Pickles and Tea Adventures in Asian American Cooking

Thai Son-in-Law Eggs (Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs with Tamarind Sauce)

Fried hard-boiled eggs seems a weird concept, don’t you think? 

hard boiled eggs looking blistered and brown

Frying hard boiled eggs creates an interesting texture and toughens up the whites to withstand another round of cooking

Even I think so, and I grew up eating a dish made with fried hard-boiled eggs! Called telor belado in Indonesian, hard-boiled eggs are fried in oil until golden-brown and blistered, then doused in a thick sweet-and-spicy tomato and bell pepper sauce.  

Scotch eggs, those delicious British picnic staples comprise hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and fried. Variations exist in the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as in the U.S., served on a stick, naturally

Then there’s baid mutajjan a Middle Eastern dish of eggs rolled in a dusting of ground sumac and sesame seeds. 

Recently, I discovered yet more brethren–a quirky dish called son-in-law eggs–courtesy of Danette St. Onge‘s Better-Than-Take-Out Thai Cookbook (Rockridge Press, August 1, 2017) .

Better Than Takeout Thai Cookbook

 I fell in love with this dish immediately.

Perhaps it’s because it was so familiar (the tamarind sauce and telor belado’s tomato-bell pepper sauce were comrades in sweet-sour-spiciness) but most likely because it was absolutely delicious. The flavors bold and balanced, the dish came together in no time and was perfect paired with steamed jasmine rice.

hardboiled eggs,fried anddrizzled in sweet sour tamarind sauce

The sweet and sour tamarind sauce is livened up by a shower of fried shallots and crushed chilies

 

Son-in-law eggs is a very traditional dish, using simple ingredients readily available in many Thai homes. The very catchy name would grab anyone’s attention, and many have whiled away countless hours trying to decipher its origins.

All this points to one question: How did I not discover son-in-law eggs sooner? 

Better late than never, I guess!

~~~

Son-in-Law Eggs (Kai Look Keuy) 

Adapted from Better-Than-Takeout Thai Cookbook by Danette St. Onge (Rockridge Press)

Hard-boiled eggs fried and covered with tamarind sauce and sprinkled with fried shallots

 
Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
 
Ingredients:

6 large hard-boiled eggs (fresh or leftover)
¼ cup coconut sugar*
2 tablespoons tamarind paste*
1 tablespoon fish sauce*
2 tablespoons water
Fried shallots, homemade or store-bought
Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
4 dried red chilies, like de arbol (optional)

Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
  1. Heat the sugar, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, and then simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. It should be about the consistency of maple syrup. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as necessary for an equal sweet-sour-salty balance.
  2. In a wok or small saucepan over medium-high, heat about 1 inch of oil, and then add the eggs , turning them untile bubbly crisp and golden-brown all over, 5 to 6 minutes. Be careful because the eggs might spatter while frying; use a splatter guard in necessary.
  3. Remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer, and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Strain out any floaty bits from the oil. Add the dried chilies and fry over medium-low heat until they darken, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. When cool enough to handle, cut the eggs lengthwise into halves or quarters, and arrange them on a serving plate. Drizzle with the sauce; garnish with fried shallots, and cilantro and chilies (if using). Serve son-in-law eggs with steamed jasmine rice.
Notes:
  1. Coconut sugar is similar to traditional Thai palm sugar but is available at most grocery stores in granulated form. You can also use light brown sugar.
  2. Tamarind paste is prepared by soaking “wet” tamarind in hot water.
  3. I use Red Boat brand fish sauce which has more oomph and flavor than other brands. If you’re using a different brand, I suggest using 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons.
Son-in-Law Eggs
Serves 4
Even though I can't tell you where it's moniker comes from, this dish is absolutely delicious. It'll take less time to gobble it up than to cook it!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 large hard-boiled eggs
  2. ¼ cup coconut sugar*
  3. 2 tablespoons tamarind paste*
  4. 1 tablespoon fish sauce*
  5. 2 tablespoons water
  6. Fried shallots, homemade or store-bought
  7. Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
  8. 4 dried red chilies (optional)
  9. Vegetable oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Heat the sugar, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, and then simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. It should be about the consistency of maple syrup. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as necessary for an equal sweet-sour-salty balance.
  2. In a wok or small saucepan over medium-high, heat about 1 inch of oil, and then add the eggs, turning them until bubbly crisp and golden-brown all over, 5 to 6 minutes. Be careful because the eggs might spatter while frying; use a splatter guard in necessary.
  3. Remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer, and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Strain out any floaty bits from the oil. Add the dried chilies and fry over medium-low heat until they darken, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. When cool enough to handle, cut the eggs lengthwise into halves or quarters, and arrange them on a serving plate. Drizzle with the sauce; garnish with fried shallots, and cilantro and chilies (if using). Serve son-in-law eggs with steamed jasmine rice.
Notes
  1. Coconut sugar is similar to traditional Thai palm sugar but is available at most grocery stores in granulated form. You can also use light brown sugar.
  2. Tamarind paste is prepared by soaking "wet" tamarind in hot water.
  3. I use Red Boat brand fish sauce which has more oomph and flavor than other brands. If you're using a different brand, I suggest using 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons.
Adapted from Better-Than-Takeout Thai Cookbook
Adapted from Better-Than-Takeout Thai Cookbook
Pickles and Tea http://smithsonianapa.org/

 

Discussion

  • Filed Under

    November 6, 2017
    Cook books
    Easy
    Vegetarian
    Cooking method    Pan-frying    
    Course-type    Main Course    
    Culture    Thai    
    Easy    30-minute meal    
    Main ingredient    Eggs    
    • Posted By

      Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Pat Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens. Pat especially enjoys covering topics that converge on food, history and culture and has been published in numerous international, national and regional publications. Her cookbook, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook—Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens is a treasury of family recipes and stories spanning over a dozen Asian cultures.

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