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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Friday, June 24, 2005

IMBB: Son-in-law eggs

Also known as 'the only time I will ever deep fry a boiled egg'!!!

So, a theme of eggs hosted by Viv... It should have been easy, you know. Eggs are my favourite quick meal and I love them any way. But I was stuck, at a sad loss. So, I flicked through my beloved Stephanie Alexander Cook's Companion; the complete book of ingredients and recipes for the Australian kitchen, which has a chapter devoted to nearly any ingredient you can think of. And I saw a Thai recipe for son-in-law eggs. A glance through showed it to be interesting...a bit different, unusual...and that I had all the ingredients already. Well, except eggs.
I don't know why they're called son-in-law eggs, and there doesn't seem to be a definitive explanation I can find. Apparently they're a hangover cure in Thailand, and, well, they'd have to be. I mean, they're deep fried boiled eggs!!!! With dipping sauce! Yes, that's right ; DEEP FRIED BOILED EGGS! Healthy cooking be damned with you! I'm going to deep fry me an egg! It sounds so wrong, doesn't it? Like something you'd buy in a Scottish fish & chip shop along with your deep fried pizza and Mars Bar. But, we already have a fancy-pants German deep fryer built into our workbench, so why not make good use of it?
And you know what? Deep frying eggs makes them look just like those Japanese tofu pockets, all pockmarked and lumpy. Kewl!
Making these is very simple. You put your eggs on to boil and make up the dipping sauce. Then you deep fry your eggs (I'm taking too much pleasure in writing this, aren't I?) and go for it.
I have to say, I was a little disappointed in the dipping sauce. Mine came out far too sweet. I know Stephanie writes 'adjust to suit your taste', but it's difficult to alter something that's so sweet and lime-y. I could just imagine A. coming in after a long day of work and Handel arias and me announcing in happy-housewife voice
"I've made something very special for dinner, dear!"
"Oh yes, what's that?"
"Deep fried boiled eggs in syrup!"
"Ummmmmm...........Do I have to?"
Yeah, not so good really. But Thai food is all about the balance between sweet, salty and sour, so I resorted to adding more fish sauce and some soy sauce to increase the salt. Still not so great. So, then the juice of a lemon for more sourness. That kind of worked. Still, the original sauce recipe made a huge amount; there was enough for 20 eggs there, so adding more liquid just meant that I ended up with enough dipping sauce to cater for a barn full of chooks. Maybe I can marinate some fish with it.
The eggs are quartered, and scattered with fresh coriander and fresh chili - but I couldn't find our fresh chilis. Nor our chili flakes, so I had to resort to powdered chili, which has some mighty huge kick to it! It was also recommended to serve this with fried garlic, so I threw a few cloves in the deep fryer. Deep fried garlic is yummy!

So, after rectifying my sauce, how was this? Well, despite still not falling totally in love with my still unbalanced sauce, it was still tasty, and I found myself on my 7th egg quarter before realising I had left very little for anyone else. It was actually quite moreish, and would be an interesting appetiser or cocktail party titbit. If you've already got your deep fryer going for crispy little cocktail delights, it wouldn't be so hard to chuck in a few boiled eggs, while you whip up a very easy dipping sauce. And, well, they're definitely a talking point!
Read on for the recipe:

Son-in-law eggs
Stephanie Alexander - The Cook's Companion

Walnut-sized piece of tamarind pulp
1/2 cup hot water
125g palm sugar (to me this was far too much)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
Vegetable oil for deep frying
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled
1 tablespoon fried sliced garlic (or a few whole cloves)
fresh coriander leaves
fresh chili

Soak tamarind in water for 30 minutes. Mix well, then squeeze and press through a strainer into a bowl. Combine palm sugar, fish sauce and 1 tablespoon tamarind water in a saucepan and simmer, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Stir in lime juice and taste for a good balance of sweet, salty and sour. Adjust to suit your taste.
Heat a good quantity of oil and deep-fry eggs until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Drain, cut eggs into quarters, dip into sauce and eat as an appetiser with fried garlic, coriander and sliced chili as accompaniments.


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