Friday, 20 April 2012

ScotChin Eggs - Scotch Eggs with a Chinese Twist

Scotch eggs are my favourite bar snack. I first encountered this breaded egg concoction when I first arrived to Britain yonks ago. To be honest, I wasn't that keen on it back then, due to the fact that I had only ever tried the supermarket bought versions which were insipid and had these dull-greyish sausagemeat surrounding some stale looking hard boiled eggs. Interesting looking but tasted like a dried cardboard (not that I have ever tasted one but I'm going on a hunch here and assumed that is how a cardboard taste like). But I eventually had the great fortune of having to sample some beautifully cooked Scotch eggs and that's when my adoration of this eggy globes began.  I love it when you cut into a well cooked scotch egg, you get this gooey, runny yolk that oozes out like a river of glorious yellow sunshine, all encased in a crunchy and crispy casing. This, along with a pint of chilled beer on the side, is one of the best experience you can get in a pub.
I have though, always wonder what make this Scottish? I have tried to do some research and it yielded no results and made me just as perplexed as ever. Other than the fact that it is said to have been invented in Scotland - even this is debatable as Fortnum and Mason claimed to have invented it in 1738- nothing in the ingredients or the recipe provides any further hints. Maybe, if the eggs were rolled in some porridge oats before frying, now that would have been a strong connection. Whichever is the right answer, there is no denying of this deletable treat. And with it becoming incredibly fashionable and popular as well, it can only be a good thing (well, for me!)
I decided to make my own version when I came across some beautiful duck eggs the other day. Instead of making a traditional scotch eggs, I have created a modern fusion take on it by using Chinese cured sausage (Lap Cheong), Shaoxing wine and five spice powder in the sausagemeat - an oriental take if you like. This may all sounds very unconventional but the yielding result is utterly scrumptious I can assure you. The rich duck eggs stood up to the sweet aromatic flavour very well. I had them served warm straight from the fryer with some of my homemade Nonya Achar (pickle) and it was delicious. I also took one to work with me the following day and the oozy yolk were the envy of my colleagues. Result!

Ingredients (Makes 6)

6 duck eggs
450g good quality pork sausagemeat
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g plain flour
2 medium eggs, beaten, for coating
200g Japanese panko (substitute this for breadcrumbs if not available)
Sunflower or vegetable oil for deep frying


Bring a pot of water to the boil and boil the eggs for 7 minutes. Drain and immediately cool in cold running water. Once cooled, peel away the shells and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the sausagemeat , lap cheung, five spice, shaoxing rice wine and mix thoroughly. Season with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
Divide the mixture into six portion. Roll each portion into a bal and then flatten it onto a work surface, roughly 3mm thick. Dust the boiled egg into the flour, shake off any excess and place onto the middle of the flattened sausagemeat.

Carefully mould the meat around the egg with damp hands, making sure there are no gaps. Repeat with the rest of the eggs.
Dust the eggs in flour again , dip them in the beaten eggs and then pass them through the panko or breadcrumbs until thoroughly coated. 
In a deep pan, heat up the oil to 180ºC, until a piece of bread turns golden within 30 seconds when dropped into the oil. Fry the eggs in batches for 7 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. These can be serve immediately or eaten cold. 

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