Sophie Brissaud

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Better Than Milk

Chen Xiaoming, Long Jjing Cao Ttang, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China - September 2014

For 6 servings

  • 10 lg. egg whites
  • 2 Tbsps. (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. (.34g) kosher salt
  • 1 (236ml) cup (235ml) water
  • 2/3 cups (17656ml) Chinese rice wine (mijiu)
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) honey
  1. Set up a bamboo steamer over simmering water.

  2. Strain egg whites through fine chinois into medium bowl to remove any membrane; mix in sugar and salt; then gently mix in water, wine, water, and honey (you want to avoid producing a lot of bubbles).

  3. Divide mixture among steamering bowls; pop any bubbles with bamboo skewer; cover with wax paper; place lids on top of steamer bowls as tightly as possible; place in steamer; steam 20 minutes; remove from steamer; reserve (keep warm).

  4. To serve, serve warm in steamer bowls with lid on and with a porcelain spoon.

What to drink: nothing—no one drinks while eating this dish
Chef’s Note: This interesting sweet dish gets its name from its likeness to a milk dessert, while there is not a drop of milk in it. The combination of ingredients—rice spirits, honey, and egg whites—creates the illusion of a milky taste.