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Monday, September 13, 2010
Those who had caught my earlier post on Braised Mince Meat Sauce may remember how proud and pleased I had been over the dish. It was definitely the most versatile dish I have made thus far and it tasted amazing! Encouraged by the success over the dish, I went on to make a second batch of the meat sauce a few days after I published my post. This time, I had made a bigger batch,separated them into 5 smaller portions and kept them frozen in the chiller. As a result of that convenient arrangement, I get to cheat a little for today's post and prepare dinner in less than 15mins...
Steamed egg custard is a dish I remember my mother cooking very regularly during my younger days. She would normally steam it plain and serve it with soya sauce drizzled over the top. Other times, she would also steam it together with minced pork which is another tasty dish by itself. My mother by any standard is not considered a good cook - possibly because she has no one to coach her in the kitchen. My grandmother, I was told, passed away when my mother was still very young. I vaguely remember my father telling me that when they first got married, my mother was rather ignorant about the ways around the kitchen. Hence, I have to admit that her steamed egg custard is hardly a winner, by general standard. Very often, they were overcooked and tasted somewhat bland but whatever it was, we still liked them as kids. Hence very very much later, when I had my first Chawan Mushi (Japanese steamed egg custard) in a Japanese restaurant, I was really blown away by the smooth silken, wobbly texture of the egg custard. Till this day, I still order the Chawan Mushi every time when I dine in a Japanese restaurant.
Compared to my mother, I am much more lucky - today, there are many more ways than ever to access cooking tips and recipes. The countless cooking programs on TV, the wide selection of cookbooks available in bookshops, the comprehensive as well as fancy cooking classes and last but not least, the avalanche of food blogs out there that makes you feel like you are surrounded by a gargantuan team of cooking mothers, grandmothers, and peers guiding you to become a better cook, literally, everyday. Everybody now, can potentially cook a good meal, it is just a matter of whether you are bothered enough to do it.
I am not sure if my mother knew that there is a Golden Rule for steaming egg custard. I first learnt about this golden ratio over a TV cooking program when I was working in Guangzhou,China many years ago. The magic numbers stipulated by the Golden Rule is 1,3,7. One can of Swanson's Chicken stock (about 400ml), 3 eggs and 7mins steaming. This ratio has never failed me since. Recipes may vary a little with more or less liquid or eggs depending on how firm you prefer the custard to be. Chinese steamed egg custard tends to have a firmer texture while the Japanese Chawan Mushi is more tender.
After getting the right mixing ratio, the next challenge would be to master the intensity of the heat to ensure a silken smooth finish. Overly strong heating yields 'pock marks' on the surface of the custard. I normally steam my egg by leaving the lid of the steamer slightly ajar.
For today's variation, I had spooned some Braised Minced Meat Sauce over the steaming custard when the surface has set. I can't describe the sense of satisfaction I felt when I removed the cover of the steamer to reveal a silken smooth custard that reminds me of the soft, spotless complexion of a chubby baby....
I had also prepared a simple side dish which is made up of shredded iced cool cucumber topped with the Braised Minced Meat Sauce.
Salt 1/4 tsp
Chinese Wine 1 tbsp
Chicken Stock 400ml
Braised Mince Meat Sauce (Recipe Here)
1. Boil water in a pot. Break eggs into a bowl and lightly beat with a fork, carefully not not create too much bubbles.
2. Add seasonings to the beaten egg. Stir well to incorporate.
3. Add chicken stock and stir well to incorporate.
4. Using a filter, pour the egg solution into bowls.
5. Steam over high heat for 30s, reduce heat to medium and continue to steam for 5mins.
6. Spoon Minced meat sauce over the set custard in the steamer and continue to steam for another 2 mins.
7. Serve immediately while hot.