06 Nov / Thai Son-in-Law Eggs (Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs with Tamarind Sauce)
Fried hard-boiled eggs seems a weird concept, don’t you think?
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) .
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.
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)
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer, and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tamarind paste is prepared by soaking “wet” tamarind in hot water.
- 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.