Saturday, 15 March 2014

Salted Duck Eggs (咸鴨蛋)

You can buy salted duck eggs in the Chinese supermarket, and I've always wanted to know how to make them. My mum and dad usually have a large jar of them on the go, so I tend to pinch a few. They make an easy accompaniment to dinner, steamed in a basket over your rice, as it is cooking, then cut into half, insides scraped out and mashed up with your rice. Another use would be to use them as an accompaniment to congee, preferably with a plethora of other yummy additions.

As a child I found the whites unbearably salty but loved the yolks. Having now made my own, the whites are nowhere near as salty as the shop-bought ones. Salty eggs are essential in some wonderful dishes, such as Steamed Pork with Salted Eggs (咸蛋蒸猪肉), and soups such as pork, spinach and salted egg soup, which I will blog about once the latest batch are ready.

I'm pretty sure they're not that good for you, but I do find myself craving one every so often. I found some suitably sized Kilner jars in Morrisons for a few quid each, so decided to have a go. I tried two recipes, one with shaoxing rice wine (said to give the yolks a rich yellow colour), and one without.



  • 10-12 duck eggs, wiped clean with a damp cloth
  • Approx. 1200ml water
  • 300 - 400g salt
  • (optional) 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • A pinch of tea leaves (I used Oolong tea, but you can use anything, including good old PG Tips)
 Makes 10-12



  • Make the salt solution. Boil approx. 1200ml water in a pan, depending on the size of your jar and the number of eggs you're salting. The ratio for salt saturation in the water is somewhere between salt:water = 1:4 and 1:3. Add 300g salt to the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Continue to add the salt, a tablespoon at a time, until the salt saturates and you see crystals on the surface of the water
  • (Optional) Add 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine to the boiling salt solution
  • Boil for a further minute, then add a pinch of tea leaves and remove from the heat
  • Leave to cool completely, until the solution is room temperature
  • Wash the storage jars inside and out with warm soapy water, then remove the rubber seals and place the jars into an oven at 90 degrees for 20 minutes or until dry. Leave in the oven to cool completely
  • Carefully place the duck eggs into the bottom of the jar, and fill almost to the top with the salt solution. Place a small dish or cup (I like the ramekins that you sometimes get when you buy posh desserts in the supermarkets) into the neck of the jar, so that the eggs are completely submerged. Seal the jar and leave for 35 - 45 days. I put mine in the garage, but my parents just used to leave theirs on the kitchen surface.
Duck eggs ready for a 35-45 day salting
  • After 35 days, the duck eggs are ready to eat. The picture below shows my eggs, one with the Shaoxing rice wine, and one without. There was a slight difference (the eggs with the Shaoxing rice wine are at the bottom of the photo)
Salted duck eggs (咸鴨蛋), steamed in the rice cooker and cut in half

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