These are by no means traditional eats for Chinese New Year, which begins Feb. 16.
Nor are they typical picnic fare.
What these deviled eggs are is simply the best rendition you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
Boston-based Pastry Chef Joanne Chang of Flour bakery already makes some of my most favorite baked goods. Now she and Executive Chef Karen Akunowicz of Myers + Chang restaurant in Boston have done it on the savory side, creating an Asian-inflected version of deviled eggs that will spoil you for all others.
“Soy Sauce Deviled Eggs with Five-Spice” is from her latest cookbook, “Myers + Chang At Home” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) by Chang and Akunowicz, of which I received a review copy.
The more than 80 recipes represent favorite dishes served at Meyers + Chang over the past decade — everything from “Sichuan Shrimp Lettuce Wraps” to “Korean Braised Short Rib Tacos with Kimchi-Sesame Salsa” to “Surf and Turf Black pepper Shanghai Noodles” to “Chocolate Tofu Mousse with Black and White Sesame Brittle.”
The deviled eggs were inspired by delicious frugality on the part of Chang’s mother, who used to add hard-boiled eggs to pots of braised beef or chicken to stretch the meal for her family of four. The eggs would take on the flavors of the savory stew, becoming a treat unto themselves.
In much the same way, Chang soaks her hard-boiled eggs in a pool of soy sauce, rice wine, scallions, sugar, ginger, and star anise. The eggs not only take on a caramel color, but loads of flavor.
Let’s face it: With traditional deviled eggs, the white is rather bland and really only serves as the vehicle to carry the creamy, souped up filling from your fingers to your mouth.
With Chang’s eggs, the whites are infused with the taste of soy sauce and ginger, and possess enough flavor to hold up to the bold, golden filling of yolks mashed with mayonnaise, garlic chives, sriracha, wasabi and white pepper.
A garnish of five-spice powder over the finished eggs amplifies the warm cinnamon-like flavor from the star anise.
You can easily cut this recipe in half. But once you try the eggs, you’re going to wish you had made the entire amount.
These deviled eggs are full of umami, with a salty-caramel flavor from the soy sauce and a little pop of heat from the wasabi and sriracha.
It’s like the taste of an entire Chinese-Japanese dinner wrapped up in two heavenly bites.
Soy Sauce Deviled Eggs with Five-Spice
(Makes 16 deviled eggs)
8 large eggs
2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup sweetened rice wine or mirin (not rice wine vinegar)
1/2 bunch scallions (4 or 5), white and green parts finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peeled and chopped fresh ginger (about 4-inch knob)
8 whole star anise
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh garlic chives or regular chives
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sriracha
2 to 3 teaspoons wasabi paste (start with the smaller amount and add more if you prefer more nose-clearing heat)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder, for garnish
Place the eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 2 minutes. Drain and peel the eggs under cool running water.
In a separate saucepan, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, scallions, sugar, ginger, star anise, and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool until it is warm to the touch. Place the peeled eggs in the soy mixture and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and no more than 8 hours.
Remove the eggs from the soy mixture an carefully cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the garlic chives, the mayo, sriracha, wasabi, salt, and white pepper. Mush around till smooth, then taste a little bit; you want the yolks peppery and hot, so add more wasabi as needed to achieve this (different wasabis have different heat levels). Either spoon the yolks neatly back into the whites (dip your spoon in water for ease of scooping), or transfer them to a piping bag or a small plastic sandwich bag with a hole cut out of the corner and pipe the yolks back into the whites, filling the cavities. Top evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon garlic chives and a pinch of five-spice powder. Serve immediately.
From “Myers + Chang At Home” by Joanne Chang with Karen Akunowicz
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