Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I love eating out. If we were rich, I swear, we would eat out every night—even though, yes, I love to cook and, yes, that money would be better spent writing a big old check to Partners in Health. I know.

Anyhoo, Momofuku is this incredible restaurant in New York, where you wait in line for nine hours so that you can be hustled through the most expensive meal of your life in twenty minutes. But, oh! That meal. We have eaten things there—their famous ramen, their shrimp buns, a special octopus salad—that I have thought about almost every day since eating them.  That said, it’s not an ideal restaurant for our strictly vegetarian Birdy, being largely porkcentric and kind of unapologetically unaccommodating overall. However, Birdy did order a neon green cucumber salad that was improbably good, and, also, this simple, briny pickled egg that arrived beneath a thick shower of fried shallots.


I promised her I would try to make them at home, and now I’ve made good on that promise and I can say that they’re dead-easy and just as delicious as the ones we ate in the restaurant, maybe even more delicious given that we’re using eggs from our neighborhood farm that have the kind of glowing yolks that sing a song about grass and worms and sunshine. But there were a couple store-bought eggs in one batch, and those were pretty effing good too.

Thanks to their killer umaminess, even Ben almost liked them, and he has hated hardboiled eggs since he first tried one, at the age of 14 months, when he was fed a small piece and promptly unfurled his horrified tongue back out of his mouth, with the egg still on it, the same way you would hold your hand far away from your body if somebody happened to shit into it.

But this pickled egg he tasted, then shook his head, then came back to taste it again, the way you do, when you can’t quite let go of something. “That’s definitely the best hardboiled egg I’ve ever tried,” is what he said. “It’s like weird, tangy Jell-o.”


But he’s right, texture-wise. The boiling method and timing produces eggs with perfectly firm whites and gelatinous yolks with a liquid center.  This is, as far as I’m concerned, the ideal egg, and it’s how you get them at Momofuku. If you think that’s not going to work for you, try cooking them a minute longer, but really—don’t go for solid yolks or you’ll dim the magic. Trust me on this.

Momofuku’s Soy Sauce Eggs
This is my version of Food52’s version, which is a version of the version in Milk Bar Life. I added the fried shallots, since that’s how we ate them at Momofuku. Serve these as part of a bread board for dinner, or for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. Don’t worry if you run out of shallots—the eggs are great without them too, although I bet that slivered scallions, crushed potato chips, and/or crumbled bacon would make great toppings too.

6 large eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¾ cup soy sauce (the recipe recommends low-sodium, but you can guess whether or not that’s what I used)
Neutral-tasting vegetable oil
1 shallot, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
Kosher salt

Half-fill a large pot with water, and bring it to a boil over high heat.

Carefully lower the eggs into the boiling water (I do them two at a time with a ladle) and boil them for 7 minutes (or, according to the incomparable David Chang of Momofuku, for 6 minutes and 50 seconds), stirring them for the first minute and a half (I think what that does is keep the yolk from settling to one side, and it works really well.) Fill a bowl with ice and cold water to prepare for the eggs being done.

While the eggs cook, whisk the sugar into the water in a small bowl, then stir in the vinegar and soy sauce.

After 7 minutes, use a slotted spoon to move the eggs to the ice water. When they’re cold enough to handle, peel them, and put them in a container that they just fit in in a single layer. Pour the marinade over them and refrigerate. The recipe says 2 to 6 hours and I, naturally, went for the full 6. Remove the eggs to a lidded container and store in the fridge for—the recipe claims, improbably—up to a month. You can reuse the soy-sauce mixture for more eggs. I do.

When you’re ready to serve, fry the shallots. Heat a very small pan over medium heat, add a big splash of oil (there should be enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan) and fry the shallot, stirring constantly, until browned and sort of fluffy-seeming, about 3 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate and salt them. (Use the extra oil for something: salad dressing or stir-frying cabbage, say.)

Slice each egg lengthwise a top with a small shower of shallots. If you skip the shallots for any reason, then sprinkle a little pinch of coarse salt on the yolk before serving.


  1. Anonymous10:40 AM

    Momfuku and Milk Bar just opened here in DC! We're always many steps behind NYC with our restaurant scene; and David Chang is originally from Northern Virginia. I think I'll give the Soy Sauce Eggs a try per your recipe/recommendation, and let the hype die down before I venture forth to check it out. Also, I do like making Compost Cookies for special occasions (My husband and six year old daughter beg for them.).


  2. Anonymous11:15 AM

    Do you know how magic I thought you were? I looked at the photo of the sliced egg and thought the darker outside part was the shell. Like you were actually able to slice neatly through the shell and serve it in the shell, like a little bed. Then I figured out it was the soy sauce pickling that gave it that effect. Ha! I still think you are a little bit magic, though. --Cathy K

  3. I'm the first to admit that I usually like a solid-yolked hard-boiled egg, but for you, I'll try the 7-minute boil. :) I'm sure they'll be amazing. They look crazy good.

  4. Oh man, these look AMAZING. My daughter and I are always trying to finesse that wobbly-yoked state from our hard boiled eggs. Also love the errant feather in the egg carton.

  5. How do you pronounce the name of that restaurant? Because I'm picturing my baby (that sweet tiny innocent doe eyed wonder... turning 13 this weekend) being pissed off and practicing the F word on me?

  6. Green Mountain Girl11:53 PM

    I'm with Amy3 on the solid yolks, but I'm also with her on the "for you, I'll try the 7-minute boil". The fried shallots alone must make these heavenly -- I could see myself making some extra shallots to add to a green salad, or just to munch on! Yum!

  7. Green Mountain Girl12:00 AM

    Oh, and also, please give Birdy our congratulations on her Honorable Mention in the current "Stone Soup"! My two girls and I love that magazine, and this month my husband piped up with some comments about a couple of the stories, so I guess he's been perusing it too! I wish we could see Birdy's artwork -- I bet WE would have published it if WE had been the editors of Stone Soup. :-)


  8. Oh, Catherine, I just laughed at loud at your description of Ben's horrified tongue promptly unfurled back with the egg bit still on it.

    These look fantabulously umami (which elusive meaning I slowly absorb through reading your blog) and I wish I had read this recipe last month, since, um, I don't eat eggs anymore.

    So… I'm curious about the neon green cucumber salad (I make shredded zucchini salads all the time). What would you say made it so good?

    Thank you :o)

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    gry agario
    jogos de five nights at freddy's
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  10. I have made these once a week since your post. We polish them off in two days! Thank you.