Sycee (元寶) was a type of silver or gold ingot currency used in China until the 20th century. The name derives from the Cantonese words meaning “fine silk”. In North China, the word yuanbao (simplified Chinese: 元宝; traditional Chinese: 元寶; pinyin: yuánbǎo), rendered by 19th-century English writers as yamboo or yambu, was also used for similar ingots. (Source: Wikipedia)
Today, imitation gold sycees are used t symbolize prosperity by Chinese and are frequently displayed at Chinese New Year. Reproduction or commemorative gold sycees continue to be minted as collectibles.
Egg Dumpling (蛋角/蛋餃) is one type of imitation of gold sycee. To make them is actually not difficult but it takes time and patience to make them one by one. The first time I tried was at my sister-in-law’s home, her family makes this every Chinese New Year, I was fascinated how to make this dumplings and attempted to try out myself. Since this is rather time consuming, it will be sensible to make them in advance, for example in the afternoon when the kitchen is less busy.
- 4 large eggs
- 170g (6 ounces) minced pork
Seasonings for eggs:
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp corn flour
Seasonings for Pork marinade:
- white pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- Beat the eggs and add the salt and corn flour, mix well. Set aside.
- Marinate the pork with the seasonings described above and set aside.
- Frying pan, best to use the normal traditional wok as the bottom is not flat and easier to make the fried egg in round shapes, however for those of us who do not have gas stove at home, we will have to stick to our flat non-stick wok or pan. Heat up some cooking oil in the wok/ pan and then turn to medium heat. Gently ladle some beaten egg to the center of the pan. Your egg should be around 7cm in diameter
- When the egg is 75% cooked, add about 1 tsp minced pork to the centre of the egg, and then fold the egg into halves when the egg is not fully set so the egg dumpling is sealed.
- When one egg dumpling is made, lay on a plate and repeat the same to make more egg dumplings until you finish the ingredients.
- Once you have the egg dumplings all made, you can lay all of them in the wok or pan and at medium low heat and cook them until they are cooked inside.
- You can add the egg dumpling just before serving to homemade clear chicken soup (see below for how to make the chicken soup) with addition of some vermicilli (粉絲), chinese leaves(王牙白) and some bean curd puff (豆卜). Boil a few minutes to make sure the egg dumplings are hot enough.
- Sample the soup if you need to add some salt.
- This hotpot soup is best served in a big ceramic pot or Dutch oven to keep the soup hot on the table. It’s traditional to serve individual portions at the dining table, its more cozy this way! The picture above, I have used a small ceramic pot.
Enjoy and hope all of you a prosperous and healthy year ahead in the Year of Tiger!!!
- You can also use minced white fish instead of minced pork as the egg dumpling filling. See my Thai Fish Cakes recipe here for reference of how to make minced fish, you will have to skip the beans, sugar & curry paste)
- When using pork filling, an alternative method is to cook the pork first before putting on the egg. This will save step 6 but I find this method the pork may be too loose and not stick together and difficult to place on the egg nicely.
- When frying with flat wok/ pan, it is more difficult to make the egg into round shape, in this way, you may have to touch up the shape a bit by cutting the edges to make them more round.
- To make the clear chicken soup, you need the following ingredients:
- 1 organic chicken, skin removed (the best quality chicken you can get, yellow skin one would be preferable)
- 200g pork use for soup
- 2 dried scallops, 瑤柱 (optional) or even better
- a piece of Chinese Kam Wah Ham, 金華火腿 (use either dried scallops or Kam Wah ham, never both)
- 4 thick slices ginger
- Simmer the soup for at least 3-4 hours to get the most flavor out.
Thanks to Chan Tik Kei for attaching the article from Eat Drink Men & Women Food Magazine in Hong Kong, 2009 about some food history and memories of Egg Dumplings (written in Chinese).
Also thanks to Lu20Vincent’s blog post with pictures illustration.