Easter eggs in nests – Chinese style.
I have been planning to post this since last week. The trouble is that:
1) I had some problem making the little nests. I thought I should use sweet potato strips to make the nests as it would give a nice brownish colour. However after a few attempts, I could not get it to work, the result being that I could not get the strips to stick together when I deep fry it.
2) I could not find any quails eggs!! I searched all the supermarkets near where I live and none stocked them. I tried the local pet shop, they don’t do quails eggs either, although they do sell free range chicken and duck eggs. I tried the local farm shop that sells eggs and jams, but to no avail. Finally, I had no choice but to go Leicester city, to the Chinese supermarket, Tai Fatt, to get it! Phew!!.
Of course after trying out, unsuccessfully, to make the nests, I decided to do the way that I used to do it when I was a kid. I decided to use noodles!!
Yep. It turned out to be quick and the result was great. No more wasting time on fiddly things and ingredients. This shows that I must trust my heritage more, instead of always trying out new things.
Here is the recipe.
For the nests:
- I piece dried rice noodles (bee hoon)
(I used the one from the pack that comes in individual servings. It should weigh about 50g.)
- Oil for deep-frying
- 2 small pieces of tea strainers. You can use a set of bigger sieves if you wish to make a bigger nest.
- 6 quails eggs ( or more if you like)
For the filling:
- 150g carrot – cut to 1/2 cm cubes
- 150g celery – cut t0 1/2 cm cubes
- 1 small kohlrabi approx 250g -300g – cut to 1/2 cm cubes
- 30g ( 2 Tbsp) pine nuts – dry toasted
- 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 1 shallot or 1/2 banana shallot finely chopped
- 250g Chicken breast – cut to 1/2 cm cubes
- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp sweet hoi sin sauce
- 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/4 Tsp 5-spice powder
- Salt and white pepper powder
- 1/2 Tsp corn flour mixed with 2 Tsp water
- Sesame oil
- Finely sliced spring onions
- Bits of the puffed noodles
- Deep fried curly kale
For the eggs:
- Hard boil the eggs according to the packet instructions.
- Peel and set aside.
To make the nests:
- Cut the noodles on both sides to get individual strands.
- Divide into 6 portions.
- Heat up the oil for deep-frying.
- Meanwhile, lay a portion of the noodles onto one of the tea strainers. Gently place the other strainer on top of the noodles
- When the oil is hot (180 C, when you put a piece of the noodles and it floats and fizzles up immediately), gently lower the strainers into the oil. The noodles will puff up. Turn the strainers so that it fries evenly. In the event that it does not fry evenly, gently coax the nest out with a pair of chopstick or a spoon.
- Remove the nest. Should parts of the nest require more frying, simple dip it back to the hot oil for a few second. Remove and drain on a strainer and then lift it out on to paper towels to absorb the oil.
- Repeat until you finish all the 6 nests.
- Set aside.
For the filling:
- Spray a non-stick frying pan or wok with some oil.
- Over a medium flame, add in the chopped garlic and shallots and fry until lightly browned.
- Add in the chicken and let it fry in one layer for a few minutes until lightly browned. Flip over and fry the other side.
- Add in the vegetables and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the sauces and seasonings and toss to mix. Fry for another 5 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked.
- Make sure that the pan doesn’t burn. Do not add water as we want the filling to be dry.
- Season with salt and pepper, and a few shakes of sesame oil.
- Drizzle the corn starch mixture and stir to get the vegetables to clump together.
- Stir in 3/4 of the pine nuts.
- Remove from fire and set aside.
- Place 1 to 2 spoonfuls of the filling into the nest. Top with 1 or 2 eggs. ( I used 1 egg as my nest is small).
- Sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts.
- Repeat until all the nests are used up.
- Arrange on a plate, garnish with the remaining pine nuts and the broken bits of the puffed noodles and the fried curly kale.
- There will have left over fillings. I serve that as a dish with rice.
- The nests can be made a few days in advance and store in an air tight container. This will save you time if you plan to make a lot on the day.
- More nests can be made to use up all the fillings and to use up the eggs.
- This is an interesting way to get the children to eat veggies.
Kids will love the cute tiny nest.
Well, that is my Oriental contribution to Easter. I hope you like it. Please share and like so that I can do more!!!