Chinese Style Savory Steamed Eggs (鸡蛋羹 或 蒸水蛋)
December 8, 2019
Almost every Asian family has their own version of a savory steamed eggs. No matter the amount of condiments or other non-egg ingredients, the end product is almost always a silky, smooth, and melt-in-your mouth experience. The dish is especially enjoyed by babies and children since it is nutritious and easily digestible. And on top of these nice qualities, it is super easy and quick to make. I remember my parents and grandparents used to make steamed savory eggs whenever I was under the weather as a kid. As a result, I ate quite a lot of savory steamed eggs growing up. But I never grew sick of it. Now that I have become a mom, I started making this type of eggs for my boys. Both my kids really enjoy it. Since my younger boy is still a baby, the one I make for him is much simpler, and does not include any salt, shrimp, and scallions. Yet he always devours it.
There are many variations to this recipe in different cultures. For the mixture base, different condiments or seasonings, such as soy sauce, chicken stock, dashi, mirin, or anchovy stock may be included to add more flavors and depths. Toppings, such as mushrooms, fish cake, clams, crab meat, peas, carrots, or zucchinis are sometimes added. The one presented below is actually from my mother-in-law, which is a Shanghainese-style savory steamed eggs. It has small pieces of shrimp and scallions which add nice subtle flavors.
Active Time: 10 min
Total Time: 30 min
- 1 large egg
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or table salt
- ¼ teaspoon vegetable oil
- ½ to 1 cup water 1
- 3 to 4 medium shrimp (peeled and deveined)—Optional 2
- 1 tablespoon thinly-sliced scallions (green parts)—Optional 2
- Begin heating water in a steamer.
- Gather all the ingredients. Thaw the shrimp if frozen. Meanwhile, prepare the scallions by thinly slicing the green part of the scallion.3
- Cut the shrimp into small pieces. Then add half of the ¼ teaspoon of salt to the shrimp pieces.
- Place the shrimp pieces in a steamer-safe bowl (Pyrex, porcelain, ceramic, stainless steel, etc.), add the egg, the ¼ teaspoon of vegetable oil, and the rest of the ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Beat the egg mixture for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is very well beaten. You can use a conventional egg whisker, chopsticks, or even a fork. Do not skip this step as the texture of the steamed eggs depends on it.
- Add the water and beat the mixture again until well mixed. Sprinkle the sliced scallions on top of the mixture so that they are floating on top.
- When the water is boiling in the steamer, carefully transfer the bowl to the steamer. Cover and let the egg mixture cook on high for 10-15 minutes depending on how much water you added.
- After steaming, turn off the heat and remove the cover immediately. Leave the bowl on the steamer for a minute or two before transferring it to a safe surface. Be super careful while transferring as the dish is very hot.
- The texture of the eggs can either be more firm or more soup-like depending on the amount of water added. This is a purely personal preference. Here, I used 1 cup of water because I like my steamed eggs to have some liquid.
- Shrimp and scallion are optional. They certainly add nice flavors but if you are short on time or if making this dish as baby food, these two ingredients can certainly be skipped. If making it as baby food, skip or use a minimal amount of salt.
- The quickest way to thaw shrimp is to put the frozen shrimp in a bowl full of cold water, put the bowl in the kitchen sink, and continue to run cold water into the bowl. It should take no more than 10 minutes to thaw all the shrimp. Alternatively, you can thaw frozen shrimp by either leaving them in the refrigerator overnight or putting them in a sealed ziploc bag and submerging the bag under cold water for about 15-20 minutes.