While stories abound as to how these eggs were named, what’s not disputed is their moreish sweet-salty-sour taste and place as a Thai classic.
- 6 soft-boiled eggs, peeled
- 12 small dried red chillies
- fried Asian red eschalots (see Note), thinly shredded red bird's-eye chilli and coriander leaves, to serve
- vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil
- 15 Asian red eschalots, thinly sliced
- 135 g (½ cup) grated palm sugar
- 1½ tbs fish sauce
- 60 ml (¼ cup) tamarind concentrate (liquid form) (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Fill a large wok or saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in batches, place eggs in oil and fry for 5 minutes or until golden and a crust has formed. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Add dried red chillies and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant but not burnt. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
To make sauce, heat oil in a separate wok over medium heat. Add eschalots and cook, stirring, for 12 minutes or until softened and reduced by half. Add palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind, and cook, stirring continuously to dissolve sugar, for 4 minutes or until a light caramel colour.
Cut eggs in half and place in a serving dish. Pour over sauce and scatter with fried chill, fried Asian red eschalots, thinly shredded chilli and coriander. Serve immediately.
• Fried Asian red eschalots are sold in jars from select supermarkets and Asian food shops.
• Tamarind concentrate (liquid form), from Asian food shops, is concentrated tamarind juice.
Photography by Brett Stevens. Styling Berni Smithies.
As seen in Feast magazine, Apr 2014, Issue 30.