Home-style Pork and Egg Custard Loaf

Pork and egg custard was true comfort food in my family. My mother would make it often because it was cheap, easy and frankly delicious. It required just a small amount of meat, which she could easily stretch with the eggs. The result was a silky, tender, savoury custard, which I still love today. I am not sure most non-Chinese would appreciate the soft texture of the eggs, which are barely set. Perhaps the mushiness of the dish is what makes it comfort food. The trick is to steam the custard gently so that the eggs do not toughen. My mother used an old aluminium pot because our wok was not big enough. A small rack transformed it into an efficient steamer. Unlike the Steamed Savoury Custard, this recipe includes pork.

Ingredients

  • 115 g (4 oz) minced pork
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil, plus extra to coat bowl

For the Custard

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 350 ml (12 fl oz) Chinese Chicken Stock or store-bought fresh stock
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Garnish

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions, white part only
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Method

Mix the pork with the soy sauce, rice wine, salt, pepper, sesame oil and cornflour. Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, dump in the pork and stir-fry it for 2 minutes, breaking up the meat until it loses its raw look. Drain the meat in a colander set in a bowl, and discard the excess fat and oil. Mix the custard ingredients in another bowl and stir in the cooked pork. Lightly oil a heatproof shallow bowl and pour in the custard mixture.

Next set up a steamer, or put a rack into a wok or deep pan, and fill it with 5 cm (2 in) of water. Bring the water to the boil over a high heat. Carefully lower the bowl with the custard into the steamer or onto the rack. Turn the heat to low and cover the wok or pan tightly. Steam gently for 10 minutes, or until the custard has barely set. Remove the custard and sprinkle with the spring onions. Heat the groundnut oil in a small pan until it begins to smoke, then pour this over the custard. Drizzle on the oyster sauce and serve at once.

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