The origin: China
Thousand-year-old eggs make a special dish in most parts of China. They make it by covering the raw duck eggs in a special mixture made of ash, clay, straw, quicklime and salt. The eggs are left to stay for some weeks or months and allowed to cure. The yolk of these eggs picks up a deep-green color and gets a soft texture. The white degenerates and turns to a transparent jelly like substance. These eggs are served with pork or silken tofu, ginger and scallions. Along with rice porridge, they are known as congee. Sometimes, they are also served a part of cold finger foods.
The wacky tinge
Believe it or not, the thousand year old duck eggs are actually just about 100 days old. The common dish is also known as pidan. The flavor and texture of the dish has been portrayed in a number of ways. According to the Global Gourmet column, the resulting eggs have a smooth and creamy texture similar to avocado. The yolk is greenish in color and the white has the hues of various colors like yellow, green and blue, etc. Its flavor is pungent, rich and cheese-like. The eggs are usually served by cutting in wedge shapes along with vinegar sauce, pickled vegetables, rice wine, soy sauce or minced ginger.
Some people even believed that the wacky tinge of the dish was due to the eggs being cured with horse urine! However, this is only a myth and the taste depends on the kind of ingredients used in the mix for coating and preserving the eggs. According to many people, the variations in the taste of the century eggs are due to the type of clay used in the respective regions. Sometimes, tea leaves are also added for enhancing the taste. Another thing to be aware of is the addition of lead oxide. It is added for enhancing the curing process. So always look for boxes that are labeled as ‘lead free.’
The thousand year old eggs are cured in a special way to get the tangy and unique flavor. Various ingredients are used for making the special pack with which the eggs are coated and left for curing. The ingredients used are very strong black tea, salt, ashes of pine wood, charcoal lime, fireplace ashes and fresh duck eggs.
The procedure for making the thousand-year-old eggs is very simple. But you may have to wait at least for a 100 days to savor the super dish. All the above mentioned ingredients and blended well. Use at least 1/2 cup of the mix for covering one egg. Use the mix to coat the eggs thickly. Use a large garden crock with soil and place the coated eggs on top of it carefully. Cover the eggs with the garden soil and keep the croc in a dark and cool place. The curing will take at least 100 days. In order to remove the coating, use a scraper. Rinse the scrapped eggs well under running water. Slightly crack on the shell and remove it completely. The white part of the eggs appears slightly grayish in color. It looks translucent and has gelatinous texture. When you slice the yolk it is grayish-green in color. Cut into wedges and serve them.
People who are familiar with the Chinese cuisine may try to savor the thousand year-old eggs. The eggs are coated in a special mix and left for about hundred days to cure. The resulting eggs have a grayish-green tinge and tastes like cheese. The eggs can be eaten alone or with sauce or hot congee. Since a lot of chemical changes take place during the process, the nutrients also undergo some kind of change. There is no specific health benefits associated with this special dish.