I find having a runny egg with soy sauce over rice to be extremely comforting. Although many culinary traditions appreciate fried egg as a topping, the one I’m talking about this time is a Chinese dish called 荷包蛋飯, which literally means “purse egg rice”. In Chinese, “purse egg” is a fried egg. I’m guessing the white is a purse for the yolk inside.
Today’s eggs are from Queens County Farm Museum. They raise more than one kind of chicken there, so you always get a variety of egg colors in each carton.
A few years ago, when I first started buying my eggs from them, I asked about the conditions under which the hens were raised. One of the farmers simply replied “You can see them. They’re right over there.”
There they are. Chilling out in the shade on a warm summer day. If I was living outdoors, the conditions would have been good enough for me, too.
Fried Egg over Rice
½ cup (100g) raw jasmine rice
½ cup (100g) water
about a tablespoon peanut oil
1 large egg
2.5 cup (600 ml) pot/rice cooker
non-stick/cast iron pan
Wash rice until the water runs clear. Add the drained rice to the pot and add the water. This ratio of water to rice is a rule of thumb that has worked for me. Depending on the moisture content of your rice (older rice is drier), you should adjust the water level. Touch and go until you end up with a result you’re happy with.
Add a pinch of salt and a few drops of oil. Cover the pot and place it over medium high flame. Avoid removing the lid until you’re done cooking. When you hear water boiling inside, start watching the jets of steam escaping the pot. A continuous jet of steam indicates that there is still plenty of water inside. When the amount of steam drops noticeably, turn the flame down to low. At this point, the water level inside the pot should have fallen below the level of the rice.
Within a few minutes, all the water will be cooked off and the rice will start toasting on the bottom. You’ll hear crackling noises coming from the pot. Without uncovering the pot, let the rice rest off the heat for 10 minutes. This resting period is part of the cooking process. If you skip this step, the rice will be too wet.
While the rice is on its last few minutes of rest, start cooking your egg. Heat an oiled pan on medium until the oil ripples. When you see your first tiny wisp of smoke, crack the egg in. Turn the flame down to medium low and wait for the whites to cook. I like my eggs sunny side up, so I remove the egg when the whites set. Otherwise, you can flip the egg and cook to the desired doneness.
If you’re concerned about salmonella in a raw egg yolk, you can buy eggs from a responsible farm, get pasteurized eggs, or pasteurize them yourself. You could potentially cook the egg all the way through, however, you won’t get the same texture experience as with a velvety, runny yolk, which acts kind of like a sauce. Hey, maybe you like your eggs over hard. No big.
I try not to skimp on quality when using soy sauce for such a simple dish. Look for something that’s brewed, perhaps even with the age of the soy sauce indicated on the bottle. When in doubt, the shorter the ingredient list, the better.
I have a friend who likes to add a drop of sesame oil to the mix. Now, that’s just crazy talk.
Crazy delicious, that is.
Sometimes, I like to kick it Japanese style.