Vietnamese Steamed Eggs (Trứng Hấp)

Wow, I actually found the correct Vietnamese spelling in Word, way down on the bottom of the “symbols” list.

This is one of my favorite foods to eat of all time,and it’s turning out to be Michelle’s too. My Grandma used to make this a lot when I was just a tod, so lots of fond memories here. Plus, it’s VERY tasty, even if the name sounds a little bland. You’ll be surprised how much of this stuff you’ll gobble up and still want more. I can’t remember who asked me for this recipe, (and I apologize for how long it’s taken me to post this), but here it is. As with most Vietnamese cooking, you’ll spend the most time prepping — the cooking itself is rather simple. Altogether, including cooking time, I’d say it took about an hour. You can, of course, prepare the ingredients ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to cook. Since I usually like to make extra for lunches the next day, this recipe is probably twice the amount you’d want for a dinner, so adjust accordingly.

Also, with the regards to the “steaming” aspect. I pour the egg mixture into a big deep round Pyrex baking dish (sprayed with a light film of olive oil beforehand). The baking dish I have comes with a lid — I don’t think you’ll need it, however, but use a lid if you have one. Then I put the baking dish inside a big pot and fill it with water halfway up the baking dish. You can also do the same with a double boiler.

12 eggs
1/2 pound of ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped finely (or about 3 large shallots)
3 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 oz. bean thread noodles, soaked, chopped to about 1″ pieces
1 C. chopped shitake mushrooms
1 C. chopped wood ear
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 C. cilantro, chopped finely
Black pepper

Mix everything up well in a bowl and pour into a greased baking dish. I use olive oil spray. “Steam”, as described above, for about a half an hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Serve with rice and some sort of veggies — broccoli and grean beans are great. Dash with some soy sauce and sprinkle with some chili flakes and you’re in for a treat!

This recipe is very forgiving, so don’t be afraid to experiment. I’ve added dried shrimp or crab meat and it had turned out great! If you don’t like cilantro, try flat parsley. Or dill. Or chives. It’ll turn out awesome no matter what…

Another equally tasty, and probably faster, method is to cook this same mixture in a frying pan. You’ll need to adjust the amount so that it’s not too thick — probably no more than an inch or so. And you’ll need to flip it over, once one side has formed a slight brown “crust” to it. The flipping is what stops me from the fry method, since the last time I tried this, I got it all over the stove. I suppose if you use a plate….

Oh, I almost forgot to mention this, but some folks will add a layer of beaten egg yolks on top of the mixture (towards the end of the steaming period) to get that deep yellow/golden layer on top. While it’s prettier to look at, I don’t find it necessarily adds anything to the flavor of the dish. But it is the traditional style, and if you want to stick to tradition, try it out…

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4 thoughts on “Vietnamese Steamed Eggs (Trứng Hấp)

  1. The pork is raw ground pork. Everything in this dish starts out raw. They steam perfectly and delicately together, and the fish sauce gives it a nice subtle flavoring.

    “Steaming” is essentially double-boiling in this case. You just want to put the baking dish inside a bigger pot. Fill it halfway with water (which is why I prefer to use the lid on the baking dish so you don’t get boiling water splashing over it). I cover the big pot as well. Bring the water to a slow boil. You should see a little steam coming out of the big pot lid, but not too much. A half an hour of this is usually enough to cook the eggs all the way through.

    If you do decide to pan fry, then the thickness of the “omelette” will determine your cooking temperature, since you want the pork to cook all the way through but not burn the eggs. It’s a little trickier to gauge the temp, but I would suggest a medium flame. And use a lid on your frying pan to “steam” the top of the eggs.

  2. What’s wood ear? Where do I buy it from? In what section/aisle of the store? What’s it called in Vietnamese just incase an English speaking person has no knowledge of what I’m asking for in the store? I can ask a Vietnamese person instead.

  3. Hi Judy,

    Wood ear is also known in a few markets as “tree ear”, “tree lichen”, “tree lichen”, “cloud fungus”, “cloud ear”, “cloud fungus”, “black fungus”, “black chinese fungus” — I’m sure you get the idea. It really depends on where you are. They range in color from dark tan/brown to black. In Vietnamese, they are called “mọc nhĩ” or “tai mèo”, the last one literally “cat ear”.

    Fresh wood ear is usually harder to find, but I would look near the mushroom section. If you do find some, you must refrigerate it and consume within a few days. They go bad quickly, even in the fridge. But, they’re great in all sort of dishes, mostly asian stir-fry, etc., so you can use them up pretty quickly.

    Otherwise, you can get them dry very easily in most Asian markets. Even a few American markets have them, since they are becoming more popular, although I guarantee you’ll pay at least three times the amount. Dried wood ear comes in whole, or shredded. You’ll want to rinse them off and soak them in warm water for about 5 minutes. (They expand to, like, 10 times the dry size. Just so you know.) Sometimes there’s a tougher core that you’ll want to remove, but otherwise it’s quite soft and slice/tear easily.

    I did a quick google search for images, and here’s a good sampling of both fresh and dried:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=wood+ear&hl=en&rlz=1W1WZPG_en&biw=1181&bih=612&prmd=ivnse&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=0u0NTq7tKqLhiAKrp-WBDg&ved=0CEYQsAQ

    Happy cooking, and I’m glad you’re trying something new!

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