Egg Bao with Pork Belly and Pickled Ramp Sauce

Awhile back, my friend Tom introduced me to the idea of pressure cooking eggs. After months of staring at a brand new pressure cooker, trying to figure out how to break it in and not blow up the kitchen in the process (there is really little risk of blowing anything up these days), I happened to be flush with eggs from my farmer Paul. I figured it would be a good time to toss ’em in the pressure cooker and see what happens.

Nerd Side Bar:  A pressure cooker @15 psi will boil water at ~120C/248F (depending on elevation and a few other factors). This, coupled with the alkalinity of egg whites, causes both the whites and yolk to undergo Maillard Reactions (aka the reason browned meat tastes so darn good!).  This results in a hard boiled egg that has the flavor of roast chicken (seriously).

Prior to embarking on this journey, I decided I should at least do some research. I came across this interview with Dave Arnold where he described how he (and his intern Ed) stumbled into something they called egg bread while trying to pressure cook just the yolks.  So, of course, I had to attempt some egg bread of my own.  I did have plenty of eggs after all. Did I mention I was roasting some pork belly?  I don’t quite remember what I had in mind at the time, but when someone (Paul) shows up bearing 5 pounds of pork belly, you find ways to use it!

Egg Bread Recipe:

  1. 6 large egg yolks
  2. 4.5g baking powder

Mix yolks and baking powder together until it starts to get a little thick.  Pour mixture into a ramekin (or any other suitably shaped dish) and place the dish into a steamer for 30 min.

The mix rises nicely and the texture reminded me of bao.  So quite naturally I cut my bread into vaguely bao shaped buns, topped them with a slice of the pork belly and made a pickled ramp dressing that I recalled from the Momofuku book (chopped pickled ramps + mayonnaise = delicious ). This recipe is also gluten free which was nicely noted by our friend Melissa McEwen!

*The more astute among you may have noticed the pressure cooked eggs didn’t quite make an appearance in the final product, but rest assured they did turn out quite tasty and make a rockin egg salad mixed with a little mayo and sriracha. Fill pressure cooker with just enough water to cover eggs, then follow your pressure cooker’s instructions to cook at 15psi for about an hour.

** I used this Pork Belly Egg Bao below to ‘cheat’ at an Iron Chef Sardine dinner party I attended.  This time I used a sous vide pork belly with a homemade sardine ‘katsuobushi’ shaved on top.

Egg yolk and baking soda mixture

Ready for steaming

Egg mixture steaming

Steamed egg bread ready for cutting

Pork belly from Paulie’s Pastures (not sure why this picture came out so yellow…)

Pork belly egg bao with pickled ramp aioli


Written and photographed by: Nicholas A. Hruza