Chinese Steamed Egg (also known as Chinese Steamed Egg Custard) is a healthy breakfast. Learn how steam eggs Chinese style, as well as useful tips and tricks. This is an easy recipe that takes 15 minutes to make, and is a unique way to have steamed eggs for breakfast.
TThis post and giveaway is sponsored by Vitaliseur de Marion.
Chinese Steamed Egg is a healthy recipe for breakfast
Chinese Steamed Egg is a traditional recipe and one of those common ones that is actually found all over China where cuisines can be quite different by province. The ingredients are as basic as they get (eggs and water), which belies the delicate flavor and velvety texture you can achieve with this recipe.
How to Steam Eggs Chinese Style
The idea of steaming Chinese egg custard is very basic. You simply mix the eggs with water or broth, and then steam it on the stovetop for a short period of time.
And along the lines of simplicity, you can also make this Chinese egg custard recipe without any special equipment. So don't worry if you don't own a bamboo steamer or a special steaming pot.
But I emphasize can because different techniques may give you slightly different results. And while the steamed egg custard generally is the same, the dish may not give you that special oomph you're looking for.
Three Ways to Steam Eggs Chinese Style
There are three general ways you can steam eggs Chinese style. Each method has its pros and cons, so you can find the method that works best for you. The goal is to achieve silky smooth eggs that are unblemished on the surface from water droplets.
Making Chinese Steamed Egg with Any Pot (make a DIY Steamer)
This method is best if you don't have any special kitchen equipment. You use a large pot or saucepan, a heatproof plate, and any suitable ramekin or bowl to create a makeshift steamer.
Set up the steamer by making three large balls of aluminum foil that are the same size and placing them on the bottom of your pot. Add water to the pot, but do not fully cover the aluminum foil. Place a heatproof plate on top of the aluminum balls, so it creates a flat surface.
Next, pour the egg mixture into ramekins or small bowls, tightly covering your ramekins or bowls with foil. Carefully place the ramekins or bowls on the plate, and bring the pot of water to a gentle boil, covering the pot with a lid.
You need to cover the egg with foil to prevent any water droplets that form on the lid of the steaming pot from dripping onto the eggs. If water does drip on the eggs while steaming, the Chinese Steamed Egg Custard will be perfectly edible, but it won't have the perfectly smooth fluid-like top that makes the dish stand out.
(Many recipes suggest using plastic wrap or cling film, but I personally never cook with plastic wrap because of potential health concerns.)
The difficulty of using this method is that the ramekins will be hot to handle if you have deep saucepan. Also, you have to wrap the foil tightly, and be careful if you have to open the foil to check on the progress of the Chinese Steamed Egg Custard.
Using a Bamboo Steamer to Make this Chinese Egg Custard Recipe
Another way to steam Chinese egg custard is to use a bamboo steamer like the ones you see at a Chinese restaurant during dim sum.
The bamboo absorbs the steam, so water droplets don't form on the lid. If you use this method, your steamed eggs may take on a woodsy aroma (perfectly delicious).
This method is best if you already own a bamboo steamer, and if you want your Chinese Steamed Eggs to have an additional depth of flavor.
Using a Steamer Pot for Making Chinese Steamed Egg Custard
And then there's always the method of using a purpose-built steamer. A well designed steamer will have a cover that is designed to prevent water droplets from forming on the lid and dripping down on the food, and pot will ensure the steam is well circulating around the food.
This method will give you the most foul-proof method of making the perfect Chinese Steamed Egg Custard. It will also give you the most pure taste, as it won't be influenced by a bamboo steamer. You can easily check on the eggs as they are steaming, since you can just lift the lid and you don't have to peel back a piece of foil.
Note that if you aren't sure if your steamer is designed so water droplets are prevented from falling onto the food, you may still want to cover your egg custard with a piece of foil as a precaution.
Other Tips for Making the Perfect Chinese Steamed Egg Custard
As they say, the simpler the recipe, the more difficult to master, and Chinese Steamed Egg Custard is no exception.
It doesn't get any simpler than mixing eggs and water, but that means the margin of error is smaller at each step. There are a few points I want to share for making the best Chinese steamed egg recipe that you can.
Two pieces of equipment you need to make Chinese Steamed Egg Custard
The first is a proper steamer, or foil to cover the ramekin, to achieve that smooth fluid-like top.
The other is a fine mesh strainer/skimmer. The strainer I used that is shown in the picture below is appropriate, but not the best. If you have a skimmer with even smaller holes, you will get even better results! (One like this skimmer spoon on Amazon will do the trick.)
Another helpful tip is to make sure your eggs are smooth and well beaten, but done so gently so you don't incorporate extra bubbles, with the water or stock. Break up any clumps or egg goop, and pour the egg mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the ramekin or bowl.
Once the eggs are in the ramekin, let it settle for a few minutes so any bubbles rise to the surface and pop. You can also help the process along by skimming off any bubbles on the surface.
A Great Way to Make this Chinese Steamed Egg Custard
For this Chinese egg custard recipe, I used a Le Vitaliseur Grand Chef purpose-built steamer. And I love it. It's on the big side (you can steam whole poultry or fish in it), but that also means I am able to fit two individual shallow ramekins of Chinese Steamed Eggs perfectly.
The best feature of this steamer is that it is fitted with a dome lid, which allows the condensation of the water to slide along the walls down to the edges. That way, it doesn't drip onto the Chinese Steamed Eggs, giving you that perfect smooth texture every Chinese Steamed Egg deserves.
While I do like the woodsy taste you get from bamboo steamer baskets, I love making these steamed eggs in the Le Vitaliseur Grand Chef because you end up with a simple egg flavor that isn't complicated by the bamboo steamer.
It also means you don't have to worry about the foil not being on tightly, or mess with getting the foil on and off if you are checking on the progress of the eggs.
Because I love this steamer so much, I'm teaming up with Le Vitaliseur De Marion to give you the opportunity to win a Le Vitaliseur Grand Chef (RRP 218,00 €) for yourself.
Chinese Steamed EggPrint Recipe Save RecipeSaved!
- 4 medium eggs
- 1 ¼ - 1 ¾ cups water, vegetable, or chicken stock (approximately, as it will depend on the volume of your eggs) - lightly warmed
- 1 pinch salt (optional)
- chives - finely chopped
- sesame oil
- soy sauce (use tamari for GF)
- hot chili oil
Determine how much stock or water you need
- First you need to determine how much water or stock you will need. As eggs differ in size, the amount will depend on the volume of the eggs that you use for this recipe. I can give you a guide, but if you want perfect Chinese Steamed Eggs, it's best if you measured your eggs.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs together with a fork. Measure out and take note of the volume of the eggs (cups or milliliters). If you have a 2-cup measuring cup, you can beat the eggs directly into the cup to get a measurement. My four eggs totaled 200 milliliters (just under 1 cup).
- The amount of water or stock you will want is between 1 ½ to 2 times the volume of the eggs. So if you have 200 milliliters of egg, you could use between 300 - 400 milliliters of water, depending on your preference. 300 milliliters of water or stock will give you a firmer texture than if you were to use 400 milliliters. For reference, in the photos, I used 300 milliliters of water.
Make the Chinese Steamed Eggs
- Slowly mix the water in with the eggs. Mix in salt if using.
- Carefully pour the eggs through a fine mesh strainer and evenly divide into two bowls. The strainer will catch any larger pieces of the egg, as well as break apart much of the bubbles or foam that may have formed. If you have the time, allow the egg to sit for a few minutes so any remaining bubbles on the surface pop.
- Cover the eggs with aluminum foil. This is to prevent any water droplets from the steamer from falling directly onto the eggs, making the surface of the steamed eggs rough.
- Gently place the bowls onto a prepared steamer. Steam over low heat until the eggs are set, about 10-14 minutes, depending on the shape and depth of your bowls. For reference, in the photos, the eggs were steamed for 12 minutes.
- Carefully remove from steamer and garnish with desired toppings. Serve warm.