Have you ever encountered eggs covered in dried rice husks in the supermarket's dairy aisle? Those are century eggs, a Chinese delicacy with very few similarities to the usual fresh variety. Crack one open, and the mystery begins to unravel itself. Are they Jurassic-era relics? Just look at their gelatinous brown-black exterior and tender greenish yolk! Or are they alien eggs dropped a few centuries ago as a warm greeting to humans?
Not exactly! And no, they are not as old as dinosaurs. Contrary to their name, these eggs are not 100 years old. In fact, they only go through several days or a few months of preservation. And once you get past the imagery and smell of ammonia, you can experience an explosion of unique, comforting flavors.
An easy way to comprehend their taste is to imagine a combination of boiled poultry eggs and fresh mushrooms. They’re absolute umami bombs! Not so exotic after all, right? Unfortunately, many still find them unappetizing. If you or your family member feel this way, introduce your palate to the delicacy by pairing small portions with familiar ingredients. Do you want to learn how to make century eggs more palatable? Start with these suggestions.
1. Roasted Peppers
Smashing chilies with century eggs is a standard practice in China’s Hunan province. Locals make the flavorful fare by mashing components using a mortar and pestle. Try the same and enjoy the simple dish as a scintillating appetizer or a rice topping. Just toss the following ingredients together:
- raw garlic
- roasted chilies
- century eggs
- soy sauce
- rice vinegar
- roasted or boiled eggplants (optional)
2. Silken Tofu
Balance the overpowering taste of century eggs by pairing them with silken tofu in a simple salad. Anyone can put together this quick starter with just a handful of ingredients. The trick is to chill the tofu and cube it uniformly with the eggs. For the dressing, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, and a few dashes of Knorr Liquid Seasoning. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions before serving.
Congee means comfort for many people. It’s filling, effortless to prepare, and budget-friendly, too. Are you looking for an easy fix to upgrade plain lugaw? Introduce various toppings to the dish. Instead of the usual Pinoy favorites, try adding century egg wedges for a quick linamnam boost.
4. Pickled Ginger
Pickled ginger isn't just a well-loved palate cleanser for sushi. You can transform the taste of the eggs by serving them with heaps of preserved ginger. This will lend sweetness and a refreshing tang to your dish. Pickling ginger at home is easy, but if you don't have the time, you can just grab a bottle from Asian groceries.
5. Soy Sauce
The simplest way to make hundred-year-old eggs enjoyable is by dipping them in soy sauce. Fans of this method suggest using light soy sauce to balance out the complexity of the eggs. You can experiment with flavor combos by mixing in condiments like sesame oil or rice vinegar.
6. Chili Garlic Oil
Are you looking for a snack loaded with health benefits? Try a Korean mayak-inspired recipe by soaking century egg slices in chilies, soy sauce, vinegar, green onions, and garlic. Preserved eggs in chili and vinegar sauce are an excellent source of iron, protein, selenium, and vitamins C, D, and K. You can prepare this light meal with fresh spices, but bottled chili garlic oil works as well.
7. Chicken Eggs
Why settle for one egg when you can have three? Steamed eggs are a novel approach for preparing and serving century eggs. Making the protein-packed dish is simple! The recipe is essentially an omelette that combines beaten fresh chicken eggs, salted eggs, and preserved eggs. And to give it extra savoriness, you can add Knorr Chicken Cubes and fish sauce. Instead of frying the mixture, place it in a pan, then steam it just until cooked. Enjoy the eggy dish with rice and a splash of soy sauce.
Century eggs are a versatile ingredient for appetizers and main dishes. And if you need to amp their appeal, just rummage through your pantry and try these combos. Enjoy!