Janet Chan, Steamed Egg Custard with Minced Meat


I’m from southern China and a dish I’ve had ever since 3-4 was always steamed egg custard of some variation. The simplest version is steamed egg custard with a splash of soy sauce. I like it with minced meat on top. My favorite version has the eggs mixed with minced meat and adds in an entire crab, lightly smashed, into the egg mixture, which is then steamed all together. The juice of the crab brings a sweetness to the eggs. This is a dish I have every time I go back home. It is very simple and quick, even quicker if you skip the meat. The egg custard comes out soft and silky with texture akin to soft tofu and is just a wonderful dish to eat with a bowl of rice.


Meat mixture

Egg mixture

Topping sauce



  1. Marinate the meat in soy sauce, salt, and cooking wine for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Heat the saute pan up on medium-high heat and add the oil once the pan is hot. Once the oil is heated, drop in the minced garlic and stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. After 30 secs or when you can smell the garlic, add in the meat mixture. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until meat has browned.
  3. While you wait for the meat to cook, heat up the pot and fill with water that reaches half the height of the steamer rack and heat the water to boil on high heat. Don’t put the rack in the pot yet.
  4. Once the meat is done, set aside. There should be some juice from the meat. Taste if it is salty enough and add some soy sauce if needed. Mix in the sesame oil.
  5. Mix the egg mixture in the shallow bowl and place the rack and then the bowl on top and cover with the lid. Cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat and readjust accordingly so the water just simmers.
  6. Once the egg is done, the egg should be soft and solid, not too runny or you’ve put too much water. Take the bowl out carefully with mitts or linen. Top the egg with the meat and sauce, sprinkle on the scallion, and it’s ready to be served with a side of rice.