I just love the soft, pudding-like structure and the delicate taste of this savoury egg custard. I have some nice memories of this dish, made with some kind of chinese clams. Nothing fancy, nothing pretentious, just being eggs and clams. But I do have to warn you, many people think this dish is too simple and aren’t as excited about it as I am. So it’s probably best to serve it more like a side dish, as one of many chinese dishes on the table. Or just as lunch with steamed white rice.
I used to think eggcustard was a mixture of egg and tofu, I couldn’t believe it was just steamed eggs with water/stock. So when I discovered that, I decided to try to recreate the dish from my memories.
125 ml dashi or chickenstock
1 T light soysauce (optional)
2 T shaoxing ricewine or sake
some clams like vongole or cockles
or a few raw shrimp
1 T chopped spring onion
1 T chopped fresh coriander
Stir first 4 ingredients together in a bowl.
Be careful not to make bubbles.
Pass through a sieve into a shallow heatproof dish.
Add some washed fresh clams or shrimp.
Cover the dish with clingfoil.
Steam gently for 20 minutes in your steamer.
Sprinkle with the spring onion and fresh coriander.
These are my notes/tips:
- I’ve tried it with chickenstock, which was nice with the shrimp and/or mushrooms. For clams I’ve seen recipes asking for (canned) clam-juice, probably very nice, but I have never heard of these cans, so I wouldn’t know where to get those. I tried dashi (japanese stock) and I liked it with the cockles. It gives your eggcustard an extra dimension. But I’ve also tried it once with only water, soy, ricewine and sesame oil and that turned out fine too.
- Don’t whisk the mixture, stir it. You don’t want bubbles, like I got the first attempt.
- If you don’t put a lid or clingfoil over the bowl, the surface will also be more bubbly and even a little scruffy-looking.
- There probably is a perfect ratio for the egg versus the liquid, I don’t know it yet.
- I’ve tried it plain, with raw, frozen shrimp, with shrimp & mushroom, with cockles and with frozen vongole from my oriental supermarket. Although they were all okay, I much preferred the fresh cockles with shrimp as second best. The frozen asian vongole looked great, but because they were already dead they didn’t open, so eating them was messy.
- I like to use soy sauce, but this will tune down the colour of the custard.
- I’m still not sure whether I like sesame-oil. Maybe with the shrimp I do and with the clams I don’t.
- I’ve added some red chillies. It gives nice colour, but I don’t think I’ll use that again.