A lot has changed since my last post in Feb 2016. Although I no longer have time to spend on complex recipes, the current COVID-19 pandemic has created a renewed focus on cooking at home. Going forward, I’ll be posting recipes with a high deliciousness/effort ratio. Jook is an excuse to make soy sauce eggs.
Soy Sauce Eggs
There are many recipes for soy sauce eggs/ajitsuke tamago available online. This one is from Milk Bar Life, adapted from Momofuku Noodle Bar.
- 6 tablespoons warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 6 large eggs
- Whisk together the water and sugar in a medium bowl to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the sherry vinegar and soy sauce.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully put the eggs into the boiling water and cook for exactly 6 minutes and 50 seconds, stirring slowly fir the first 1.5 minutes to distribute the heat evenly. Use a timer! Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. When the timer rings, transfer the eggs to the ice bath.
- Once they are cool, peel the eggs (in the ice water – this helps to ensure a porcelain-like exterior). Transfer the peeled eggs to tthe soy sauce mixture and marinate in the fridge for at least 2, or up to 6, hours, making sure they are completely submerged; if necessary top the eggs with a small plate to ensure submersion
- Remove the eggs from the sweet-and-salty solution (you can save this for another go next week). The eggs will keep in the fridge for up to a month.
- To serve, cut the eggs lengthwise and season with salt and pepper.
- I substituted rice wine vinegar for the sherry vinegar.
- I skipped mixing the water, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a bowl and put them all in a gallon zip lock bag. Shake the bag to dissolve the sugar.
- I had extra-large eggs so I boiled them for a little longer (7 minutes and 30 seconds). Boil them in simmering water (not a roiling boil).
- Ice water isn’t necessary. Cold tap water is sufficient to cold shock the eggs and stop the cooking process.
- Marinating the eggs in a zip-lock bag reduces the amount of liquid needed to cover them (unlike other recipes you find online, you won’t need to use a towel to cover them). I made 12 eggs with the same amount of liquid and easily could have made more. Use the sous-vide trick to ensure submersion – slowly lower the bag into a pot of water to remove all of the air from the bag (shown in the picture below). All of the eggs will now be fully covered.
- Don’t marinate longer than overnight. I made these at 10PM and left them in the refrigerator overnight. They were perfect at 8AM for breakfast. I continued to let them marinate in the bag until dinner, by which time they were too salty. This recipe uses more soy sauce than other recipes you might find, so don’t overmarinate.
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1.5 inches fresh ginger
- 3 shiitake mushrooms
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 7 cups water
- 3 green onions (chopped)
- 1/4 bunch cilantro (chopped)
- Roasted peanuts
- Oyster sauce
- Toasted sesame oil
- Soy sauce egg (halved lengthwise)
- Peel and slice the ginger. Peel and crush the garlic. Slice the mushrooms into thin strips.
- Layer the ingredients in a pressure cooker in the following order:
- Ginger, garlic, mushrooms
- Bring the pressure cooker up to pressure. Cook for 30 minutes after pressure has been reached. After 30 minutes, remove from heat and let the pressure reduce naturally.
- Remove the chicken from pot. Shred the chicken and return it to the pot.
- Ladle the jook into a bowl. Top with green onions, cilantro, peanuts, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and a soy sauce egg.
- Use a pressure cooker to make the jook. I have a Kuhn Rikon 7.4 qt pressure cooker, so bringing it up to pressure means the second red line. Jook will cook faster in a pressure cooker and it’s less work because you don’t need to stir it.
- You’d normally top the jook with raw green onions and cilantro. However, since we’re in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I don’t trust any raw food that others could have touched at the grocery store. I put the green onions and cilantro into the pressure cooker with the ginger/garlic/mushrooms. The green onion and cilantro weren’t as vibrant, but it’s worth the safety trade-off.
- Growing up, I always had oyster sauce with my mom’s jook. If you buy Lee Kum Kee brand, buy the premium oyster sauce instead of the panda label. The premium oyster sauce has oyster extractives as the first ingredient, whereas the panda label has oyster extractives as the fourth ingredient.
- I don’t think it’s necessary to add additional salt. There’s already plenty of salt from the soy sauce egg, the oyster sauce, and the peanuts.
- The soy sauce eggs make the jook more luxurious.