Have you ever had Chinese century eggs before? In this blog post, we'll explore a traditional century egg recipe and everything about century eggs. Read on!
What is a century egg?
Before we dive into the recipes, let's gain a deeper understanding of century eggs. A century egg is also known as a preserved egg or a thousand-year egg. These eggs undergo a preservation process that typically takes several weeks to several months. The traditional method involves coating the eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice straw, which allows for chemical changes to occur within the egg. During the curing process, the yolk turns into a creamy texture, dark green, or grayish color with a rich, slightly pungent, and strong flavor. On the other hand, the egg white turns translucent with a jelly-like consistency and has a unique savory and umami taste. This Chinese delicacy is made of duck, quail eggs, or regular chicken eggs.
While the exact origins of century eggs are unclear, they are believed to have been developed and popularized during the Ming Dynasty in China. It's important to note that the term "century egg" can be somewhat misleading, as the eggs are not actually preserved for a hundred years. The texture of the egg white is often described as gelatinous or custard-like, and it has a unique savory and umami taste.
Century eggs(thousand-year eggs) are often used in various dishes in Chinese cuisine. They are commonly used in salads, congee (rice porridge). The distinct flavors and textures of century eggs provide a unique culinary experience, making them a sought-after ingredient for those who appreciate adventurous and flavorful foods. While century eggs may appear unusual, their distinctive taste and cultural significance have made them a beloved and intriguing ingredient in Chinese cuisine. You can get them from any Asian market or online.
What do century eggs taste like
Century eggs have a distinct and acquired taste that can be unique and different from regular eggs. Here's a general description of the taste of century eggs:
- Century eggs have a pronounced umami flavor, often described as savory and rich.
- Century eggs have a salty taste due to the preservation process, which is a characteristic flavor in century eggs.
- Century eggs can have an earthy undertone attributed to fermentation and preservation. This earthiness adds depth to the flavor profile of the eggs.
- Some people perceive a slight pungency or ammonia-like aroma in century eggs. This pungency is more pronounced in some varieties or if the eggs need to be properly rinsed before consumption.
To me, century eggs are the ultimate comfort food to enjoy. It's important to note that century eggs are an acquired taste, and not everyone may enjoy their flavor. If you're curious about trying century eggs, start with small amounts to try.
To prepare this flavorful century egg recipe, you'll need the following ingredients:
Century eggs and cucumber chunks: They are the two main ingredients for this dish. I used three century eggs; you can add or decrease them based on personal preference.
Fresh herbs: I use cilantro, green onion, minced garlic, chili powder, and red chili peppers.
Sauces: Typical Asian sauces such as light soy sauce, Zhejiang black vinegar, and oyster sauce. I use these sauces to add flavors to this recipe, which brings a savory and tangy element to the salad. Add a pinch of sugar at the end to enhance the overall taste.
White pepper: optional.
Roasted sesame seeds: optional.
To make this century egg recipe, start by carefully peeling the shells off the century eggs. You can use a spoon or your fingers to crack the shell and remove it gently. The eggs will have a gelatinous texture and a greenish-gray appearance.
Cut the century eggs into small, bite-sized slices. You can slice them into quarters or chop them into cubes, depending on your preference. Peel the cucumber and cut it into chunks or thin slices. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Mix well until the sugar dissolves. In another mixing bowl, add red chili pepper slices, chili powder, minced garlic, and roast sesame seeds. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and then pour into this bowl.
Combine the sliced century eggs, cucumber chunks, cilantro, and green onion. Pour both dressing bowls over the ingredients and gently toss to coat everything evenly. Serve this century egg recipe chilled as an appetizer or a side dish. Enjoy your homemade Chinese century egg salad!
When it comes to serving Chinese century eggs, there are several popular and traditional ways to enjoy them. Chinese people enjoy them by making a salad or century egg congee.
If you make century congee, cut the century eggs into smaller pieces before adding them to the pork congee. Please make sure to add chopped century eggs towards the end of cooking. The creaminess of the century eggs pairs well with the comforting texture of congee. If you make century egg salad, besides cucumber, you can also combine other ingredients with century eggs, such as mixed greens, pickled ginger, silken tofu, or cherry tomatoes.
Remember, century eggs have a unique and strong flavor profile, often enjoyed in smaller portions as part of a larger dish or alongside other ingredients. Feel free to experiment with different combinations.
Century egg benefits
Century eggs have a good source of protein and provide various vitamins and minerals. They have a minimal carbohydrate content, making them a low-carb food option.
However, century eggs are relatively high in cholesterol. So individuals with specific dietary restrictions or concerns about cholesterol intake may want to consume century eggs in moderation. Century eggs are also relatively high in sodium due to the preservation process. The sodium content can vary depending on the brand or preparation.
It's important to note that century eggs are often consumed in smaller quantities as part of a dish rather than on their own. They are primarily enjoyed for their unique taste and culinary value rather than their nutritional content. As with any food, moderation is key, and it is important to balance your overall diet with different nutrient-rich foods.
Since century egg is preserved eggs, you can keep unopen, unwashed century egg at room temperature. Otherwise, please keep it in the refrigerator to maintain its best flavor and freshness. Place the eggs in a sealed container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to prevent any odors from affecting their taste. Keep century eggs away from strong-smelling foods in the refrigerator, as they can absorb odors easily. It's best to store them separately in a plastic bag or in a designated container to maintain their unique flavor.
If the century eggs come in individual packaging or are stored in brine or liquid, it's important to transfer them to a clean, airtight container before refrigerating. While century eggs have a long shelf life, they are best consumed within a few months of purchase or preparation. Over time, the flavors and textures may change.
This century egg recipe combines rich and creamy century eggs with refreshing cucumber, resulting in a visually appealing salad packed with complex flavors. It's an excellent choice for a refreshing appetizer or a side dish that pairs well with various meals. Give it a try with just a few simple steps; you can make your own century egg salad. Let me know what you think.:)
Easy Homemade Century Egg Recipe (With Cucumber)
- 4 century eggs peeled and sliced into small pieces
- 1 medium size cucumber peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 tablespoon green onions thinly sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- fresh red chilies thinly sliced
- 2 small garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder optional
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- a pinch of sugar
- roasted sesame seeds optional
- Carefully peel the shells off the century eggs. You can use a spoon or your fingers to crack the shell and remove it gently. The eggs will have a gelatinous texture and a greenish-gray appearance.
- Cut the century eggs into small, bite-sized slices. You can slice them into quarters or chop them into cubes, depending on your preference.
- Peel the cucumber and cut it into chunks or thin slices. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Mix well until the sugar dissolves.
- In another mixing bowl, add red chili pepper slices, chili powder, minced garlic, and roast sesame seeds. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and then pour into this bowl.
- Combine the sliced century eggs, cucumber chunks, cilantro, and green onion. Pour both dressing bowls over the ingredients and gently toss to coat everything evenly.
- Enjoy your homemade Chinese century egg salad!