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Egg Yolks: Many Kinds Used Many Ways
Spring Volume: 2014 Issue: 21(1) page(s): 28 - 30
Egg yolks in the United States have been in and out of favor over the recent years, more out than in. Not so in China where they have always been loved from chickens, ducks, pigeons, or from any other bird.
The Chinese adore the taste of eggs, and they eat many more than others from other countries. They like their cooking abilities, color and how they color other foods, and they like their versatility be they fresh, salted, or preserved. Preserved egg yolks are known as 'hundred-year' eggs and have been written about many times in this magazine. Do check them out in the index listings for this magazine in the articles section, but be aware they were not listed separately as 'eggs' in its early years.
Back to the hundred-year-egg nomenclature, how they got that name is a long story. My theory does differ from anything anyone ever told me. Because the Chinese put the comma when writing large numbers after three zeros and not two, I believe this could have been a mistranslation way back when.
All egg yolks, no matter how made, can be used in all manners of cooking and in all parts of a meal. The Chinese use the yolks and the whites often, do you? One example recently seen was in a hotel we stayed in in Shanghai. There at a breakfast buffet we watched one young man have fifteen whole eggs, hard-cooked, and on his plate along with many other items from the buffet. We stopped watching him when he had consumed more than half of them. Sounds like a huge number and from my perspective it was. Not so to many Chinese, women particularly, because after giving birth, a new mother can be served ten or more eggs for breakfast assuring her protein and other needed nutrients are available to feed her new baby when she nurses them. She will be told to stay in bed, have lots of them, and she will be serve many soups made with bones and vinegar. The liquid in them, we know, is high in dissolved and easily absorbed calcium.
In the United States, whole eggs and egg yolks have had a resurgence, though certainly not to the level of the number consumed by that young man. Why not? Because medical personnel and government health officials have done more homework. They now tell us it is OK to eat an egg or egg yolk every day. You may recall, we wrote an article about them in Volume 19, namely in issue Number 19(4). Now, current research tells us that egg yolks do have cholesterol, but current research now indicates eggs and specifically egg yolks do not make nor do they raise a person's cholesterol level. However, do not go out and over indulge in them, but be aware that egg yolks which is where their cholesterol is, often have little to do with a person's own cholesterol level.
With that in mind, this article is a collection of egg yolk recipes, Chinese style. The tastes made with them are very good if from chicken, duck, pigeon or another bird. Most often, yolks that are fresh, salted, and/or preserved are healthy, and they are delicious! The bag of iron eggs seen on this page are not available, except in very few Chinese markets here. These were purchased at the airport in Taipei.
This magazine did include several articles about preserved egg yolks, known in Chinese as pidan. Recently, we have broadened our recipe index to list eggs in their own separate category, something we should have done before. In earlier issues they did not have their own section, now they do, but not when small components of recipes, only when featured in them.
Finding eggs in the index of earlier issues was limited. They will not be in the future. From today forward, recipes with eggs will be easy to find, so do enjoy them all. Here is a job for an energetic egg-lover. If that person locates all recipes in back issues that include eggs and egg yolks, we will index them, credit them for same, and give them a free subscription of two years. Just send us an e-mail with the recipe name, volume, number, and page(s) and we will gladly print that list and give them credit for same, and two annual subscriptions.
|Egg Yolks, Fresh and Stir-fried|
10 fresh shrimp, peeled, their veins removed
4 dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for half an hour, peeled then minced
2 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
4 canned water chestnuts, minced
6 fresh egg yolks, beaten until lemon yellow
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon finely minced Yunnan or Smithfield ham
1. Mix fresh shrimp with the rice wine and water chestnuts; and set this aside.
2. Mix minced shrimp, water chestnuts, egg yolks, salt, and broth, and set this aside separately.
3. Heat vegetable oil, and then add the dry shrimp mixture, and stir-fry for one minute. Then add the fresh shrimp mixture and stir fry until barely set and soft, about one and a half to two minutes.
4. Stir one last time before putting into a pre-heated serving dish, sprinkle the minced ham, and serve.
Note: Here are two popular variations:
A) One-half cup chicken thigh meat mixed with one teaspoon each soy sauce, ginger juice, and cornstarch can be an alternate protein added to the shrimp mixture before frying.
2) Two preserved thousand year duck eggs or five preserved pigeon eggs, yolks mashed, whites coarsely diced, another alternative for the shrimp mixture, added before frying.
|Mini Egg Tarts, Hong Kong Style|
2 pie crusts
1/4 cup flour, for dusting
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 fresh egg yolks, beaten well
1 salted egg yolk, beaten well
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Prepare pans for two dozen small tarts, each dusted with flour, then filled with a thin layer of pie dough. Then dust them also with flour.
3. Mix cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, both beaten egg yolks and vanilla extract until sugar is dissolved; then pour this into the pie dough-filled tart tins until they are three-quarters full of this mixture.
4. Bake for twenty minutes or until cooked through, determined when toothpick into the center of a tart comes out clean.
5. Cool for ten minutes, then move the tarts to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve when desired, but do refrigerate if not within an hour.
|Duck Eggs and Pork in Soup|
1/4 pound pork loin, thinly sliced, then slivered
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon thin soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 quarts chicken stock
2 slices fresh ginger, minced finely
2 raw salted duck eggs
1 salted duck egg steamed until firm, then mashed
1. Marinate the pork in the sesame oil, rice wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch for half an hour.
2. Heat the soup stock to below the boil, then add the ginger, duck eggs, and the pork and its marinade, and the mashed duck yolk and stir and keep beating until the stock comes to the boil, about one minute. Pour into a pre-heated soup tureen and serve.
|Clams Stuffed with Pork and Egg Yolk|
10 large clams, soaked in salt water for one hour
1/4 pound ground pork
10 fresh shrimp, peeled, veins removed, each cut into four pieces
4 water chestnuts, minced coarsely
2 salted egg yolks
1 scallion, green part only, minced
1 slice fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1. Put clams into two cups boiling water, and when they open, remove the clams to a chopping bowl and mince them, reserve the clam shells and any clam juice separately.
2 Mix ground pork with the minced clams, shrimp pieces, water chestnuts, egg yolks, minced scallion, ginger, rice wine, salt, and pepper, and one cup of the clam juice, and stir slowly and gently.
3. Stuff the pork mixture into the clam shells, and cover each one with a piece of plastic wrap.
4. Microwave the stuffed clam shells on high for four minutes, then serve.
|Salted Egg Yolks with Pork|
|5 pigeon eggs, hard cooked for six minutes, then peeled, shells discarded, eggs set aside|
3 fresh chicken eggs, beaten until light
2 salted eggs, beaten well
1/4 cup minced or ground pork
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1. Cut pigeon eggs in half.
2. Mix beaten eggs with salted eggs, minced pork, chicken stock, and thin soy sauce.
3. Heat oil in wok or fry pan, when hot, add the egg mixture and stir until they start to set, then add the pigeon eggs, cut side down, and steam over boiling water for twelve to fifteen minutes, then serve.
|Crab, Pork, Rice, and Salted Duck Egg|
1/4 cup glutinous rice, soaked for one hour
3 Tablespoons long grain white rice
1 Tablespoon black rice, soaked for one hour by itself
1 half pound or larger crab, its meat removed from shell, and coarsely chopped
2 Chinese black mushrooms, soaked for half hour, stems removed and discarded, caps coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons minced or ground pork
3 fresh shrimp, peel and black veins removed and discarded
2 salted duck yolks
3 slices peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 scallion, minced
3 shallots, peeled and minced
1 lotus leaf, soaked until soft, about half an hour
2 Tablespoons Yunnan or Smithfield ham, minced
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
1. Soak each rice separately for one hour, then drain and mix them together.
2. Rinse the crab meat and drain well, and mix with the minced black mushrooms, minced pork, shrimp, salted duck yolks, minced ginger, scallion, and the shallot and set aside.
3. Steam the rice mixture over boiling water for twenty-five minutes, stir, and then mix with the crab meat mixture. Put lotus leaf on a bamboo steamer tray, gently mix in the ham and rice wine into the top of the rice mixture. Spread this evenly in the center of the lotus leaf, wrapping the outside area with no rice on it over the rice patting it down.
4. Steam over boiling water for twelve to fourteen minutes, then remove to a pre-heated platter, and serve opening the lotus leaf partway and putting a serving spoon on it.
|Bean Curd with Preserved Duck Egg Yolks|
1/2 cup fresh shrimp, shells removed and discarded, then minced
1 fresh egg white
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 yolks of one-hundred-year preserved duck eggs, mashed
1/8 large sheet purple seaweed, crushed
1 teaspoon each, black and white sesame seeds
30 small fried bean curd balls or squares
1 cup vegetable oil for deep frying
1. Mix shrimp, egg white, cornstarch, salt, white pepper, sesame oil, mashed preserved egg yolks, and crushed seaweed, and the sesame seeds. Stuff about two teaspoons into each bean curd.
2. Heat oil and deep fry them, ten at a time, until golden. Serve with large toothpicks as appetizers, or cut in half on angle as side dish with a main course with or without a gravy.
|Shrimp with Pigeon Eggs|
8 yolks from salted pigeon eggs
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, tails left on, shells removed from the bodies of the shrimp
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1. Steam the duck egg yolks for eight minutes, or five minutes if from pigeon eggs; then mash them.
2 Cut open the backs of the shrimp and wipe them dry, then mix with the ground pepper.
3. Heat vegetable oil, deep fry the shrimp until they turn pink, then remove them and set on a serving platter.
4. Remove all but one tablespoon of the oil, and reduce heat to low and stir-fry the egg yolks for half a minute, add the rice wine and the shrimp and stir-fry until the yolks coat the shrimp thoroughly, and look completely dry, about one minute. Return to the platter, and serve.
|Many Kinds of Eggs with Doufu|
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 shallots, minced and deep fried
8 salted duck egg yolks, steamed for ten minutes
4 salted pigeon eggs, steamed for five minutes and then mashed immediately
2 hundred-year eggs, peeled and coarsely diced
1 pound silken doufu, coarsely mashed
1 to 2 Tablespoons shrimp roe
1. Heat oil, add the shallots and both kinds of egg yolks, and stir until they bubble, then add the diced hundred-year eggs and the doufu and stir for four minutes, then transfer to a small pre-heated serving bowl.
2. Put the roe on top, and serve.