If you’ve never had salted eggs before, you’re in luck. You’re about to discover one of the most delicious, most savoury, sweet and umami-packed ingredients possible. YUM. If you’re bemoaning your lack of access to an Asian grocery store, fret not as making your own salted eggs is as easy as pie. (Easier than pie, really, as I don’t find making pie crust easy at all!) There are several methods such as rolling the eggs in Chinese wine before covering them in salt but I find brining the eggs in salt water the easiest. (I’ll be doing another “How to make your own salted eggs” post comparing the results of the various ways soon- as soon as the eggs have finished brining as I will need them for photographs!) You only need 3 ingredients that every non-vegan household would have: water, salt and eggs. Some recipes call for shaoxing wine, sugar and spices but these are optional. (These add-ons are said to speed up brining, to make the resulting salted eggs more beautiful and more fragrant but friends who’ve added them aren’t sure they made much difference! I’m currently brining a batch of eggs plain and a batch of eggs with shaoxing wine so that we can do a side-by-side comparison in 20 to 30 days).
How to store your salted eggs
Once your salted eggs are ready to be removed from the brine, store them in the fridge (sans brine). I keep mine for about 20 days but I’ve seen other bloggers advocate keeping them for up to 2 months.
- Glass or plastic jar
- Zip lock bag half filled with water
- 12 eggs traditionally duck eggs but you can substitute with chicken (I use chicken as duck eggs are not sold in Singapore). Note chicken eggs will result in a slightly less flavourful salted egg and may brine faster than duck eggs due to the difference in their shells
- 1 litre water I use tap water in the UK and in Singapore but the safety of tap water may vary from country to country.
- 250 grams salt
- Clean the eggs well, checking for any cracks in the shells. (Do not use eggs with broken shells) Dry the eggs then place them in a glass (or plastic) jar.
- Combine the water and salt in a pot and bring to the boil. Stir to make sure all the salt is dissolved. Turn the heat off and allow the brine to cool to room temperature. (If you are adding shaoxing wine, now would be the time to add it.)
- Pour the cooled brine into the jar and make sure it is sufficient to fully cover the eggs. Place the half-filled zip-lock bag on top of the eggs to make sure the eggs are totally submerged.
- Cover the container and store at room temperature for a month. (I place mine under the kitchen sink).
- From day 18 onwards (or day 20 if using duck eggs), take 1 egg out of the brine. Boil it and eat it. If it tastes salty enough for you, remove all the eggs from the solution, rinse them with water and store them in the fridge. If you'd like a saltier egg, allow the eggs to continue brining. Keep tasting every day or so till you are satisfied with the eggs. (Eggs are then washed and refrigerated)
- Do note the egg whites may become too unpleasantly salty to be consumed if you brine the eggs past 20 days. (Most recipes only call for the salted egg yolk but it's rather wasteful to throw the whites out! The whites go well with rice or porridge.)
I’m always a little uncertain when I see “room temperature” in recipes as different countries have vastly different ambient temperatures. However, rest assured that I’ve made these salted eggs in both UK and Singapore where the room temperature differs considerably and it’s worked well in both countries. (My homemade salted egg recipe is tried, tested and vouched for by a friend from Hong Kong and we know how fastidious the Cantonese are about their food!)
How to use your homemade salted eggs
There are soooooo many ways to use homemade salted eggs although, sadly, most recipes focus on the yolk and a lot of people end up throwing the white away. (Don’t! The salted egg whites can be boiled or steamed and go very well with minced pork or porridge. You could even have them with my Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice Porridge!) Other uses of salted eggs include:
- salted egg yolks in rice dumplings (traditional)
- salted egg & butter popcorn/ chips (or salted egg fish skin if you want the Asian equivalent) (For tips on how to make pop corn on the stove, click here)
- salted egg croissant!
- salted egg fried rice/ pork/ chicken/ crab (better than Singaporean chilli crab in my opinion!)
- salted egg mayonnaise
- salted egg cookies
We even have salted egg yolk ice cream and salted egg yolk instant noodles in Singapore!
Cheat’s guide to salted eggs
If you don’t have the 20-30 days that this homemade salted eggs recipe requires, you can always buy salted eggs from an Asian grocer or order salted egg powder off Amazon (do note I’ve never tried this brand as I usually use Knorr Salted Egg powder (which is pure salted egg) or Oki Salted Egg Seasoning (a pre-blended mix of salted egg and other seasonings).