One of the easiest dishes to make at home using the most simple ingredient is none other than steamed eggs.
Due to its gelatin-like texture, many people call it ‘egg custard’.
In Asia, there are three types of steamed egg dishes originating from three different countries namely China, South Korea and Japan.
Although these dishes are prepared pretty much the same way, they are somehow different from one another.
Here are 3 Asian steamed egg dishes you should try to make at home:
1.Chinese steamed eggs
This is the most common type of steamed egg dish because it can be found in any Chinese diaspora communities.
Originally, the dish started humbly using a simple combination of eggs, water, spring onions and salt.
Today, there are so many additional ingredients such as minced meat, shrimp, century egg, mushroom, crab meat, vegetables making the dish the more elaborated compared to its plain origin.
To make the perfect Chinese steamed eggs, the best ratio of water to eggs is said to be 1.5: 1.
Additionally, the water has to be warm.
The egg mixture is then poured into a dish and steamed until fully cooked. Remember to cover the dish when steaming or else it will have water on top of the eggs due to steam.
Here is a simple trick to make the egg custard turn out silky; strain the egg mixture before steaming it. This simple trick will make the texture of the steamed eggs to be smoother.
The common garnish for this dish is chopped spring onion and sometimes sesame oil or light soy sauce drizzled on top of the finished dish.
‘Gyeran’ means ‘eggs’ in Korean while jjim refers to any steamed dish.
Even by looking at its fluffy appearance, gyeran-jjim looks different from Chinese steamed eggs.
However, the idea and mechanism behind it are still the same.
The difference is when mixing the egg mixture. To make gyeran-jjim, the eggs are sieved and whisked with water until the mixture are completely blended in a cream-like consistency.
For a more savoury taste, kelp or anchovy broth is used in place of water.
To take the dish to another level, additional ingredients such as mushrooms, peas, Korean zucchini and carrots may be added into it.
While Chinese steamed eggs are left untouched when the dish is being steamed, gyeran-jjim requires stirring while it is still in the steamer.
Before serving, garnish it using chopped scallions, gochutgaru (chili flakes) and toasted sesame seeds.
Chawanmushi is made from egg mixture typically flavoured with soy sauce, dashi and miri.
You may also find other ingredients such as shiitake mushroom, ginkgo and shrimp inside your chawanmushi.
Since the name chawanmushi literally translates to ‘tea cup steam’, the dish is usually served in a tea-cup-like container.
This Japanese steamed egg dish is believed to be originated in Kyoto and Osaka during the Kansei period (1789-1801), later spreading to Edo and Nagasaki.
Another version of its origin story stated that it was brought by the foreign merchants who lived in Nagasaki and the dish instantly became a part of Shippoku.
Shippoku is a Japanese culinary style that is heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), Nagasaki was the only place in Japan where foreigners including the Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese) were allowed to reside.
If you have a chance to visit Nagasaki, you must visit a local restaurant called Yossou.
Established in 1866, it has been serving chawanmushi for more than 150 years.