Saturday, May 10, 2014

Century Eggs over Tofu

This is a dish that hubby likes very very much.  The best part is that it's foolproof... the secret is simply the quality of ingredients... all 3 of them!

This dish begins with a good quality silken tofu, which is steamed then cooled.  Then 2 to 3 pieces of good quality century eggs are sliced and placed on top of the tofu.  Lastly, a good quality thick soya sauce is poured over the whole dish.  Viola!
Century eggs are basically preserved eggs.  Supposedly, centuries ago in China, someone discovered some eggs buried in a lime pool and decided to eat them.  He liked it so much that he set about making more... and the century egg was born.  Suffice to say, they have existed in China and Chinese cuisine for several centuries already.

When I was a child, my mother told me that it was an egg that was buried in soil, straw and horse manure for at least A HUNDRED YEARS, hence the name "century" egg.  I now know that it DOES NOT take a hundred years to make, but my mother still insists - this time however, that it took at least a hundred DAYS that the eggs were buried and preserved...

Anyway, the eggs are slimy and quite gross especially for one who did not grow up with it on the dining table; after all it looks greyish, greenish and/or blackish AND it has a different taste and aroma (that I've heard to be described as stinky).  But it really is quite a delicacy with its creamy center (not unlike a soft boiled egg) [although I've eaten a lot with a firm center] and jelly-like "egg white".  When I was asked how it tasted like, my answer was that it tasted like a regular egg but concentrated.  It was actually the texture that I had to get used to but then again I don't like soft boiled eggs either!

But going back to this dish, the 3 ingredients are the basic components.  It can be dressed up a lot of ways... pork floss (or vegetarian floss), spring onions, cooked ground meat, leeks, whatever floats your boat basically!  In one variant, the tofu was topped with 3 kinds of eggs - hard boiled eggs, salted eggs and century eggs!


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