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steamed egg

Steamed Egg with Crab and Mushrooms ไข่ตุ๋น (kai toon)

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For the Egg:

  • ¼ tsp white peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cilantro roots (or 6 stems), chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1¾ cup (420 ml) pork or chicken stock, unsalted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp soy sauce
  • Green onions, thinly sliced on a bias

Filling Option 1: Crab

  • 100 g crab meat (plus extra for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup julienned black fungus (see note)

Filling Option 2: Pork

  • 120 g ground pork
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • ¼ cup julienned black fungus (see note)
  • 1 Tbsp green onion, finely chopped

Note: Black fungus or cloud ear fungus is a type of mushroom that usually comes dried. You can get them at most Asian grocery stores. Before using, rehydrate them in water until completely softened: about 15 minutes in room temperature water, and 8 minutes in hot water. You can also substitute thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms or small diced carrots.

Ingredients and Kitchen Tools I Use


Preheat a large steamer over medium high heat.

For the egg custard: In a mortar and pestle, grind white peppercorns into a fine powder, then add garlic and cilantro roots and pound until fine. Add salt and sugar and grind until the paste is very fine. Add about ½ cup of stock and stir to mix well; set aside.

Beat the eggs gently with a fork, trying not to create air bubbles. Add soy sauce and the remaining stock and stir. Strain to remove unbeaten egg white bits. Pour the garlic-peppercorn-cilantro-roots mixture into the eggs and stir.

If using crab filling: Drizzle soy sauce over crab and toss gently to mix. Distribute mushrooms evenly to the bowls or cups you will use to steam the eggs, then top with the crab. Then ladle in the egg mixture, stirring before you ladle each time. Steam according to the instructions below.

If using pork filling: Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Distribute evenly into the bowls or cups you will use to steam the eggs. Steam for 4-5 minutes until the pork is cooked. Ladle in the egg mixture, stirring before you ladle each time, and steam according to the instructions below.

To Steam: Turn the steamer heat down to low so that the water is maintaining just a gentle simmer. Place the cups on the rack and close the lid, keeping it slightly ajar with a chopstick or a wooden spoon to allow excess heat to escape. Steam until the egg is done, this could take anywhere between 10-20 minutes depending on the size of your cups, the heat of the steamer and the temperature of the custard. The egg will be slightly puffed up when done. To test doneness, jiggle the cup and and the custard should jiggle slightly like jello, or insert a knife into the custard and the liquid that comes out should be clear. 

Garnish with green onions and extra crab meat (if using crab) or sautéed shimeji mushrooms. Traditionally we serve this with rice, but you can serve it on its own as an appetizer or as breakfast.

To reheat: Microwave or 40%-50% power in increments of 30 seconds. A safer but slower method is to cover the cups with foil and place in a simmering water bath so that the water comes up 3/4 of the height of the cups. Simmer for 7-10 minutes until the custard is hot. You can test the temperature of the custard using a thermometer (aim for about 135 degrees farenheit), or insert a knife into the custard for 10 seconds, pull it out and feel if the knife is hot. 

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