil or onion oil
2 tablespoon chicken stock or chicken essence (optional)

Dashes of white pepper
Diced spring onions

Now you know what you can feed your young children with. Rice and egg is poor competition to Mcdonald fries. You will need to prepare to tell some exciting stories.

Hey, switch off the TV or iPad.

When you tell stories, you store mental images of an idea in a child's mind. These images can guide him for the rest of his life. Spongebob Squarepants will not and in fact, rot and sponge up his mind.

Start stocking up some good stories and work on your storytelling skills.

The Bible is one good source. Be imaginative. I once told my girls the story of Jonah but from the perspective of the whale. You can add some funny and meaningful points. Or use children story books if you need visuals, though I think it's better leaving their minds free to imagine .

I did a few trays for a Alpha party recently
The Menu Board at our Alpha party

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  1. Used to do the rice cooker version, but as the new cookers get kinda smaller vs the old Panasonic ones, I've gone with a steamer. I'm the low and slow school, but I'll give this 7min high stream a try.

  2. Yap - unless u r familiar w yr equipment, suggest try low steam first.

  3. I've always gotten smooth top with the low and slow, but sometimes when time's not on your side... I'll experiment and with the high steam to see if I can achieve similar results.

  4. Your steamed egg looks so smooth and silky! Mine turns out with bubbles on it, probably cos too high heat :(

    Do you cover it with aluminium foil while steaming? I tried doing it and the foil got discoloured and I think it's unhealthy cos the condensation from aluminium drips back into egg. What do you suggest?

    Also you mentioned ratio of 1:1 using the egg to measure, to get your silky smooth texture, is that the ratio you use? I use 1 egg: 200ml water. Any comments or tips you have is much appreciated.

  5. Flo - I think your egg water ratio is fine. Bubbles appear if the egg is overcooked. I don't cover the custard but if u like too, can try using cling film to cover and reduce water on the egg. But i dun see e need to cover. Lower the custard level, ie make it shallower, maybe 2 cm for a start to get yr confidence up.

  6. This dish brings back so much childhood memories indeed. My mum taught me to add 1-2 drops of oil to make it smoother. Not sure if there's any difference coz I followed her method all this while ; )