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Marbled Red Vinasse Eggs 紅糟蛋

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Chinese New Year is in less than 2 weeks! Have you done your new year shopping? Any ideas on what to cook for reunion dinner? Finished with your CNY cookie baking yet? I have not. I don't think I'll be doing any cookie baking this year since I should be studying for my viva. But to get into the CNY spirit, I thought I'd post something festive and maybe give you some ideas on what to cook for CNY.

Marbled Red Vinasse Eggs 紅糟蛋

I got this idea from Chinese tea egg or marbled egg (茶叶蛋). It is an extremely popular Chinese snack and is commonly sold in shopping malls in Malaysia. The eggs are usually kept in an electric rice cooker which keeps the eggs warm throughout the day. Chinese tea egg is traditionally prepared by simmering hard boiled eggs in spices, soy sauce, and black tea leaves and is apparently a popular dish during the CNY season as egg symbolises fertility.

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The beautiful marbling effect is achieved by cracking the shells of the hard boiled eggs then simmering them in a "coloured" liquid. Since red symbolises prosperity and is considered an auspicious colour, I cooked the eggs in a red liquid made from Fuzhou red wine lees or red vinasse (hong zhao, 紅糟). Red wine lees is obtained from the fermentation of Fuzhou red wine and glutinous rice. A very detailed explanation of Fuzhou red wine and wine lees can be found here. To be honest, I'm not sure where you can get this ingredient, my mum got hers from a hawker which specialises in Fuzhou (福州) cuisine in KL, Malaysia. They used to charge her a few dollars but now she gets it for free.

Marbled Red Vinasse Eggs 紅糟蛋 4

Gorgeous aren't they? The best thing is, they are all unique. So don't be too gentle with the eggs, make sure the cracks are pretty deep, as that is how the "coloured" liquid seep into the cracks colouring and marinating the eggs inside their shells.

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I would suggest cooking a bigger batch at once since it involves simmering for a few hours. You can keep the eggs submerged in the simmering liquid after it is cooled. Remember the longer the eggs steep the more intense the flavour!

Marbled Red Vinasse Eggs 紅糟蛋

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hrs

  • 1/2 tbs sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 4 tbs red wine lees
  • 2 1/2 tbs light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rock sugar
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 6 eggs
  • Place all the eggs into a pot. Pour in enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to boil on high heat. Boil for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Cool the eggs by rinsing them under running cold water.
  • Crack the shell of hard boiled eggs. Hit the eggs against a surface or you can use a spoon and tap the eggshell to crack the shell all over. Don't be too gentle. Make sure those cracks are pretty deep, as that is how the "coloured" liquid will seep into the eggs.
  • Heat up sesame oil in a pot (just enough to fit 6 eggs), add garlic and ginger, saute until fragrant.
  • Add red wine lees, fry until fragrant.
  • Pour in Shaoxing wine, water, light soy sauce and rock sugar. Bring to boil.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add in hard boiled eggs. The eggs should be fully submerged. Lower heat to simmer for at least 2 hrs. Top up with more water when necessary.
  • For best results, leave to cool after simmering then leave the eggs to steep in the liquid overnight in the fridge. For storage, transfer them into a glass or ceramic jar, cover and refrigerate. Once cooked, the eggs can be kept in the fridge for 10 days, but best within 3 days.
Marbled Red Vinasse Eggs 紅糟蛋 2

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