In her Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, Fuschia Dunlop shared that in Hunan, you will find peppers being charred over a charcoal burner and then served with preserved duck eggs or known as “pi dan”/ 皮 蛋. This is the Chinese version of the Italian antipasto made with charred peppers, capers, and anchovies.
The century eggs themselves usually do not need much messed around. The eggs alone are rich and quite intense in taste. The Chinese likes to eat them along with porridge dishes or as cold-plate appetizers. Of course, if you never had century eggs before, you might think they are gross. They are black in color and I think you either like them or you don’t kind of food. I talked more about century eggs in century egg congee recipe. If you do like century eggs, you pair the century eggs with the roasted peppers along with black vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil, oh my…… I was blown away by how good they taste.
I highly recommend this dish myself. So delicious!!!!!!!!! This recipe is adopted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop, published by Norton (US)/Ebury Press (UK). www.fuchsiadunlop.com
- 3 red bell peppers (about 1 lb 2 oz)
- 4 preserved duck eggs
- 2 tsp very finely chopped garlic
- 1½ Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp Chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang brand is my favorite)
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- Dash of sesame seeds
- Char the bell peppers until they are soft and their skin are blackened. You can do this by leaving them on a metal grill set over a small gas ring, turned down to the lowest flame, and turning them from time to time. It's a slow business, taking a good hour or so, but the scorched flavor is super wonderful. You can also blackened them more quickly under the broiler, turning so as much as possible of the skin is charred
- When the peppers are charred, put them in a bowl and cover closely with a plastic wrapper. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel one pepper at a time, reserving any juices in the bowl. Rinse it under cold water as you detach and discard the skin (it should come away very easily at this stage). Open the pepper and discard sees and stem, and then cut into ½-inch strips. Pile these up on a serving plate; repeat with the remaining peppers
- Peel the preserved duck eggs, rinse well, and then cut each into 6 segments. Arrange these around the peppers like the petals of flowers
- Combine the garlic with any juices from the peppers, and then stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, and salt to taste. Add the sesame oil and then pour over the peppers and eggs. Mix the sauce into the peppers and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving