Silky, refreshing and cold. This is one of my favourite summer side dishes for home! Not only does it taste great, it’s also easy to prepare and cheap. That said, if you’re not familiar with oriental ingredients, it can be a whole dish of daunting. I’ve elaborated on tofu in a separate recipe (my beef, tofu and mushroom patties), so instead let’s explore the tofu topper in this recipe.
Century eggs or preserved eggs (Pi Dan, in mandarin)
These are chicken, duck or quail eggs preserved in clay, ash, salt, quicklime and more and left to “cook” or cure (like gravalax) over months. The sulfides and other chemicals in the egg then help to create the dark colour effect of the resulting masterpiece – the colour scheme ranges from dark green to brown to black-ish grey. It’s actually amazing.
While it’s still a source of protein, the salt in the curing process makes century eggs a saltier option than a regular soft-boiled egg. It’s a delicacy rather than a day-to-day substitute. The texture of the egg white becomes jelly-like and the egg yolk is more gooey than a soft boiled yolk, so some people may be surprised (for better or for worse) by this. It’s best to cast aside all expectations of a soft boiled white egg when you eat it.
Costs: $3.50 ($0.88 per serve)
Cooking time: 5 mins
- 250g Classic tofu block
- 1 century egg, shell peeled
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce paste (I used KimLan Soy Sauce Paste, see Notes)
- 1/2 stalk spring onion, finely sliced
Let’s get cooking:
- Drain liquid from tofu packet and rinse tofu block under running water. Pat dry and place in a serving bowl.
- Halve century egg with sharp knife (the centre will be slightly gooey). Place egg halves on top of tofu, cut sides facing downwards.
- Drizzle soy paste over tofu and egg. Sprinkle with spring onions and serve.
- Soy sauce paste is basically a thicker, sweeter version of soy sauce. If you Google “soy paste”, you tend to get results for Dou bang jiang which is a chilli, broad bean and soy bean paste, or you might end up with results for miso paste which is a Japanese fermented soy bean paste (it’s confusing, I know) — so try Googling “soy sauce paste” and you’ll get the thickened soy sauces.
- Try topping the eggs with meat floss or fish floss (rou song), which is stewed meat dry-cooked until the individual muscle fibres can be pulled apart like wool. A common example is pork floss.
- Swap the soy paste for sesame oil for a more warming dish.
One serve provides a fifth of your daily calcium requirements.
|Total fat (g)||6.4|
|– Saturated fat (g)||1.1|
|– Sugars (g)||1.2|