Enveloped inside a translucent, soy-sauce colored, gelatinous egg "white" is a soft, gooey, greenish-black yolk - the ghastly color of gloom, one may say. The bouncy jelly-like exterior may not taste much of anything, but the dark center has the texture and sharpness of very ripe Camembert - creamy, pungent, with a heady, palpable whiff of ammonia. (Think your cat's urine. You get the picture.) Century eggs come covered in clay and rice hulls which, coupled with its somewhat misnomer of a name, does for a second appear like some dinosaur fossil excavated from an archeological expedition.
It is no wonder the century egg has proudly made appearance on TV shows like Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods and Fear Factor, the daredevil game show where contestants were once pitted against each other devouring and gagging on whole eggs alone.
So what is a century egg anyway? Long story short, the century egg is a preserved egg, most often a duck egg, sometimes chicken, or even quail, cured in a mixture of ash, quicklime, clay, salt, and rice hulls for a period time between several weeks to months. It happens to be an age-old Chinese delicacy that is oh-so-yummy when smartly paired with something else, not unlike Roquefort complemented with a glass of Sauternes.
Century eggs take on strong flavors well and pairs exceptionally well with tofu for a contrast in textures. Here we have a typical household recipe that many families keep with minor variations. One thing absolutely in common is that there are no skills involved whatsoever and the entire dish practically comes together in under 15 minutes. It celebrates a melange of flavors and textures - from the silkiness of chilled tofu, the juxtaposition of chewiness and creaminess of century egg (and its odor), the heat of peppers, and the sweet and savoriness of the sauce. Some would also top the dish with dried pork floss. Opt for either sugar or honey for the sweet element - I prefer honey for its floral hint and consistency. The resulting dish makes for a simple, classic side dish, ideal for the sweltering heat of summer!
What you'll need...
2 century eggs
1 block (400 g) silken tofu
2 Chinese long green peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bird's-eye chili, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon oyster sauce*
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cooking oil
Spring onion, chopped
Note: For a vegetarian option, substitute with vegetarian "oyster" mushroom sauce.
1. Peel century eggs and rinse with water. Cut into half-inch dice. (Have a glass of warm water ready while dicing the eggs - dip the knife in and wipe off with paper towel each time after slicing to avoid a gunky mess.)
2. De-seed long green peppers, remove pith and finely chop. In a nonstick pan, heat oil on medium heat. Sauté diced green peppers for 1-2 minutes. Add minced garlic and chili, cook until fragrant then lower heat. Stir in oyster sauce, soy sauce and honey. Season to taste, then set aside and allow to cool slightly.
3. Drain tofu, slice and arrange on a platter. Layer diced century egg on top and drizzle sauce mixture over. Sprinkle with spring onion and cilantro. Enjoy!
- Press tofu with paper towel to extract excessive water content. If time allows, return tofu to the fridge for an hour before assembling.
- If pressed for time, skip the cooking process and mix the chopped peppers and garlic with the sauce ingredients and pour over tofu and century egg. Watch out for garlic breath though!
【 涼拌尖椒皮蛋豆腐 】
皮蛋 2 隻
盒裝蒸煮滑豆腐 1 盒
青尖椒 2 條
蒜頭 2 瓣
指天椒 1 隻
蠔油 1 湯匙
生抽 2 茶匙
蜜糖 1 湯匙
3. 開中慢火，易潔鍋入面下少許油，油熱後先放尖椒碎兜炒約 1 – 2 分鐘至出味，然後加入蒜末和辣椒碎略為炒勻。
1. 滑豆腐擠乾水份後 , 放入大碗內蓋上保鮮紙放入冰箱冷藏1小時，效果更佳。
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