Salted duck egg is a very famous Chinese traditional food across the entire country. My grandma used to usually make this duck eggs with preserved eggs together. It has been a long family tradition and memory.
In summer days, eggs can't keep for a long time and thus we developed several ways to keep them longer. If you visit Cantonese restaurants and order a congee, pickled vegetable, fresh lettuce and pickled duck egg are always the matches.
Salted egg is with a long history
Salted duck egg is widely used in lots of traditional Chinese holiday food like moon cakes for Mid autumn day and Zongzi for Dragon Boat Festival. It can bring a super unique texture and flavor in filling. There are around several ways to make salted duck egg, the method I introduce today is dry method using wine and salt only. Some of the traditional ways are not feasible since we cannot find the tools and materials needed like yellow sands or red soil. But there is another way popular among housewives—pickled duck eggs.
It is all about balance
When the salted eggs are well pickled, the white remains still liquid but the yolk in center turns solid. The sodium and chloride ions separate the proteins from each other, which further presents as agglomerated proteins. That's the oil sandy texture. The fat really around 8% comes out along with the agglomerating process. So as long as the pickling time is enough, you get oily yolks.
The actual time needed is very much depending on how salty you want the eggs to be and on the room temperature. A perfect well salted duck egg has an oily egg yolk and acceptable saltiness in egg white. But in most cases, we need to find a balance.
In warm days, we need to start testing for around 3 weeks (in shadow places). Start testing the saltiness of the egg after 3 weeks fermentation. Just boil one and cut in halves for testing. Wash the eggs carefully when they are appropriately salted. and place them in the refrigerator. However in winter days, one or two more weeks might be needed.
Carefully wash the eggs until clean. Then place under sunshine for 6 hours (depending on the room temperature). In summer days, shorten the time to 1 hour in soft morning sunshine. This process helps to open the pores and fasten the process.
Then soak the eggs with lard liquid or you can use a small amount of the liquid and soak them in batches.
In the mean time, add salt and water in a completely clean pot, heat until boiling. Turn off the fire and wait until cool down.
Wait for 25 to 45 days, also depending on the room temperature.
When the egg is well pickled, hard boil them before serving.
Salted Duck Egg
- 10 fresh duck eggs
- 500 ml hard liquor , or 100ml to soak in batches
- 500 ml water
- 175g salt
- Carefully wash the eggs until clean. Then place under sunshine for 6 hours (depending on the room temperature) in winter. In summer days, shorten the time to 1 hour, morning sun please. Or at least 4 hours in other seasons.
- Then soak the eggs with lard liquid or you can use a small amount of the liquid and soak them in batches.
- In the mean time, add salt and water in a completely clean pot, heat until boiling. Turn off the fire and wait until cool down.
- Wait for 25 to 45 days, also depending on the room temperature.
- When the egg is well pickled, hard boil them before serving.
Could you clarify what is meant by "hard wine liquor"? Would that be brandy?
Here I mean liquor with higher liquor volume like Brandy, Whisky or vodka.
I just came across your blog. Lovely articles and pictures. I can't wait to try some of the recipes. Regarding salt, what type of salt is required - kosher salt, sea salt, regular salt, etc?? Can the eggs simply be left in a bed of salt instead of individually wrapped? Thank you.
Theoretically all salt should work but sea salt should be better.
My family loves salted duck eggs. Here in the Philippines, most of the ones sold in the market are colored red to distinguish them from regular eggs. Since I am trying to avoid those "food coloring", I tried making salted duck eggs once using the salt & water method after a friend gave me 6 pieces fresh eggs, I plan to make a bigger batch next time, around 20 pieces. I am wondering if after 35 days, can I just wash the eggs and put them in the fridge without boiling and boil/cook some only when I need them? How long would they keep in the fridge without boiling and how long after they have been boiled? Sorry for my many questions, I would appreciate advise from experts like you. Thanks so much!
As long as they are well washed, the salted eggs can be kept in fridge directly. Firstly wash the extra salt off and then dry the egg with kitchen paper and then put in air-tight package. I believe it is ok for kept the eggs for 1 to 2 months as long as the eggs are fresh enough and there is no cracks on the shell.
Or boil them and keep in air-tight bags. 2 or 3 weeks seem ok for me. I share a large batch with my mom this year. All of them looks perfect now.
On your comment you mention to use higher liquor volume like Whisky. I have blended scotch whisky of 40% alcohol content. May I know if I can use this?
Yes, Millie. That type can work.
You have a wonderful website and the pictures in your recipe are so beautiful. Your recipes are very easy to follow.
I read that you live in Guangdong. My wife is first generation Chinese/American. Her parents are from Taishan, formerly known as Toishan.. My wife speaks the local village dialect of Toishan. She use to live in Chinatown in Los Angeles where there were plenty of people who spoke this dialect. Because of work she moved to San Francisco, then Washington, DC and now to the east Coast of Florida. Since moving here she has found no one who speaks it. She now only speaks it to our dogs. Of course even though they understand they don't speak back.
We have yet to find any good authentic Cantonese restaurants in Florida. My wife is a wonderful chef as her parents owned several Chinese Restaurants in Los Angeles. She has taught me to cook many dishes but I like to surprise her once in a while with something new. I plan on trying to make the salted preserved duck eggs and have found a farm where I can get fresh duck eggs. After perfecting that I want to try various Moon Cakes. I have not found any moon cakes locally and they are expensive online. She always talks about the double yolk Moon Cakes she had crowing up in Los Angeles. We have been to China several times and hope to go back soon.
Keep up the good work.
I am really touched by reading your description about speaking dialect to dogs scene. I have been living in Shenzhen for nearly 5 years but I can't speak the local dialect too. But I can understand the meaning. I hope she can find some comfort in talking with dogs. Sincerely wish you a great success with my recipe and make a happy memory food for your wife.
Can I put it in the frig instead of shadow place?
Shadow place provides a more fitful temperature comparing with fridge.
Is the first time which I'm making chicken salted eggs at home. I kept them for about 2 months now in the jag. How do I recognise if the eggs are still good?
How long I can keep them ?
Thank you for your recipe.
Get one out and cook it. Taste whether it is well salted.
You need to wash the salt when they are well salted and then place in fridge up to 2 months.
Hi Elaine, what's the purpose of the liquor? How long do I need to soak the eggs in them? Thank you.
Improve the aroma and sterilize. Soaking for 5 mins.
A very comprehensive recipe for salted duck eggs! Have read over 20 salted egg recipes before. I have a small duck farm, 200 female ducks, and planning to salt some of the duck eggs. Your post is the best that I have tried so far! Thank you!
Thanks Bibi. I am so happy to know it turns out so good for you. It is the right season for salted egg and I will make my batch of this year soon. Happy cooking!