There are just some dishes that are so evocative of childhood. Growing up, whenever I was sick, I was fed Chinese rice porridge either on its own or in combination with simple, easily digestible dishes like steamed egg. I’ve always loved the warm silky texture of the egg and the feeling of a warm, full belly was always comforting!
On an aside, I remember as a teenager we lived in a household that inherited 2 “majie”, elderly domestic helpers from China who wore black and white samfoo, and spoke only Cantonese and a smattering of English. My family, on the other hand, spoke English and Hokkien and we were forever like chickens and ducks talking at cross purposes. There was a day I was sick and these dear old ladies asked me what I wanted to eat – so I asked for “porridge”, my usual go to food for an invalid. To my horror, my lunch was a large bowl of oatmeal porridge…which I couldn’t eat because I had an aversion for taking anything with large amounts of milk and anyway I wasn’t fond of oatmeal! The majies’ previous employers were British and I suppose porridge was never rice porridge that is a local staple but breakfast oatmeal porridge. Anyway they were such dear things and always tried so hard despite the communication gap. Eventually, they went back to China and I do hope they ended their days in comfort – the lives of these majies were tough and many had lost connection with their families back home.
So back to steamed egg. There is nothing more comforting than a mouthful of silky steamed egg – most Chinese homes will have a version of this egg, and if I’m buying food from a Chinese cooked food stall, I will often choose this dish as well. Of course, at home we do put more goodies in the steamed egg. Marinated minced pork goes really well and if I have century egg or salted duck egg I will often add this in too.
Recently I made this again when I was sick…yes I was the last person (besides my 84 year old dad who escaped) who caught Covid-19. The infection, thankfully, was mild, but for a few days I didn’t have a great appetite and felt rather sorry for myself and in need of some comfort food. Helper D is a great cook but her version of invalid food is piping hot curry and fried food 😛. So luckily I wasn’t incapacitated and could still potter around in the kitchen and make some meals that were kinder to my body. I ended up making cauliflower rice porridge with this steamed egg and minced meat dish, and we had some condiments we usually add to porridge such as salted eggs, fermented bean curd, pickled lettuce, pickled bamboo, braised peanuts and canned dace with black beans.
So that meal made me feel really well fed and happy and sent me straight into food coma and another long nap that marked my recovery from Covid. I think the rest of the family loved it anyway. Ah well – we all have Chinese tummies and we love Chinese comfort home cooking!
Steamed Egg With Minced Pork
- 200g minced pork
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp Chinese cooking wine
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 5 large eggs
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp chopped spring onions
- Marinate the pork with the soy sauce, sesame oil, chinese wine and ground pepper for 10-20 minutes in the fridge.
- Beat the eggs, fish sauce and water together very gently. Pass the mixture through a sieve.
- In a deep steaming dish or casserole, put the minced meat and spread it out, separating the meat lightly with a fork so that the meat is in small clumps.
- Pour the egg mixture over the meat. Burst any bubbles that have formed or scoop the bubbles out so that the surface of the eggs is smooth. Cover the dish with cling wrap so that condensed water does not fall on the eggs.
- Steam the covered dish in a wok for 25-30 minutes. Check that the center of the eggs is cooked – it should be just a little wobbly.
- Top with the soy sauce mixture and spring onions and serve hot.