Every time he ran out of things to cook, he would reach out for the eggs, and patiently made steamed egg that was as smooth as silk for us to eat with plain rice. You can practically drink my dad’s steamed eggs, and even though there was just eggs and nothing else, the texture was enough to melt our hearts.

Just before my father passed away, he lost his sight as a side effect of diabetes. My father died at 58 years old and left few of his recipes to any of us. But on one visit to the hospital, I pestered him for his steamed egg recipe simply because there wasn’t one that was as good as his. By then, he was no longer coherent. He suffered from kidney problems as well and as he was not eligible for dialysis, he was constantly confused.

However, he managed to, in his confusion, teach me how to make his steamed egg perfectly in a sentence. “You take the egg shell, and measure your liquid with it.” That’s it? So simple.  The ratio of the volume of egg used is 1:1 with the liquid.

All custards are the same. This ratio works perfectly every time. There is really no need for a recipe.

As for double boiled milk or egg, they are called different things depending on whether egg yolks are used (very much like your red wine and white wine, where one is processed with skin on). I love these desserts, and I am not sure if this is a predecessor or ancestor of the creme brulee and chawanmushi.(茶碗蒸) They are, to me, basically the same things, just using different sorts of heating, different liquids and different parts of the egg with different aromatics.  They are all custards.

The Chinese Cantonese (as well as HongKongers) and Japanese use the steaming method, which is the Orientals’ most common form of food heating, anyway.  The secret to a silky soft custard is the control of the heat, and the sieve. The SIEVE. If you do not sieve your custard, it will not be silky. Period.

The second secret is the cover. The COVER. If you do not cover your custard, the steam will condense and water droplets will fall into your custard. Even if you are lucky the droplets miss your custard, you will get lumps. The cover also covers your sins of temperature control. Gives you lots of room for error.

If the container comes with a lid, I just use it. Otherwise, I fashion a lid out of foil and a rubber band. Works every time.

Steaming eggs look easy but it is not. It takes patience, and probably lots of errors. At least, eggs are normally quite cheap, so to throw them out when they fail doesn’t hurt the pocket as much. Or at least, even if they fail, you can still give them to the less fussy kids.

Double Boiled Milk or Egg

Double Boiled Milk or Egg


4 egg whites (for Double boiled milk) OR

2 eggs (for Double boiled egg)

1 cup Milk

1 Tbsp Sugar


  1. Heat the milk up just enough to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Divide the milk equally into rice bowls or tea cups.
  3. Beat the eggs lightly and sieve.
  4. Divide the eggs equally into the bowls of milk. Stir gently to just mix.
  5. Cover the bowls tightly with a foil and rubber band or its own lid.
  6. Steam for 15-20 minutes until the eggs coagulate. Serves 2.
  7. If serving cold, remove the lid immediately and put the custard into the fridge once it cools down to room temperature.