Lady Rain works as a daytime stock trader and writes about crafts and hobbies. She likes travelling and making papercraft models.
In The Beginning
The existence of salted eggs dates to many centuries ago in Asian countries like China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand. Salted eggs were probably a daily food among farmers and villagers where other foods were scarce and the people were poor. The only food they had to survive on in those days came from their own crops and farm animals. Preserved and salted foods were also common as they could be stored for a long time without refrigerators, which they didn't have back then.
Salted Duck Eggs
Duck eggs are often used in the making of salted eggs. The traditional way of making salted eggs is by covering the eggs in a salty mud paste and letting the eggs cure for many months. This method is still being used today. Other modern methods are also being used, and it could be one of the reasons why there are more and more inferior-quality salted eggs being sold out there.
The Chinese make salted duck eggs by coating them with a thick paste made from charcoal, salt, water and then wrapping each egg in a plastic bag. The Filipinos use a mixture of clay, salt, and water to coat the duck eggs. The duck eggs are then cured for a few weeks before they are ready to be sold in the markets.
Good Eggs or Bad Eggs
It is easy to tell if a cooked salted egg is of good quality or inferior type. A good salted egg has a bright yellow yolk in the middle that is oozing with thick yellow liquid. A poor quality salted egg lacks the yellow colour in its yolk, sometimes it's not even pale yellow and is often too salty to be eaten.
Where to Buy Salted Eggs
You can find salted duck eggs in most Asian grocery stores. Some of the eggs have been dyed with red or pink colour so as not to get them mixed up with the normal fresh eggs. Some eggs are wrapped individually in plastic bags and are still coated with the black charcoal paste. Half a dozen salted eggs usually cost around $6 from the grocery store.
Why Not Make Your Own
You can also make your own at home with chicken, duck, emu, or quail eggs. Duck eggs are still the best for making this particular dish. There is a particular taste in duck eggs that seems to bring out the aroma, texture, and taste of an authentic salted egg. So, go for duck if you can find them!
How to Make Salted Eggs
You will need the following ingredients/items:
- 12 eggs
- 500 grams cooking salt
- 4 cups water
- Large glass container with a lid
- Pour the cooking salt and water into a pot and boil.
- Stir until all the salt has melted and keep boiling until you see lots of salt crystals start to form on the side of the pot. This means the salt water has reached a saturation point and the salt has started to crystallise.
- Remove pot from heat and let the salt water cool to room temperature.
- Put the eggs in the glass container.
- Slowly pour in the salt water and salt crystals until all the eggs are submerged in the water.
- Cover the container with the lid and leave it in a cool dark place.
It takes approximately 4 weeks for the eggs to turn salty. If you prefer less salty eggs, you can take out one egg to test for saltiness after three weeks. Boil the salted egg in water for 10 minutes until it is hard-boiled. Let it cool and then remove the shell.
Taste and see if it is salty enough for your liking. If not, leave the eggs in the container for another week or two, depending on how salty you want them to be.
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When you are satisfied with the saltiness of the eggs, remove them from the salt water and store the eggs in the refrigerator until they are needed for cooking.
Salted eggs can be served as a small side dish with rice or noodles. They can also be used as a filling for Chinese mooncakes.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can I reuse the salt and water to make another batch of salted eggs?
Answer: You will need to reboil the salt and water if you want to reuse the solution.
Question: Why is salted chicken egg not commercialized like salted duck egg? What is the difference between a salted chicken egg and salted duck egg?
Answer: From my own understanding, the duck egg has a thicker shell that allows it to store better for a long time. Also, duck eggs have a distinct flavor that some people do not like - preserving the duck eggs in salt tends to get rid of that flavor. Duck eggs have bigger yolks, salted egg yolks are becoming very popular in a lot of Asian recipes!
Question: Why should we use a glass container for salted egg stock? What about a plastic Tupperware?
Answer: Personally I like to use glass containers for storing food. You may use Tupperware containers if you prefer them.
Question: After curing salted eggs for 4 weeks, do I need to boil them first before eating or I can just peel them and eat it without cooking?
Answer: The salted eggs need to be cooked before consuming. You can boil them like hard-boiled eggs, or you can break the shell and put them in a bowl and steam until they are cooked. The salted eggs can also be mixed with meat or vegetables for cooking.
Question: How does the egg become salty when cooking?
Answer: Eggshells are porous and salt water can go through the eggshells by a process called osmosis.
Question: Why do the eggs float when put in a container with salt water?
Answer: Salt water has a higher density that causes the eggs to float.
Question: Can the eggs be boiled first before putting them in the jar of salty and water?
Answer: If the eggs are cooked first, they will become hard-boiled eggs. In the solid form, they will take very long to become salted eggs.
Question: Is it true that it is less hygienic to use a mud/soil in making salted eggs?
Answer: I am sure the mud/soil used for salted eggs production commercially has some sort of quality control.
Question: What if an egg is cracked before you put in the glass to make salted eggs?
Answer: If the egg is cracked, do not put it in the container.
Question: Can I directly boil duck eggs with the salt solution?
Answer: If you boil the duck eggs in the salt solution, the process will only cook the eggs but not make them salty.
Question: How long do salted eggs keep for, and how do I store them properly after I finish salting them?
Answer: The salted eggs can be kept in the fridge for several weeks.
Question: I've just recently made a batch of salted chicken eggs for the first time, it was brined for 16 days. The eggs were cooked all they like hard-boiled. Is it normal for the yolk part to be green in color? It sure tasted good though.
Answer: The color of the yolk has something to do with the quality of the egg. Good quality eggs have a bright orange color while poorer quality egg yolks are sometimes pale yellow. I haven't seen green color in the yolks but if the eggs were fresh enough when you bought them, it should not be a problem.
Question: How to color duck eggs?
Answer: Food dye can be used if you want to color the duck eggs.
Question: Is it okay if I don't boil the water and salt when making salted eggs?
Answer: Boiling the water helps to dissolve the salt and attain the saturation point.
Question: How do you preserve a salted egg?
Answer: You can keep the salted eggs in the fridge for a few weeks.
Question: I just bought my first salted eggs and I am not sure what to do with them first. Do I need to wash them or cook them before consuming them?
Answer: If you have bought ready made salted eggs from the store, just give them a wash before you cook them.
Question: Can the curing time be shorter for salted eggs?
Answer: If the curing time is less than 3 weeks, the eggs will not be salty enough and will not store well.
Question: Is there a way to remove the salt content from imported preserved chicken eggs?
Answer: I would suggest soaking the uncooked eggs in water for one to two weeks and changing the water every other day.
Question: Can we make a spicy salted egg?
Answer: You can make the salted egg spicy when it is ready to serve.
Question: Do I have to wait 4 weeks to complete the salted duck egg?
Answer: Yes, it takes time to make salted egg.
Question: Can I use slightly cracked eggs like very small crack on the shells to make salted duck eggs?
Answer: I would prefer not to use eggs with visible cracks.
Question: Does a salted egg taste different than putting salt on a normal (peeled) hard boiled egg?
Answer: Yes, the taste of salted eggs is definitely different from hard boiled eggs with added salt.
Question: Does the process of salting the eggs give them a différent flavor than a normal hard boiled egg?
Answer: Yes, the flavor of salted eggs is definitely different from hard boiled eggs.
Question: How long will it last if I just keep them in the pantry and not in the fridge?
Answer: Homemade salted eggs will not last in the pantry because they are not made to be very salty. They are best kept in the fridge.
Question: Which kind of salt is better, rock salt or fine salt?
Answer: Both rock salt and fine salt are suitable for making salted eggs.
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