Monday, September 19, 2011

The Egg...xquisitely Egg...xtraordinary Egg

Red Salted Duck Egg

Red Salted Duck Egg (Itlog na Pula) is an edible egg dish made from duck eggs processed through meticulous curing method by packing each egg in a mixture of damp salted clay.

Red eggs sold in public market
In the Philippines, the municipality of Pateros owns distinction of being the capital in processing Salted Eggs, Balut and Penoy.

The salted clay mixture is prepared by mixing clay (usually from ant hills or termite mounds), table salt and water in the ratio of 1:1:2 until the texture of the mixture becomes smooth and forms a thick texture similar to cake batter.

The fresh duck eggs are individually dipped in the mixture, and packed in paper-lined wooden boxes. The batch is then lightly covered with papers to slow down the dehydration process.

The eggs are stored indoors at room temperature over the next 12 to 14 days to cure. This way the salt can equalize with the egg’s permeable membrane through a natural process called osmosis. Curing can last up to 18 days. The result of curing is a long-lasting egg that can have a shelf life of up to 40-days.

After the two-week curing period, the eggs are hand-cleaned with water and boiled in low heat for 30 minutes. Time is measured from the first moment the water boils and the immersion of the eggs. An improvised dipping lattice fashioned from fish net is use to enfold the eggs while immersed in the boiling vat. Similarly, through this means the eggs can be easily hauled from the vat after boiling time lapses. The vat is usually large to contain the batch and the amount of water must be proportionate enough to swathe the entire batch.

After the boiling process, the egg white becomes salty, the yolk turns orange, and the flavor is rich, fatty, but less salty.

Itlog Na Pula

Red Egg or Itlog Na Pula in Tagalog is distinctly dyed red to distinguish them from the fresh and raw duck eggs.

Based on nutritional studies abroad, one salted duck egg yolk weighing about 70 grams contains 359 milligram of cholesterol. The recommended daily intake for a healthy diet should be less than 300 milligram per day. If taken regularly, there will be a greater risk of elevating blood cholesterol level.

Century Egg

Century egg, also known as Hundred-year Egg, Thousand-year Egg, Thousand-year-old Egg, or Millennium Egg, is a preserved egg dish. It originated from China and was always part of Chinese cuisine ingredient.

Century egg is made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing.

A good recipe for creating century eggs starts with the infusion of tea in boiling water, addition of quicklime, sea salt, and wood ash is mixed to form into a smooth paste.

Coated with Caustic Mixture

Each egg is individually covered with the smooth paste by hand and then rolled in a mass of rice hulls to keep the eggs from sticking to one another. The eggs are placed in cloth-covered jars or tightly woven baskets. The mud dries and hardens into a crust over several months.

The yolk is transformed to a dark green to grey color, with a creamy consistency and a pungent odor, while the white becomes dark brown, translucent jelly with little flavor. During the curing process, the alkaline substance of the egg becomes the transforming agent which gradually increases the pH level of the egg.

Century eggs can be eaten without further preparation, on their own or as a side dish. Some Philippine households cut them up into small chunks and cook them with rice porridge.

A sliced-up Century Egg

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