An eggette is an egg-shaped waffle snack that is very popular in Hong Kong and Macau. Thought to have emerged in the 1950s, eggettes are one of the most classic street foods in Hong Kong. They are crispy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside. They are known as gai daan jaai in Chinese, which means little chicken eggs. Some food enthusiasts liken eggettes to Bubble Wrap made of delicious cake.
The name of the snack is thought to come from its resemblance to eggs, and eggette stalls can be found scattered throughout Hong Kong. It is also known as a bubble waffle, egg puff, or ball waffle. While their origins are unknown, some believe that they were created in the postwar era, when eggs were at a premium. Others believe local street vendors created eggettes as a snack to use up their store of damaged eggs, which they'd bought inexpensively. Some also suppose that they were created as a Chinese take on the traditional waffle press.
This delicious snack is made by pouring batter made with eggs, sugar, and flour onto special iron frying pans or griddles. The pan has tiny, round wells into which the batter settles. It is traditionally heated on hot coals, and the resulting eggettes have a beautiful golden color. About the size of a little quail egg, each individual eggette is done when it becomes crispy on the outside. Many street vendors still sell the plain version of eggettes, and the recipe has remained unchanged for decades.
Modernization has resulted in many varieties of eggettes becoming popular over time. It's possible to find eggettes with flavors like red bean, chocolate, honeydew, and coconut. Green tea, matcha with sesame seeds, and ginger are some other variations. Sometimes, they are even served up like pancakes with some fruit and whipped cream. Tearing off individual eggs from a waffle-like sheet is a fun way to consume this traditional street food.
True eggettes have not only crisp shells but also soft, vanilla-flavored centers that are slightly spongelike in texture. Improperly made eggettes either have gooey fillings or are too sweet or milky in taste. Eggettes weren't made at home in earlier times because they could be so easily purchased outside from street vendors. A few companies have created eggette pans, making it possible for cooks to whip them up at home.
The major ingredients used to make eggettes are flour, sugar, eggs, and evaporated milk. Vanilla extract, vegetable oil, and tapioca starch are also used. The recipe also calls for baking powder, custard powder, and vanilla extract in small quantities. The flour, starch, and other powders are whisked together in a bowl to begin with. The sugar and eggs are whisked next until they attain a smooth texture, and evaporated milk is added to it.
The flour mixture is added to the egg, sugar, and milk mix and whisked until all the lumps of flour disappear. A little vegetable oil and vanilla extract are added to it, and the mixture is allowed to sit for a while. The batter literally takes only a few minutes to put together. It can be refrigerated for an hour or so to let it thicken more. Making eggettes is as simple as heating the eggette pan until hot and pouring the batter into it evenly.
The plates are shut together and flipped to let the mold fill evenly. The eggettes need to be turned in between, and they cook in around five minutes. They are ready when they attain a crispy, golden color and are best eaten hot. The treat should be laid out on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.