Our friends at Wikipedia tell us that Century egg or pidan, also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, thousand-year-old egg, and millennium egg, is a Chinese preserved food product and delicacy made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing.
They may be purchased individually in Oriental markets.
Hundred Year Old Egg
- 3 – 4 cups black tea brewed very strong + strained tea leaves
- 2/3 cup sea salt
- 3 cups wood ash
- 3 cups charcoal ash
- 1 ¾ cups Lime*
- 12 fresh duck eggs
- 2-3 pounds rice chaff
- garden soil to fill crock
- Latex gloves
- Brew the tea. Use at least a cup of loose tea leaves for 8 cups of water. Let the tea sit for at least an hour to get really strong.
- In a large, non-reactive vessel (like a plastic painter’s bucket or other very large and deep bowl) put the salt, ashes and lime into the bowl. When the tea is done, add about 3 cups and stir well. Then strain the tea, preserving both the liquid and the solids and add the spent tea leaves to the mud mixture. If necessary, add more brewed tea until the mud is a thick, but not watery solution.
- (Put on latex or other protective gloves. The mud is caustic and will cause skin discomfort.)
- Place the first batch of eggs into the mud and coat them well. Allow to sit in mud for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Fill a large, deep bowl with the rice chaff.
- After the eggs have rested in the mud, take them up one at a time and make sure they are completely coated.
- When the coating is more or less uniform, place the egg in the chaff. Take handfuls of chaff and cover the egg with it completely. Pick up the egg and put chaff on the reverse side if needed. Then lightly compress the egg in your hand to try to get the chaff to bond with the mud. Remember the egg is raw, don’t squeeze too hard. When the chaff fully coats the egg set on a plate and move onto the next egg.
- Line a large crock with garden soil (Use soil from outside, not potting soil to fill the crock to get some natural microorganisms in the mix. If you have a choice of soils around your yard, use one with a high clay content.) and carefully lay coated eggs on top. Cover eggs completely with more soil.
- Place the crock in an out-of-the-way place outside. (The crock can be placed in the garden as a decoration while going through the process.)
- Water is crucial to the process and the crock needs to be open to the rain to get wet and dry in cycles.
- The reaction that causes the preservation proceeds more rapidly in warmer weather than in colder weather, so wait the full 100 days before checking on the eggs.
- To remove coating, scrape eggs and rinse under running water to clean thoroughly.
- Crack lightly and remove shells. The white of the egg will appear a grayish, translucent color and have a gelatinous texture. The yolk, when sliced, will be a grayish-green to dark blackish amber color.
Makes 12 servings
*Lime is available in garden stores and nurseries.