For such a legendary dish, it's a simple one: boiled eggs, fried until a crisp golden skin forms, served with tamarind sauce. It is surprisingly sweet, but this sweetness is offset by irresistibly savoury fried shallots.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)

What is the story behind the name of this famous Thai dish? There are many origin tales (some involving a displeased mother-in-law wanting to send a message), but the truth is lost to history.

This recipe calls for duck eggs, but chicken eggs also work well.


  • 4 duck eggs
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) grapeseed oil
  • 3 red shallots, finely sliced
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 2 tbsp grated palm sugar
  • 3 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish
  • steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Cook's notes

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.


  1. Fill a large bowl with iced water and set aside. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil over high heat and boil the eggs for 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the iced water. Once the eggs are cool, peel them and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or a frying pan with deep sides over low–medium heat and gently fry the shallots and dried chillies until the shallots are golden brown and crisp. Remove the shallots and chillies from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towel.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and fry the peeled eggs in the same oil for 2 minutes, or until golden all over. Remove the eggs from the oil and set aside to drain on paper towel.
  4. Remove all but 3–4 tablespoons of oil from the wok and reduce the heat to low. Add the palm sugar and cook until it melts, caramelises and turns a rich brown, taking care not to let it burn. Mix in the tamarind concentrate and fish sauce and continue to stir for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  5. Slice the eggs in half lengthways and arrange on a serving plate. Spoon the sauce over the eggs and sprinkle with the fried shallots and chillies. Garnish with a few coriander leaves and serve with steamed jasmine rice.


Recipe and images from Bangkok Local by Sareen Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99