Three-Color Steamed Egg combines beaten eggs, salted duck eggs, century eggs, and fried shallots to create a decadent Chinese comfort food dish

Step-by-Step Guide: Three Color Steamed Eggs

Recipe by Annie Tibber


Prep time


Cooking time





Three-Color Steamed Egg consists of a blend of beaten eggs, salted duck eggs, century eggs, and crispy fried shallots, creating a flavorful Chinese comfort food delicacy


  • For the Eggs
  • 1-2 century eggs

  • 2-3 raw salted duck eggs

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Water (equal volume to eggs; approximately ⅔ to ¾ cup)

  • Vegetable or chicken stock (equal volume to eggs; about ⅔ to ¾ cup)

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1/8 tsp of powdered white pepper

  • 3 tablespoons of fried shallots (optional)

  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon hot water

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


  • Begin by peeling and cutting each century egg into 6-8 wedges. They don’t need to be perfectly shaped as they’ll be submerged. You can use a piece of cotton thread for precise cuts.
  • Separate the yolks and whites of the salted duck eggs. Beat the duck egg whites with chopsticks or a fork for about 30 seconds. Carefully quarter the duck egg yolks.
  • Now, let’s create the egg mixture. Crack 3 large eggs into a liquid measuring cup, noting the volume. Pour these eggs into a large bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and beat with chopsticks or a fork for 1 minute.
  • Measure an equal volume of water and add it to the bowl. Repeat this with the stock. Add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper powder, then whisk until well combined.
  • Arrange the chunks of century eggs and the salted duck egg yolks evenly in a heat-proof shallow dish. A 9-inch glass pie pan or any similarly sized Corningware, Pyrex, or ceramic dish suitable for steaming will suffice. Ensure that it fits comfortably in your steaming setup.
  • Position the dish inside the steamer and heat the water in the steamer until it reaches a boiling point. Be cautious to prevent boiling water from touching the bottom of the dish during steaming. Assemble the dish in the steamer to preserve the egg arrangement.
  • Pour the beaten duck egg whites evenly around the dish, surrounding the century eggs and salted yolks. Then, strain the egg/water/stock mixture into the dish through a fine-mesh strainer.
  • As soon as the water in your steamer is boiling, reduce the heat to medium. Cover the steamer and steam for 4 minutes. After this, turn off the heat but keep the steamer covered. Allow the dish to stand for 14 minutes with the lid securely in place.
  • While the dish is steaming, prepare the sauce by mixing 1 tablespoon of hot water, 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of light soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.
  • Uncover the dish. It’s ready when it jiggles slightly when tapped, similar to the texture of Jell-O. Sprinkle chopped scallions and fried shallots (if desired) over the top. Finally, drizzle the sauce over the dish, and it’s ready to be served!

Three Color Steamed Egg (known as ‘sān sè zhēng shuǐ dàn’ – 三色蒸水蛋 in Chinese) is a recent culinary discovery for me, and for some of us, a delightful rediscovery. Although it’s a new addition to my repertoire, it’s a cherished and widely recognized dish that you might also find referred to as tricolor eggs or steamed three eggs.

The trio of eggs that make up this dish includes beaten chicken eggs, salted duck eggs, and thousand-year-old eggs (also known as century eggs or millennium eggs—no one can seem to agree on the appropriate visual age of these eggs or the preferred level of hyperbole). This medley is complemented with crispy fried shallots and a light soy sauce mixture, making it a satisfying and light meal when served with a bowl of rice and vegetables.

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