Salted eggs are preserved eggs soaked in brine or packed in a thick layer of salted charcoal paste. They are traditionally made with duck eggs for a richer taste and texture. The egg white has a sharp salty taste and the yolk is rich and fatty. They are often boiled and eaten as a condiment with congee or used as a flavoring to other foods. Salted chicken eggs are lighter overall.
Homemade salted eggs are usually made using the brining method with a simple salt solution. The curing process takes anywhere between 3 to 4 weeks depending on the size of the eggs and the thickness of their shells. When cured, the egg white is slightly cloudy but remains runny while the egg yolk turns a bright yellow-orange-red color and is firm. The yolks are prized by the Chinese and are used in glutinous rice dumplings and mooncakes to symbolize the moon.
When I was growing up, store bought salted eggs came packed in crates filled with damp, salted charcoal. The grocer will pick out the number of eggs requested into a plastic bag. Each egg was packed with a thick layer of the salted charcoal that needed to be scraped off and rinsed before cooking. Salted eggs were very inexpensive and easily available. Hence, they were seldom made at home and as I recall, Mom only made them once. They were much less salty and really tasty.
Before we proceed to the recipe, I would like to thank you all for your kind comments on my Lavender Madeleines guest post. Sorry I was not been able to respond as we were on a college search road trip at that time and were constantly on the move. I will be sharing pictures of the road trip in my next post on Wednesday. As for the triple flavored castella post, I have decided to reschedule it to Friday in favor of this egg theme post for Easter. Thank you for your patience.
Now, back to the salted eggs. Unfortunately I had to use chicken eggs as duck eggs were no where to be found. The curing process took 4 weeks as the eggs were large and their shells were a little thick. The brine used was probably a little diluted with ¾ cup kosher salt. The recipe below has been adjusted. At any rate, a readiness test should be done at the end of three weeks to avoid over curing. I also read that some Shao Hsing cooking wine would help to produce a more brilliant colored yolk but I am not sure if that worked. Perhaps I should have used 2 tablespoons instead of one. Nevertheless, the eggs turned out well after 4 weeks and the saltiness was just about right. Do stay tuned for recipes using these salted eggs in the days ahead.
- 12 large organic cage-free white chicken or duck eggs
- 1 cup (280g) kosher salt
- 4 cups (960ml) water
- 1 tbsp Shao Hsing cooking wine
Rinse eggs and place in a jar. Set aside.
Bring water in a medium sized saucepan to a boil. Stir in salt until dissolved. Remove and allow to cool completely. Add Shao Hsing wine.
Pour salt solution into jar containing rinsed eggs. Filled a small Ziplog sandwich bag half full with water. Squeeze as much of the air out as possible. Gently stuff it into jar to weigh eggs down. Eggs should be totally submerged.
Put the lid on and place jar in a cool spot at room temperature for 21 days.
After 21 days, do a taste test. Remove an egg from the brine and place it in a small saucepan covered with cold water. Boil over medium heat for 15 minutes. Egg is ready if it is salty and the yolk is a bright yellow-orange color.
Alternatively, crack an egg into a bowl and check its yolk. Yolk should be a bright yellow-orange color and quite firm. The white should be a little cloudy but still runny.
If eggs are not ready, leave them in the brine for another week. Finally, remove all eggs from brine and store in the refrigerator.
Since it is Easter Sunday today, I would love to share this special egg with you. While grocery shopping yesterday, we encountered this fundraiser by some youth from the Association of American Youth of Ukrainian Descent selling and demonstrating how these beautiful Pysanky Ukrainian Easter Eggs are being colored. The process is pretty tedious.
Pencil guidelines are first drawn on a raw egg (symbolizing new life). The egg is then subjected to repeated wax masking and dyeing in stages starting from the lightest to the darkest colors to build the design. Finally, the wax is removed to reveal the multi-color design and a layer of varnish is added to protect the egg and add a beautiful shine.
These eggs should be kept out of direct sunlight and displayed in a place with adequate air circulation. They should be rotated a few times a year to help uniform drying of the egg yolk within the egg.
Easter is a joyous celebration commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the end of Lent in the Christian calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere, it also marks the beginning of spring. May you have a Blessed Easter! 8)