Making Chinese salted duck yolks at home is a simple food preservation that’s fun to do.
Preserved duck eggs are incredibly rich with remarkable savouriness. Salted duck eggs are delicious in many dishes, such as:
- Forming the “golden dust” base for sauces in Cantonese seafood and meat dishes
- Topping for congee (jook, rice porridge)
- Baked inside of Chinese mooncakes
- Baked inside of lo mai gai (sticky rice parcels steamed in lotus leaves)
- Grated over grilled vegetables to add dimension and depth
- Grated over fresh pasta and stews like cheese
Preserved duck eggs are also an important part of many other East Asian food cultures, like Filipino cuisine. Despite the popularity and deliciousness of Chinese salted duck yolks, they aren’t always easy to find in grocery stores. If you’re located in North America, prepared cartons of salted duck eggs and salted duck yolks are generally only found in East Asian specialty grocers in large metropolitan cities. But it can also be difficult to distinguish between varieties of pre-packaged duck yolks (raw, cooked, preserved, salted, charcoal, aged, etc.) unless you know exactly what you want.
Even if you can’t find Chinese salted duck yolks in grocery stores, you can make them at home using raw duck eggs from a farm or specialty market. I used local duck eggs from a farm in British Columbia, but any raw duck eggs would work. If you’re looking for raw duck eggs and you can’t source them from local farmers or Craigslist, East Asian or Italian specialty grocery stores would be your best bet.
While the traditional method of packing duck eggs in damp salted charcoal works, it isn’t really the easiest way to preserve duck yolk for most people. Using this recipe for the dry brine salted duck yolks below is much faster, easier, and achieves the same authentic flavor in less than a week.
If you can’t find raw duck yolks, you can also follow this recipe using chicken egg yolks. Chicken eggs taste similar to duck eggs, but preserved duck yolks are richer tasting. Keep reading to get the recipe for easy Chinese salted duck yolks (preserved duck eggs).
Preserving Chinese Salted Duck Yolks
Measure equal parts pickling salt or kosher salt and white sugar in a bowl to form the dry brine. I started with 5 cups of pickling salt and 5 cups of white sugar, adding more salt and sugar as necessary, but the exact amount you need will depend on how many duck yolks you have.
Mix salt and sugar well to combine. Line a muffin pan or any sheet pan or casserole dish with the dry brine so that it is approximately 1/2″ to 1″ in height.
There should be enough salt-sugar dry brine to rest the duck yolks on, instead of having the duck yolks resting on the bare metal of the muffin pan.
Pat a light indent into the mixture using a tablespoon for the duck egg yolks to rest in.
Carefully crack the raw duck eggs on a flat surface and separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Place each raw duck yolk in the indent in the dry brine mixture.
Put duck egg white aside in a separate container and use in any egg white recipe, such as a meringue or omelette.
Cover the raw duck yolks with the dry brine so that they are fully covered. This salt-sugar mixture will preserve and salt the duck yolks.
Cover the duck yolks with saran wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 6 days.
After 6 days, you can carefully uncover the Chinese salted duck yolks from the dry brine. The duck yolks should be semi-hard and relatively firm to the touch.
To uncover the Chinese salted duck yolks, remove the saran wrap, carefully dig the duck yolks out with a spoon, and lightly rinse the salt-sugar mixture off of the duck yolks under cool water using your hands.
Pat the salted duck yolks with a clean kitchen towel. Place them in a single layer in a dehydrator and dehydrate at 150° for 2 hours.
When the Chinese salted duck yolks have a texture similar to dry aged cheese, they’re ready to eat. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container lined with a kitchen towel or paper towel until ready to use.
Chinese Salted Duck Yolks (Preserved Duck Eggs) Recipe
Chinese Salted Duck Yolks (Easy Preserved Duck Eggs) 咸鸭蛋
Chinese salted duck yolks (easy preserved duck eggs) are an essential component to many traditional Chinese dishes. Preserve raw duck yolks using everyday ingredients to achieve authentic flavors in less than a week at home.
- 12 raw duck eggs
- 5+ cups pickling salt or kosher salt (equal parts salt and sugar)
- 5+ cups white sugar (equal parts salt and sugar)
- muffin pan or shallow dish
Combine equal parts salt and sugar in a bowl and mix well to combine into a dry brine. Line muffin pan or shallow dish with dry brine up to 1/2" to 1" in height. Use a spoon to create an indent in the dry brine for the duck yolk to rest in.
Crack raw duck eggs on a flat surface and carefully separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Place each duck yolk in the dry brine indent on the pan. Put egg white aside for future use.
Cover duck yolks with dry brine mixture until no duck yolks are visible. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 6 days or until the duck yolks are semi-firm.
After 6 days, take the duck yolks out of the refrigerator. Remove the saran wrap and uncover the duck yolks from the dry brine mixture. Rinse any remaining dry brine mixture off the yolks under cool water using your hands. Pat duck yolks dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
Place duck yolks in a single layer in the dehydrator and dehydrate at 150 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The Chinese salted duck yolks are finished when they have the same texture of a firm aged cheese.
Store Chinese salted duck yolks in the refrigerator in a sealed container lined with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
This post was originally published on July 3, 2018 and was updated on August 27, 2020.