Have you ever been in the supermarket and seen some eggs that just don’t look quite right?
They probably look like black eggs sitting in jelly, and can often be found in Asian markets, or the international aisle at the grocery store.
These are known as century eggs, and they are a traditional dish in Chinese cuisine.
If you enjoy the excitement of trying new foods, then you might be drawn to these eggs and be filled with questions. What do they taste like? And how do you cook them? Are they healthy and good for you?
In this article, we will cover all this and more. Keep reading to find out everything that there is to know about century eggs!
A Century Egg – What Is It?
A century egg is the combination of a few ingredients to make one meal.
Eggs, together with additional spices, are used in the preparation of a dish called century egg, which is similar to pickled eggs and is considered a delicacy in China.
They have a robust taste, so they are typically eaten with foods that have a more subtle flavor, such as tofu or sauces.
How Are Century Eggs Made?
You may be wondering where century eggs get its name from. It is all down to the lengthy preparation process and the way the finished product looks.
Century eggs are given this name because they have the appearance of eggs that have been aged for a long period.
The term “century egg” can alternatively be rendered in Chinese as “hundred-year egg” or “pidan.” Many go so far as to refer to it as a “thousand-year egg.”
During the process of preservation, the golden egg yolk will change color and take on a gray or dark greenish hue.
On the other hand, the whites become a brownish color and turn into a jelly-like consistency. After between three and four months, the process of preservation will be finished.
After they have been cooked, the century eggs just need to be rinsed and then they are ready to be eaten. They are served on the side to complement the main meal that is being served.
The majority of the eggs in this meal come from a duck. This is because duck eggs contain more nutrients.
After going through the process of preservation, duck eggs become even more desirable since they contain a greater quantity of protein.
Century eggs are now a regular item on the menu in restaurants that cater to more formal events.
Traditional Chinese communities include them as an essential part of the banquet spread for important events like weddings and festivals.
What Do Century Eggs Taste Like?
The first thing you will notice about century eggs is their bad small. This is not a selling point of this dish, as a lot of people are so put off by the smell that they can’t even bring themselves to eat the meal.
But even though the century egg has a bad smell, you shouldn’t let that put you off from eating this delicious specialty.
The century egg has an amazing flavor and offers a delightful combination of tastes and smooth and grainy textures.
The whites are transparent and have the viscosity of the jelly, in contrast to the yolk, which has a cheesy flavor.
In terms of overall flavor, a century egg has a bitter taste; yet, it is an enjoyable type of bitter that may become addicting.
Because these eggs have a robust flavor that is sometimes difficult to take in on their own, they are rarely served on their own and instead are used as a side dish to complement the meal.
How century eggs are cooked can produce a wide range of hues in the finished product; some century eggs have a yellowish tint, while others have a deeper, almost black color.
The egg will develop a deeper hue if more spices are applied to it or if the maturing process is allowed to continue for a longer period of time.
Black Vs Yellow Centery Egg Flavor
Yellow-century eggs contain a lower concentration of sodium hydroxide and have a flavor that is less harsh compared to the black eggs.
The egg’s protein is transformed into something similar to jelly as a result of the sodium hydroxide’s action on it. The black variant includes a greater quantity of the alkaline combination and has a more bitter flavor.
Cooking Country Eggs
Century eggs do not need to be cooked at all. Following the process of preservation, they are opened up and are ready to eat right then and there.
They are typically served as a side dish alongside other types of meals, such as noodles and vegetables.
If you are trying to make century eggs yourself, then you need to make sure that you are coving the eggs in a clay mixture.
This clay prevents any particles, dust, or germs from touching the eggs doing the preservation process.
You are free to use any spices you want to give the eggs a more flavorful taste.
Ginger, star anise, and cinnamon are examples of spices that are commonly used on century eggs, and they are beneficial to your health.
In several recipes for making century eggs, lead is used as a catalyst to speed up the curing process. This allows the eggs to be used sooner.
However, the safest and most effective method is to prepare the eggs without the use of lead, as we now know that lead is poisonous.
You should also use a smaller quantity of the sodium hydroxide combination, which is comprised of soda ash and quick lime, in the eggs to provide a flavor that is somewhat less bitter.
Advice About Century Eggs
There are a few things you need to keep in mind before you try century eggs. First of all, the flavor of the century eggs is robust to the point of becoming overpowering.
Because of this, you should consider chewing the eggs more slowly and taking smaller bites. Doing so will reduce the likelihood that the flavor will be too intense for you.
Secondly, you should be prepared to consume an offensive-smelling dish because century eggs are one of those foods. This dish will stink up your whole kitchen, if not your whole house, so be prepared for that.
Century eggs are a traditional Chinses dish that is slowly becoming more popular around the world.
Despite their bad smell, century eggs have an almost irresistible flavor, with the bitterness of the dish making it perfect as a side dish for other, sweeter, foods.