My head's been underwater for the last few weeks getting the startup website ready to go live. So this post has been brining longer than these duck eggs. For those of you who have been nudging me offline, thanks for your curiosity and patience!
Salted duck eggs were a much loved treat when I was growing up in Singapore. The simplest and so very pleasurable way to eat them is to hard boil them then flake them into a bowl of steaming hot plain rice congee. The rich golden yolks, in particular, are my favourite part of a Chinese mooncake. When mashed, the yolks add a mind blowing kick when fried with corn, crabs or prawns (those recipes when I get more practice).
A throwaway conversation with my Auntie Swee Cheng 2 Chinese New Years ago in Singapore revealed that she brines her own duck eggs. Or chicken eggs, when she's feeling less flush. Salt, water, and a month. That's all you need, she said. So after finishing the remaining months of our global gallavant and finally settling back into a flat of our own after a couple of sublets, I was raring to give it a shot.
A few friends both here and abroad were very curious. Could one really do this at home? Could they really soon have a real alternative to industrially brined duck eggs, especially since rumour has it that food colouring is injected to get their deep orange colour?
The good news is that it's as easy as it sounds. The bad news is that this post might end up reading like an anti-climax. No Ferran Adria style magic or Heston Blumenthal style complicatedness here folks. Still, here goes.
I went with a test batch of 6 beautiful organic duck eggs from the Jacob's Farm stall at the Maltby Street / Druid Street enclave in London.
Then went along with this recipe, from a Minnesota-based farmstead, of all places.
Plastic container, salt, water, raw duck eggs, a water-filled ziploc bag on top to keep the raw eggs submerged, a towel for cover to keep dust and bugs off, and a quiet corner of the flat where I was not likely to inadvertantly kick my little project over.
I turned the eggs over maybe once a week, or whenever I remembered. I think I also let it sit 5 weeks in the end, instead of 4.
One small tip though. When reaching in to rotate the eggs, make sure you don't have any scratches or cuts on your hands. That brine STINGS!
Extract the brined raw eggs, rinse, then place in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes.
The boiled salted eggs can apparently keep in the fridge for up to a year. But why would wait that long to eat them all?
You can hang on to the brine, refill with water (quite a bit will have evaporated) and get going on a new batch.
Here are the results. I placed a home brined duck egg next to a commercial duck egg here. Can you tell which is which?
I ended up using my test batch of eggs for a dinner party, and played salted duck egg roulette, placing 1 commercial egg amid 5 home-brined ones, waiting to see if anyone spotted any difference. If they did, they were too polite to say anything!
So there you have it. Home made salted duck eggs. Hopefully so steeeeewpidly simple that this will inspire you to try it for yourself at home.
Maybe I'll try a goose egg next. Or an ostrich egg. Hmm....