Pickled in an aromatic salt brine, Chinese salted duck eggs are richly flavoured and naturally preserved. Although it takes weeks to months to infuse these duck eggs, they are extremely easy to make.
Salted duck eggs are a tasty traditional food year round, but often people eat them during the dragon boat festival according to customs. You can use them as a raw ingredient to flavour dishes. However, most commonly, people boil and serve them as a side dish with porridge at breakfast. You can find the cooking instruction in the recipe below. These salted duck eggs are keto and low-carb.
Chinese Salted Duck Egg Ingredients
The pickling brine is the most important component of this recipe. The flavour of the brine comes from a combination of salt, spices and alcohol. Here is everything you will need to make the salted duck eggs.
- raw duck eggs
- whole star anise
- bay leaves
- whole red sichuan peppercorns
- cinnamon sticks
- Baijiu (Chinese grain spirits)
What is Baijiu?
Baijiu is a class of high alcohol content Chinese spirits that are fragrant and popularly consumed in China. In this recipe, I used the “red star” brand Erguotou, a low-end Baijiu and the most economical and suitable for cooking. “Red star” Erguotou is fermented from sorghum, barleys and peas, with 56% alcohol content. Other kinds of Baijiu may be made with other grains. If you use a different kind of Baijiu to make salted duck eggs, choose one with over 50% alcohol.
The purpose of Baijiu in this recipe is to add fragrance to the duck eggs, and to produce oily-looking egg yolks. Oil-secreting egg yolks is a highly desirable feature of these traditional salted duck eggs. Note that Chinese cooking rice wines are not a substitution for Baijiu. Besides this recipe, Baijiu is often used in other pickling and fermentation recipes in Chinese cooking.
How to Make Salted Duck Eggs
The following images illustrate the steps to make Chinese salted duck eggs.
- Place raw duck eggs in a jar.
- Measure and place the salt and spices in a saucepan.
- Add water into the saucepan and boil the spices to extract the flavour into the brine.
- Let the brine cool, then pour into the jar along with Baijiu to cover the duck eggs. Allow the duck eggs to pickle for 1 to 3 months.
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Storing Salted Duck Eggs
Once the duck eggs reach the desired taste, remove them from the brine to prevent them from becoming saltier. You can store pickled duck eggs in the following 2 ways.
- Boil the duck eggs and keep the shell on. Store the cooked duck eggs in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
- Wipe the raw salted duck eggs dry, and keep them in sealed plastic bags or containers to prevent loss of moisture. Store them in a cool dark place in the house for up to 6 months, or in the fridge for up to 1 year.
Can I Make Salted Chicken Eggs?
Yes. If you don’t have duck eggs on hand, try this pickling and preservation method with chicken eggs instead. Traditionally, people make this recipe with duck eggs.
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Chinese Salted Duck Eggs (Easy, Keto)
- Add salt, star anise, bay leaves, red Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, and water in a sauce pan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve the salt. Turn the heat down to medium, and then simmer for 3 minutes to extract the flavours from the spices.
- Let the salt and spice brine cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, clean the duck eggs and place them in a large glass jar with lid. Then, pour the brine including spices, over the eggs into the jar. Seal the jar with the lid.
- Allow the eggs to pickle in the brine for about 2 months. But you can adjust the duration to pickle for 1 to 3 months, depending on how salty you like the eggs to be. The eggs will float in the brine initially, and slowly sink to the bottom of the jar as they become saltier. To check the saltiness, boil 1 egg at about 1 month mark, then taste and estimate how much longer you may want to continue pickling. If you like salty foods, you may want to wait 2 months before tasting the eggs.
- Once the duck eggs reach desired saltiness, wipe them dry and then keep the raw salted duck eggs in sealed plastic bags or containers. Store in a cool dark place for up to 6 months, or in the fridge for up to 1 year.
- Place a batch of raw salted duck eggs in a sauce pan. Add water to cover the eggs. Bring the sauce pan to a boil, and then turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer the duck eggs covered for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the hot water immediately.
- If not eaten right away, store cooked salted duck eggs in the fridge for up to 3 weeks with the shell on.