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DIY Salted Duck Egg Recipe + Golden Sand Corn: Zoe Yang

Author: Zoe Yang

Ingredients

Salted Duck Eggs

  • 1 dozen duck eggs
  • baijiu or vodka
  • 5 cups water
  • cups kosher salt

Golden Sand Corn

  • 3 cups neutral oil, for deep frying
  • 2 tablespoons sweet potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup cooked, drained corn kernels (equivalent to 1 large cob)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, for stir-frying
  • 3 cooked, mashed, salted duck egg yolks (see note about cooking)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon chicken bouillon powder or MSG optional

Instructions

Salted Duck Eggs

  • Wash and dry duck eggs, then roll duck eggs in a bowl of clear, high-ABV (>50% ABV) spirit like baijiu or vodka (I used Mei Gui Lu, which you can buy in some Chinese grocery stores. Shaoxing and other low-alcohol Chinese cooking wines are NOT an appropriate substitute).
  • Nestle eggs carefully in brining vessel.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then dissolve 1½ cups of kosher salt in the water. Let cool and pour over the duck eggs. The brine should be extremely salty, even a bit bitter, and should completely cover the eggs. Seal jar and store in a cool place out of the sun. If you are using a Chinese pickle jar, you'll need to make sure the moat is always full of water, so check it every week or so.
  • After a month, eggs can be moved out of the brine and stored in the fridge. Pro tip: Hang on to the cartons when you begin your brine so that you can put the eggs back in the cartons for long-term storage.

Golden Sand Corn

  • Bring 3 cups oil to 350 degrees frying temperature—I like the large surface area a wok provides.
    As the oil heats up, sift the sweet potato starch with the cornstarch in a shallow dish, then add the cooked corn kernels. Coat the kernels evenly with the starch mixture.
  • When oil comes to temperature, add corn kernels—the corn should float and bubble vigorously. Fry 3 minutes, turning the corn kernels gently but constantly, using a slotted spoon or strainer.
    When kernels are golden brown, strain from the oil and deposit on a paper-towel lined plate. 
  • In a clean wok or a pan, add 3 tablespoons of clean oil and turn heat to low. Add the mashed salted yolks and stir rapidly with a spatula to dissolve the yolks evenly into the oil. The yolk sauce should foam voluptuously.
  • Add corn kernels to pan, then quickly add salt, sugar and chicken bouillon or MSG. Toss vigorously for a minute to coat the kernels with the sauce, keeping the heat low, then taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
    Remove the pan from heat if you need more time to season—the sauce will lose its color if cooked for too long. Serve and eat immediately! 

Notes

The Mala Market’s ceramic pickle jar holds two dozen eggs comfortably, so just double the recipe if using that jar. Its shoulders help keep the eggs submerged. Otherwise, you may need to use a weight to keep eggs below the waterline, which is important for preventing spoilage.
Some helpful weight ratios for adjusting quantity, no matter how many eggs or what kind of brining vessel you use:
  • 1:1 eggs to brine
  • 1:5 salt to water
Even though this process is a cure and not a ferment, temperature does have an effect on the osmotic processes that transform the egg. The egg is ready when all the water has slowly been drawn out of the yolk and the sodium it has absorbed has caused it to extrude oil. In warm temperatures (above 75F), check the eggs after 3 weeks. If you shake one gently and can hear a solid yolk bumping around, that means it’s ready. In the wintertime (or a cold pantry or basement), it may take up to 40 days.
Golden Sand Sauce: Don’t be tempted to skimp on oil. Without enough oil, the yolks have nothing to dissolve into, and you won’t have enough sauce to properly coat your ingredients.
A final tip: this dish is about eating with your eyes. Don’t be tempted to splash golden sand sauce with Shaoxing or soy, which both ruin the hue. Keep the flame low and cooking time short for the same reason.