Thousand-year-old eggs

Yield: 12 servings

Measure Ingredient
2 cups Very strong black tea
⅓ cup Salt
2 cups Each ashes of pine wood,
\N \N Ashes of charcoal and ashes
\N \N From fireplace
1 cup Lime*
12 \N Fresh duck eggs

These are often called thousand-year eggs, even though the preserving process lasts only 100 days. They may be purchased individually in Oriental markets.

Combine tea, salt, ashes and lime. Using about ½ cup per egg, thickly coat each egg completely with this clay-like mix- ture. Line a large crock with garden soil and carefully lay coated eggs on top.

Cover with more soil and place crock in a cool dark place. Allow to cure for 100 days. 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 color.

To serve, cut into wedges and serve with: Sweet pickled scallions or any sweet pickled vegetable Sauce of 2 tablespoons each vinegar, soy sauce and rice wine and 1 tablespoon minced ginger root.

*Available in garden stores and nurseries.

The description of the whites turning grayish isn't quite accurate from the ones I've seen. They're more a dark blackish amber color-- quite attractive actually.

From "The Regional Cooking of China" by Margret Gin and Alfred E.

Castle, 101 Productions, San Francisco, 1975.

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