In Hong Kong, street food is serious business. Street hawkers and dai pai dongs (open–air food stalls) serve locals and tourists day and night. Egg waffles are perhaps the most unique and popular food to emerge from the city.
Strangely, though, the first encounter I had with them was at Beijing International Airport. Served with a disposable plastic glove (they’re impossible to eat with chopsticks) and a cup of Hong Kong milk tea (see page 123), the texture is crisp and light with an aroma of custard.
You will need the right pan to make them. Mine is from Nordic Ware and is available online with international shipping. If you are in Hong Kong, then head to Shanghai Street, where you can pick one up for as little as $15. It is a must–have addition to the kitchen for any cook with an adventurous side.
- Yield: 4 to 6 waffles
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking matcha – I get mine from Tombo
- 1⁄4 cup corn flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1⁄4 cup instant custard powder (optional but nice)
- 3 eggs
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 cup evaporated milk
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- In a bowl, mix together the plain flour, baking matcha, corn our, baking powder, salt, and custard powder, if using.
- In a separate bowl, put the eggs and sugar, and whisk until light and uffy. Add the vanilla and, whilst whisking, incorporate the evaporated milk, water, and oil.
- Mix the liquid with the dry ingredients until completely combined. Pour the mix into a jug and refrigerate for an hour. I’ve tried skipping this stage, but letting the batter rest makes a really major difference in the end. The gluten is more relaxed, giving a delicate rather than a chewy texture. Before use, bring the batter out of the fridge for a few minutes in order to bring the temperature up.
- Separate the two sides of your waffle pan and preheat gently for 10 minutes.
- On one side, using a quick circular motion, fill all the cavities to about 80 percent. Clamp on the other half of the pan and immediately flip the whole thing over. Cook for 2 minutes on each side.
- Gently open the pan; the waffle will stick to one side. Flip out the waffle on to a cooling rack rather than a plate, as it will steam and become damp. The first one will always be a bit ugly–looking but you’ll develop a knack.
- Roll your waffles into cones or cover them with your favorite toppings. Fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce are a classic.