The Tattooed Brebes’ Egg: 101



No, it is not an english word. My Indonesian pals, we all know that, don’t we? Brebes is a regency in the northwestern part of Central Java province in Indonesia. It is well-known for its indigenous product: salted eggs.  Salted eggs from Brebes commonly have a stamp or tattoo-like on their shells as a brand-mark.

The tattooed egg from Brebes, Indonesia

Once, I was a kindergarten student. My teacher asked the class to bring a soil paste on the day after tomorrow. We were going to have a project, she said. Little that I knew it was a charcoal paste. Indonesian call it as “abu gosok”. So right after school, I asked my mom to buy me some.

The project was making salted eggs with damp charcoal paste method like Brebes always does.  How cool was that?? this method is now still used in massive production of salted eggs. The method results in certain characters, especially for the yolk. The yolk will be more hardened and oily than other method (like immersing the egg in brine solution for weeks) would do.

My teacher brought along the duck’s egg that day. Aaaaand the project started.

The idea is to cover the duck’s egg with the damp salted charcoal paste. Too bad, I could not remember the steps I did back on kindergarten, but do not worry. I still am telling you cause informations can be gained from anywhere. Yes, definitely right.

First of all, prepare some good quality eggs and wash them with water. Shoo the wet by wipe them all, carefully…Avoid using the cracked one. You do not want to fail. Yes, no one wants to. The cracked eggs will be easily contaminated, so choose and clean them all wisely.

Enough with the egg, now be focus on the paste. The saline concentration should be high enough to produce a palatable egg. It is not only the taste, but also other characteristics that will be affected: texture, moutful, and color. Some conventional producer will use 1:1 formula for the charcoal paste and salt weight (if you use 1kg of charcoal paste, mix 1kg of salt). Pour some water, mix, knead ’em all!

Time to play with the dough! Err…not so doughy after all, but this part will be fun. So, cover the cleaned egg with the paste. Supposedly, 1-2mm is the ideal thickness for each egg. Do this carefully, my dear, we are almost there.

The covered egg then store for around 10-20 days. Next, the egg is cleaned from the paste. Now, they are ready to be cooked–boiled or steamed, both are resulting in yummy!

Happily tattoo-ing the eggs, te amo!

Afi Wiyono

p.s. Other chance, we should talk about how saline could affect the egg white and yolk. Catch you later.