Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but salted duck egg yolks are currently trending in Chinese cuisine. Our family has spent months perfecting this recipe, and we can’t wait to give it to you.
Enchancing the Little Richness
Breakfast in China typically consists of congee (rice porridge) topped with salted duck eggs. The yolk of a salted duck egg is a delicacy in and of itself and is frequently found in mooncakes, pastries, and rice dumplings (zongzi).
They are a favorite among chefs because they enhance the flavor, saltiness, and decadence of any dish. Shredded potatoes, fried pumpkin, shrimp, and crab have all been coated in salted duck egg yolks by chefs in recent years. Believe it or not, I’ve even seen it in fried rice!
Do You Know What a Salted Duck Taste Like?
For those who have never tried a salted duck egg, the white has a flavor comparable to that of a boiled chicken egg white, except it is saltier and less dense.
The yolk, though, is where the real flavor is salty and rich in umami, like a mashed roasted chestnut.
Some people like spoonfuls of caviar, but I much like the salty, fatty flavor of duck egg yolks.
- 12 duck eggs
- 1 quart of water
- 1/2 cup of baijiu
- 1/4 cup of sea salt
- Cleaning the eggs begins with thorough rinsing in cold water.
- Place the eggs in the brining container in an orderly fashion. Make sure the eggs are thoroughly buried by adding adequate water. Do not waste the water at this stage because it will help you determine your water requirements.
- Remove the eggs from the water and expose them to early morning light for three to four hours. If the temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, reduce the exposure time to one to two hours. Rotate the eggs once an hour. In the late morning heat, eggs may crack while being salted.
- While that’s happening, empty the container’s contents into a clean saucepan (I used approximately 1 quart) and add any aromatics you’re using. Bring to a boil while stirring in the 1/4 cup of salt. Cover and set aside until it reaches room temperature after removing from heat. Meanwhile, remove the container and let it outside to dry in the sun.
- Place the eggs in a big bowl, add half cup of Chinese baijiu (or whiskey), and gently turn them over. Half a cup of baijiu isn’t enough to completely submerge them; to ensure they stay soaked, roll them around every 10 minutes. Let the eggs sit in the baijiu for an hour.
- As soon as the salt water has cooled and your container is dry, carefully place each egg back inside. Mix the cooled salt water and the baijiu used to soak the eggs. Area the eggs in a clean container, covering them so that they are entirely submerged in water. Store the container in a cold, dry place for 30–60 days. It’s important to brine the eggs for the appropriate amount of time, given their size. After 30 days, you can cook one to test if it’s ready. If it’s not nearly there after 10-14 days, try again.
- The duck eggs used in your morning congee and other dishes can be cooked in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes.
Notes & Tips:
- Because of their smaller size, free-range chicken eggs need less time in the brine (by at least 10 days) to absorb the salt.
- Eggs are fragile, so take extra care not to crack them while you’re working with them.
- This is a breakfast dish. The eggs (yep, the eggs) need to sunbathe, but you should only do so in the early morning. To say the least, it’s a bit out there. The temperature this morning ranged from about 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The eggs sat out in the morning sun for around three to four hours. Sunbathing should be limited to no more than two or three hours each day in hotter weather.
- Every single container or implement needs to be spotless and devoid of any traces of grease. If you need to, you can pre-boil your pots, pans, and dishes (only glassware). Also acceptable is the use of a large, airtight plastic container.
- It is imperative that the salt water be heated before usage.
- To add some flair, you can boil some Sichuan peppercorns, a stick of cinnamon, and some star anise in some seawater and then add the cooled spices.
- Chinese baijiu, a powerful, clear liquor, is essential because it enhances the egg’s inherent oils. Baijiu is still not commonly available outside of China, although whiskey is a suitable replacement.
- Depending on the size of the egg, testing can begin after 30 days. It’s quicker to make little eggs.
- Remove the duck eggs from the salt water once they have attained the proper consistency to prevent them from getting overly salty. Save them for cooking or eating within a week or two if stored in an open container. Keeping the shells on after hard-boiling duck eggs allows for storage for up to a month in the fridge.
- After doing the whole process, enjoy the Salted Duck Egg Yolks!