Friday, March 07, 2008

No Century - Bowled Out for a Duck (egg)

You wouldn't call me a coward, would you? Not in culinary matters, at any rate. Avanthi (the wife) insists I have a dustbin for a stomach. Octopus, oyster, stingray, quail eggs, venison (coming soon) - I've tried them all and lived - lived? thrived, more like - thrived to tell the tale.

I've even told you about my previous experience with century egg. And a pleasant enough experience it was. I longed to try more of them eggs, but they proved surprisingly elusive. Other kinds of eggs - tea eggs, salted duck eggs - were widely available. But I couldn't find anyone who sold century egg. Even the Uni canteen stall didn't keep them any more; not cost-effective, it seems.

The other day I finally ran down some at the local Cold Storage. They were duck eggs too, even better. Much larger than the chicken version I had tried earlier, they came for about $2.90 for a packet of four.

I had initially planned to chop up one egg and add it to the ham sandwich I was making. But curiosity got the better of me, ultimately. I had to first hold it under running water a good while to wash away the coating of mud, rice husk and heaven knows what else. It peeled easily enough. The membrane under the shell didn't stick to the congealed albumen the way it does in your normal hardboiled (chicken) egg. But it was surprisingly tough and difficult to tear.

A preliminary nibble revealed the albumen to be essentially tasteless, true to form. It was also coloured a deep translucent brown, irregularly sprinkled over with those slivery snowflake or 'pine-branch' patterns which are a distinctive feature of century eggs. Lulled thus into complacency, I took a large bite out of the yolk, and nearly threw up.

As it was, the yolk wasn't much to look at. It was greyish green in colour, moist and pasty in texture. And it stank, reeked, niffed to the heavens. Remember chem lab? Hydrogen sulphide? 'Smells of rotten eggs'? That's exactly what it was. Felt like I was chewing through a Kipp's apparatus.

The assault on my olfactory nerves was so lethally intense, it masked out the other flavours of the yolk. I don't know if that was a good thing or not. Didn't give myself the opportunity to find out either. My enthusiasm for them eggs waned drastically round then. At the time of writing it's still reasonably dead.

I wonder what caused the extreme reaction this time. Was it because the egg in question was a duck egg? They are known to be stinkier than chicken eggs. But then again, so are they known to be richer in flavour. This number was nothing of the sort. It was quite bland apart from the smell, when you come to think of it. I only hope it was a one-off experience; the proverbial 'bad egg', so to speak. Maybe my future experiences, if any, will be both tastier and less noxious.

Which is all very fine, optimistic of the future and all. But what do I do with the remaining eggs?

8 comments:

ys said...

You and Avanthi paint one each and gift them to me along with the third one - this third to balance the decoration. Will surely preserve and cherish :).

Prithviraj said...

So, you got foxed (or, ducked?) by a Chinaman, eh? :D

Abhik Majumdar said...

"Chinaman", good one! LMAO!

Trust you to place a new spin on proceedings, I say.

Wangui said...

What on earth does a non-rancid century egg taste like? I can't imagine it would taste much different from the rancid variety ... do elaborate.

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John said...

Hi Abhik,
Been following your blog for a while, ever since I started my food blog, and some friends told me there is a senior from college who does the EXACT SAME THING. Am so glad that it is alive again. Do turn up at mine too. I've tried to differentiate it a bit.

panu said...

a proper duck egg is orange/golden yellow in colour... the yolk part that is. the one that you had was probably a bad one.

Duck egg makes a fantastic meal when made into a rich curry and served with rice.

Abhik Majumdar said...

Panu, the post is not about usual duck eggs. I'm talking century eggs here, eggs smeared with alkaline gunk and kept that way about three months.

You're right in your surmise it was a bad egg I had, but that is the very point of century eggs. They are designed to be 'bad' in a certain way, if you get my drift.

The snag, of course, was that the egg I encountered was bigger and way badder than I had expected, even though I wasn't new to century egg..