Chinese Steamed Egg Custard

Chinese steamed egg custard, also known as “douhua” or “steam egg”, is a popular traditional Chinese dish. It is a smooth and silky custard made from a mixture of beaten eggs, water, and seasonings, which is then steamed until it sets. The texture of the custard is delicate and velvety, similar to a soft tofu or pudding.

To make Chinese steamed egg custard, the ingredients are simple and easy to find – eggs, water, and optional seasonings such as soy sauce, sesame oil, or chicken broth. The eggs are beaten well and mixed with water and seasonings in a bowl. The mixture is then strained through a sieve to ensure a smooth texture. The custard is steamed in a steamer or a wok with a lid, usually for about 15-20 minutes, until it becomes firm but still jiggly in the center.

Chinese steamed egg custard can be enjoyed as a standalone dish or served with other ingredients such as minced meat, seafood, or vegetables. It is often garnished with sliced scallions or cilantro for added freshness and flavor. This dish is loved for its simplicity and comforting taste, making it a popular choice for breakfast, lunch, or even as a light dinner option.



The main ingredient for Chinese steamed egg custard is, of course, eggs. You will need around three to four eggs, depending on the desired serving size. It is important to use fresh eggs for the best taste and texture. In addition to eggs, you will need water or chicken/vegetable stock to create the custard base. The liquid ratio to eggs is typically one part liquid to one part egg.

To add flavor and aroma, various seasonings and condiments can be used. Soy sauce, salt, and sesame oil are commonly used to enhance the taste of the custard. You can also add minced garlic, ginger, or scallions for additional savory flavors. Other optional ingredients include diced meat, seafood, or vegetables to create a more substantial dish. It is important to dice the ingredients into small, uniform pieces for even cooking.



  • Eggs
  • Water or chicken/vegetable stock
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Sesame oil
  • Minced garlic, ginger, or scallions (optional)
  • Diced meat, seafood, or vegetables (optional)



1. Beat the eggs: Start by cracking the eggs into a bowl and lightly beat them until the yolks and whites are well mixed. The number of eggs used can vary depending on the desired serving size.

2. Season the eggs: Add seasonings such as salt, chicken broth, white pepper, and sesame oil to the beaten eggs. These ingredients enhance the flavor of the custard.

3. Strain the mixture: To achieve a smooth and silky texture, strain the egg mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. This step helps remove any lumps or impurities in the mixture.

4. Prepare the steaming container: Grease a heatproof dish or ramekin with oil to prevent the custard from sticking. Place the dish in a steamer or a pot with a steaming rack.

5. Pour the mixture: Pour the strained egg mixture into the greased dish. To prevent bubbles from forming, you can tap the dish gently on the countertop.

6. Steam the custard: Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil to prevent water from dripping onto the custard. Steam the dish over high heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the custard is set but still slightly jiggly in the center.

7. Garnish and serve: Once the custard is cooked, garnish it with toppings like scallions, cilantro, or soy sauce. Serve it hot as a standalone dish or as part of a larger meal.

Steaming the Egg Custard

To steam the egg custard, you will need a steamer basket or a wok with a steaming rack. First, prepare the custard mixture by whisking together eggs, water or broth, and seasonings such as soy sauce, salt, and pepper. The ratio of eggs to liquid will depend on personal preference, but a common ratio is 1 egg to 1/2 cup of liquid.

Tip: To achieve a smoother texture, you can strain the egg mixture before steaming.

Next, pour the custard mixture into heatproof bowls or ramekins. It is important to use heatproof containers to ensure they can withstand the high temperature of the steaming process. Place the bowls or ramekins into the steamer basket or onto the steaming rack.

Fill a wok or large pot with water, making sure the water level is below the steaming rack or basket. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Once the water is simmering, carefully place the steamer basket or rack into the wok or pot. Cover the steamer with a tight-fitting lid to trap the steam.

The steaming time will vary depending on the size of the custard containers and your desired consistency. Generally, it takes about 10-15 minutes for the custard to set and become slightly firm. You can test the doneness of the custard by inserting a toothpick or knife into the center – if it comes out clean, the custard is ready.

Steaming Time Custard Consistency
10 minutes Soft and creamy
15 minutes Firm and smooth

Once the custard is done steaming, carefully remove it from the steamer using oven mitts or tongs, as the containers will be hot. Let the custard cool for a few minutes before serving to allow it to set further.

Steaming is a gentle and precise cooking method that preserves the delicate texture and flavors of the Chinese steamed egg custard. It creates a silky and smooth custard that is perfect as a comforting dish or a light appetizer.

Serving and Enjoying the Chinese Steamed Egg Custard

Firstly, the Chinese steamed egg custard can be served both warm and chilled, depending on your preference. If you prefer a warm custard, remove it from the steamer and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. The warmth adds a comforting touch to the custard, making it even more enjoyable.

“The Chinese steamed egg custard can be served both warm and chilled, depending on your preference.”

To enhance the flavor and presentation of the dish, you can add various toppings and garnishes. Common toppings for the Chinese steamed egg custard include chopped spring onions, coriander leaves, or even a drizzle of soy sauce. These toppings add a fresh and savory element to the custard, balancing out its creamy texture.

Furthermore, serving the Chinese steamed egg custard in individual portions can create an elegant and personalized dining experience. You can use small-sized ceramic bowls or ramekins to hold the custard, ensuring that each serving is beautifully presented. You can also garnish each individual portion with different toppings, allowing your guests to customize their own custard.

To fully enjoy the Chinese steamed egg custard, it is best to savor it slowly, taking small spoonfuls to appreciate its silky texture and delicate flavors. The custard’s smoothness combined with the added toppings creates a delightful contrast of textures and tastes in each bite. It is a dessert that is meant to be savored and enjoyed in a relaxed and unhurried manner.

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