Comfort food for the sick: China’s answer to chicken soup

Society & Culture

A unique Chinese dish that gives eggs a whole new spin.

Jidan'geng egg custard

Everyone seeks different comfort foods when sick. Some may say chicken soup, and some may choose apple sauce. My answer is Chinese steamed eggs (鸡蛋羹 jī dàn gēng), with the texture of a baked custard. Whenever I lose appetite, come down with the flu or a stomach ache, this soothing, silky, pudding-like dish is my best cure. Even better, it will give you a brand new understanding of how eggs can taste.

The cooking process is quite simple. The only key is the golden ratio of water to eggs: 1.5 to 1. Be sure to use warm water to get the perfect softness.


Serves 1


12 minutes


  • 2 large eggs
  • Warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 green onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • A drizzle of sesame oil

steamed egg 2


  1. Break the eggs in a heat-proof bowl and beat well.
  2. Continue to whisk while adding warm water, about 1.5 times the volume of the beaten eggs.
  3. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and mix well.
  4. Spoon off any bubbles on the surface. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  5. Bring the steamer to a boil. Steam the egg bowl for 10 minutes over high heat covered.

steamed egg 3

6. Carefully transfer the bowl out and peel the wrap off. Add 1/4 teaspoon of light soy sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, and garnish with chopped green onion.

7. Serve hot.

steamed egg 4

SupChina Eats is a weekly column.