Tofu with Century Egg Salad (皮蛋豆腐)

A childhood favorite and a popular diner food, the tofu with century egg salad requires just five ingredients and takes five minutes to make. Experiment with this new ingredient if you’re interested in discovering what people eat in China. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Century egg with tofu salad garnished with green onions

There are certain types of dishes that make you feel at home, no matter where you are. This cold tofu with century egg belongs to that genre. It’s a childhood treat that I enjoyed so much growing up. The dish takes just five minutes to prepare and no cooking is required. It’s so simple, refreshing, and savory – a great example of traditional home-cooked Chinese food.

What is century egg?

You might be stunned by its weird appearance the first time you see a century egg. The century egg also has a nickname – thousand-year egg. They are duck eggs preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several months.

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During the curing process, the yolk turns from yellow to greyish dark green with a creamy consistency. The white of the egg becomes a dark brown translucent jelly with a salty taste. Some eggs will form pine-branch-like patterns on the surface, from which comes the Chinese name “pine flower egg” by direct translation.

The eggs have a strong savory umami that’s difficult to describe. I think it might be proper to compare it to cheese, which also has that aged taste. It might smell a bit stinky at first but it leaves a satisfying silky mouthfeel and rich savory aftertaste.

In Chinese cooking, we use it to make century egg congee or to add umami to a dish (like topping your pasta with extra shaved parmesan). We also serve the sliced century egg with some grated ginger and soy sauce just to enjoy by itself. Or we add other cold ingredients such as tofu or pickled pepper to fix a quick appetizer.

Sliced century eggs (thousand year egg)

Where to buy century eggs and how to store them

You can find century eggs in an Asian market or on Amazon (so surprised these days you can find anything on Amazon!). They usually come in a box and each egg comes in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag.

Century eggs usually do not require refrigeration. But most of the time I see them displayed in the refrigerated section of the Asian markets in the US. I think the stores do this to keep the eggs fresh, since they might sit on the shelf for a long time. I also store them on the bottom shelf of the fridge, just to make sure they stay fresh.

When you buy century eggs, you might come across the type shown in my pictures here. These eggs have a creamy solid dark green yolk. There’s another type of century eggs that have runny yolks that are between yellow and dark green. Personally, I love the runny yolks more. So when I find a brand that has the runny yolks, I usually stick with it (just not this time, though!).

Whole century eggs (thousand year egg) in package

Afterthought

I totally understand if century eggs are too weird for your tastes. You might not like them upon first try. But if you’re into preserved foods and want to understand traditional Chinese cooking, I encourage you to check them out.

Century egg with tofu salad

More home style Chinese recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Tofu with Century Egg Salad (皮蛋豆腐)
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
A childhood favorite and a popular diner food, the tofu with century egg salad requires just five ingredients and takes five minutes to make. Experiment with this new ingredient if you’re interested in discovering what people eat in China. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

To make the dish gluten-free, use tamari or coconut aminos to replace the soy sauce.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: home style
Servings: 4
Calories: 114 kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu
Ingredients
  • 1 block (16 oz / 450 g) soft tofu , cubed
  • 2 century eggs , cubed
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 green onion , thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Add tofu into a big bowl. Top with eggs. Drizzle light soy sauce and sesame oil on top. Garnish with green onion.
  2. Serve cold as an appetizer. To enjoy the dish, use a spoon to get a mixture of everything. You can also drizzle more soy sauce or sprinkle some salt to adjust seasoning as needed.
Nutrition Facts
Tofu with Century Egg Salad (皮蛋豆腐)
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 114 Calories from Fat 68
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7.5g 12%
Saturated Fat 1.4g 7%
Cholesterol 82mg 27%
Sodium 266mg 11%
Potassium 185mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 2.8g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0.4g 2%
Sugars 1.1g
Protein 10.5g 21%
Calcium 11%
Iron 10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tofu with Century Egg Salad - A childhood favorite and a popular diner food, the tofu with century egg salad requires just five ingredients and takes five minutes to make. Experiment with this new ingredient if you’re interested in discovering what people eat in China. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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