Healthy Egg Waffles – the original Hong Kong style
Making your own healthy version of the famous Hong Kong bubble waffles right at home? Yes you can! Using spelt flour and low-fat or non-dairy milk, this is the ultimate recipe for a healthier egg waffle!
There are a few keys to achieve that perfect texture but are all simple enough. Make sure to read on and stick by ’em! They look and taste like no other – an absolutely delight!
The Hong Kong Egg Waffles have been the IT street-food for many years and taken social media by storm in the last few years. Places like Oddies in Sheung Wan are ranked top on most food and travel guides (including friends’ recommendations). And of course, the waffle “bubble” has spread to the West too, thanks to the commercialisation of the egg waffle pans and increasing demand from world food fans.
As inherent in its name, they are made with a rich egg-based batter with leavened flour, starch (for the chewiness), full-fat milk or cream, abundant toppings and flavours. Crispy on the outside, creamy and chewy on the inside, often loaded with endless decadent sweets from ice cream, chocolate, matcha, sweet beans to fruits and even unimaginable savoury flavours.
However, we will save these treats for our next trip to Hong Kong and make a light and healthy version of these bubble waffles right at home and right this weekend!
The keys to Hong Kong style egg waffles
Unlike their Western peers, the Hong-Kong style bubble waffles are unique in their texture – fluffily leavened, crispy outter, a bit stretchy and chewy inside each hollow. These are the tips I’ve gathered in my research before the first attempt. They worked like charms!
The egg waffle pan: Of course, we can’t make these bubble waffles without the right waffle iron. You can buy them relatively cheaply on Amazon these days.. Here are where you can get them
Amazon UK – Yosoo Aluminum Alloy Egg Waffle Pan
In Europe – There are a few options on Amazon.de, ranging from EUR 17-25. I bought the Yosoo pan for EUR 25 (now €27) that comes with free shipping.
The flour – spelt flour! The classic egg waffles are made with cake flour or light and low-gluten all purpose flour with a generous amount of baking soda added. Unfortunately they’re also low in nutrition so we’ll nix them! Luckily, fine spelt flour tick all the boxes: light and lower in gluten!
Fluff factor – baking powder! Yes, we’ll need more than in the usual pancake/waffle recipes – about 1.5tsp for 2/3cup of flour (see ingredient list)
The crisp – eggs! Eggs act as binding, leaven, and crisp agents in our classic version. For vegan versions, we’ll use an egg-substitute that you can easily find at local store 😉
The chewiness – tapioca starch! This is a must! These days it is widely available at any Asian store. You can try subbing it with potato starch or cornstarch. However, I have not tested them and cannot guarantee the elastic structure.
The creaminess – evaporated milk and/or custard powder. We won’t need much of them but try to have at least one of the two. From multiple testings, I find that custard powder is the key to create the texture of the original egg waffles.
Heat and timing are key! The waffle pan needs to be hot and oiled to avoid sticking. First, make sure to heat both sides of the iron for about 1 min. Fill up half to 2/3 of each hollow with the waffle batter. Close the latch and flip the pan. Cook for about 2 ½ minutes on medium low heat. Flip and open latch for the steam to escape. Let it cook for another 2 ½ minutes.
Stick by these golden “rules” and you’ll get some perfect bubble waffles that taste just as good as the originals in Hong Kong and much healthier.
Ingredients are simple enough
The trickiest parts are probably tapioca starch and evaporated milk, depending on where you are. Please see recipe notes below for substitutes.
Hope you’ll give it a try and look forward to seeing your beautiful creations on Instagram or Facebook #food2fit
- ¾ cup/120gr light & low-gluten flour – I find that spelt flour works best while ticking or the nutrient values
- 3 tbsp/28gr tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp/10gr custard powder. I actually used pudding powder made from corn starch vs. custard powder that sometimes contains powdered egg
- 1.5 tsp/7.5gr baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 2 eggs / ~110gr
- 2 tbsp / 40gr (coconucondensed milk
- 2 tbsp / 28gr evaporated milk * can be subbed with coffee cream/half-and-half – see note
- 140 gr water
- 1 tsp / 7gr mild olive oil OR canola oil
- ½ tsp/3ml vanilla extract
- coconut oil spray for the waffle pan
- Ricotta – whipped with honey/maple syrup and basil
- Fruits or fruit compotes such as peaches nectarines, and the berries
In a blender, mix all wet ingredients and blend until smooth
Mix all dry ingredients and shift onto the wet mix
Blend until all flour is dissolved
Pour through a sieve into a large measuring cup (easier to pour into the waffle pan)
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also leave it overnight (I did!)
Heat both sides of the waffle pan on stove for about 1 min on medium high heat
Lower the heat to medium low and pour in the batter
Close the latch and flip the pan
Cook for 2 ½ minutes – you should see the pan wiggling as the waffle puffs up
Open the latch for steam to escape
Flip and cook set timer for another 2 ½ minutes
Take it out using a stick or bamboo skewer
Fold it gently to form the cone shape
Load up with fillings and toppings of choice
Best to enjoy while they’re still piping hot
(1) Flour: most original recipes call for cake flour or all purpose flour which is very fine, low fibre and low gluten flour. Opt for fine spelt flour or a mixture of spelt and millet flour to achieve same texture while amping up the nutrition
(2) Evaporated Milk: is “unsweetened condensed milk” with about 60% of the water removed from fresh milk and without any added sugar. It is thicker and creamier than normal milk, similar texture to coffee cream or half-and-half but much lower in sugar & fat content (usually 4-8%) while higher in protein.