Easy eating for kids and comfort food for adults, the Chinese have a soft spot for this silky, just-set savoury custard of egg. Its simple looks and few ingredients belie the skill required: overcook and it becomes tough and rubbery. Once mastered, it’s quick and simple to make, and easily adapted by changing the ratio of egg to stock, and adding elaborate toppings – in this case, it’s set with shiitake and enoki mushrooms in the custard, and topped with minced pork and more mushrooms.
- 10 eggs
- 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 4 shiitake mushrooms (see Note), thinly sliced
- 50 g enoki mushrooms (see Note), trimmed
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 200 g minced pork
- 3 cm-piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
- 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar (chinkiang) (see Note)
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra, to shallow-fry
- 100 g shimeji mushrooms (see Note), thinly sliced
- 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match 2012 Lethbridge Ménage a Noir Pinot Noir, Geelong, Vic ($30)
Preheat oven to 150°C. Whisk eggs, stock and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a 1 litre round ovenproof dish or heatproof bowl until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Top with shiitake and enoki mushrooms, and half the spring onions. Place dish in a deep roasting pan, and add enough boiling water to come halfway up sides of the dish. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until custard is just set.
Meanwhile, combine minced pork, ginger, vinegar, sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a bowl. Season. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat, add pork mixture and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 8 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from pan and keep warm.
Clean frying pan. Fill 2 cm deep with extra oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add shimeji mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel.
Top custard with pork and shimeji mushrooms. Scatter over sesame seeds and remaining spring onions to serve.
• Fresh shiitake, enoki and shimeji mushrooms are available from greengrocers and select Asian food shops.
• Chinese black vinegar (chinkiang) is available from Asian food shops.
Photography by Ben Dearnley. Food preparation Kirsten Jenkins. Styling Vanessa Austin. Drink suggestion Dan Coward.
As seen in Feast magazine, Apr 2014, Issue 30.