Recipe : 3-kings egg (steam, silky eggs)

If there is one thing that I have never successfully cooked, it is the ubiquitous steam eggs. The Japanese has their chawan mushi. Meanwhile, the Chinese has their ‘sui chee tan’ or very smooth, silky steam eggs.

This is the raw eggs waiting to be popped into the steamer. The cooked version should look as good as this but mine ALWAYS came out looking like some pimple teenager’s face or old woman’s face. Or both. Hrrmmppp….

My recipe today is call 3-kings eggs or samwongtan. It is actually a Cantonese dish as most other dialects will just steam their eggs plain, with minced pork or small whitebaits.

I cut one salted duck egg (the orangey thing), one century duck’s egg and put it in the plate I am supposed to use to steam. Use a wide plate so that your eggs cook faster and more consistently.

In another bowl, I beat 2 chicken eggs and flavoured it with a few drops of sesame oil, pepper and a few drops of vinegar. I am not sure why vinegar is needed but I watched it over on one of the cook show from Hongkong. Then, to make the smoothest, silkiest and softest eggs, add equal quantity of water. Use your judgement to add the same amount of water as the liquid quantity of your eggs.

Then, use a siever and pour the beaten eggs over the black and orange eggs. This will remove all the air bubbles.

The trickiest part is to maintain the right temperature and timing. The water meant for steaming has to be bubbling and hot when you put in the eggs. Keep checking and remove from fire as soon as the whole plate is cooked. But heh, it is easier said than done.

Despite my effort, I still got the eggs overcooked. After the eggs are cooked, usually I pour a teaspoon of oil on the surface for the extra sheen. Sprinkle some spring onions or I use Chinese parsley in above.

If anyone got tips how to make the kind of steam eggs like those sold in restaurants, please tell. If you are looking for the best-est samwongtan, go to Teik Seng.

Post Author: lilian

Used to be PenangFaces, now known as Food Haven, for all oink-oink foods

20 thoughts on “Recipe : 3-kings egg (steam, silky eggs)


    (October 27, 2006 - 10:32 am)

    Hi, my aunt once made steamed egg for us that was smooth and silky and i asked her how she did it. she said she steamed it on low heat for a longer time. i think that’s the trick – low heat so that it doesn’t overcook.
    btw, i love your food blogs 🙂


    (October 27, 2006 - 12:07 pm)

    Just like what mc said, my wife also mentioned that only low heat is used.


    (October 27, 2006 - 1:48 pm)

    Aunty, a chef once told me not to put pepper when beating the eggs. Not smooth when steamed. Thats what he says lar. Sometimes the easiest looking dishes are the most difficult to cook.


    (October 27, 2006 - 5:21 pm)

    My mom’s trick is to mix hot water into the beaen egg. And cook over slow fire.


    (October 27, 2006 - 5:52 pm)

    shooi – That’s a good idea. ‘Cos usually my eggs overcooked outside and the inner part still watery. I will give it a try and see.

    terence – Ya hor, those pepper make my egg ‘moh peng’ (pimply).

    mc and pablopabla – LOL, looks like that’s the only part I did wrong. I usually put it above my rice cooker steamer and I waited until it is real hot before doing it. No wonder, they curdled. Next time I am going to try all these tips using a normal wok to steam over low fire.

    Thanks all!


    (October 28, 2006 - 2:34 pm)

    My mother-in-law says that you should put in the eggs together with the water for steaming. Not when the water is bubbling and hot. When the water is bubbling and hot, that is also when your egg is cooked liao! Give it a try!


    (October 28, 2006 - 8:19 pm)

    put on top of the rice when is boiling and when the rick cooker switch to warm…the egg will be ready 🙂


    (November 2, 2006 - 9:47 am)

    just put in the rice cooker when the rice is cooked…the egg will cooked perfectly after few minutes only. 🙂


    (November 24, 2006 - 11:03 pm)

    hello, im Teik Seng Rice Stall’s owner’s daughter, may I know who’s on the line there? ^^


    (November 27, 2006 - 1:35 am)

    ChinShin – The next time I eat at Teik Seng, I tell you who I am ok? Your dad is the one doing the billing, right?

    […] or three-kings-eggs, I decided to give it one more go. A lot of readers in my other food blog, Food Haven had given me useful tips on how to achieve that […]


    (July 21, 2007 - 9:50 pm)

    Will be visiting Penang soon. Anyone with recommendations as to where to find all the good food that I hear everyone speaks about? Where is this teik seng place?

    […] Kedai Makanan Teik Seng is my regular stop for dinner and lunch. It is located next to Hup Loong, I think it is Leboh Carnavon, turn in from Chulia Street. […]

    Diana Seah

    (October 25, 2007 - 2:40 pm)

    Hi Lilian,
    Just returned from a visit to Penang and tried all your recommendations at Teik Seng – they were all excellent! Also tried their gulai ikan which was very good too! Thanks for all your tips…love your blog!


    (November 2, 2007 - 10:31 am)

    hi Lilian,
    nice to meet you here.
    im one of Teik Seng Rice Stall’s fans as well…
    i like their cooking. if you want any further infomation or even publishing Teik Seng Rice Stall. i can provide some informations for you.

    fans from UK.


    (November 16, 2007 - 6:12 pm)

    Pls. tell me where are the nice places to eat in Penang as I am going there during the school hols. Thanking you in anticipation


    (January 5, 2009 - 1:43 pm)

    my steam eggs comes out smooth and silky.
    The trick i learn from a friend is….
    1 egg to 1 1/2 water ratio. you can use any amount of egg as you like (egg must be at room temperature) Add seasoning and then sift the egg into the container you are using to steam the egg. Place the egg mixture into the steamer with water boiling rapidly. Steam for 8 minutes and turn off the fire and leave the egg for another 12 minutes. then remove from steamer.


    (January 28, 2009 - 2:03 pm)

    I have had great success, putting in the eggs in NOT boiling water. after the water boils I turn down the heat and leave the lid a little open. Steam it for another perhaps 8 minutes and check on it every other minute.


    (July 30, 2009 - 1:49 am)

    There are a few tips i learned yesterday i thought i can share with u all..

    Firstly, don’t beat the eggs.. stir slowly until well mixed. After that, add in the water and season as u like.
    Secondly, water amount should be 1.5X amount of the eggs to make smooth silky eggs.
    Thirdly, cover the top of your plate with cling wrap paper before steaming.
    Fourthly, wait till the water is bubbling, put in the eggs, then turn down to low heat. Steam for 10 minutes. Do not over cook.

    Voila~ Smooth, soft, silky fragrant eggs. Season with sesame oil and soy sauce or watever u like.. XD

    Llwewllyn Andrews

    (March 19, 2010 - 7:00 pm)

    This looks delicious. I have tried several cantonese dish. I often go to a cantonese dish in my country and I noticed that artistic presentation of the food and garnishing are veryimportant in Cantonese cuisine…

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