Fried Eggs with Spicy Tamarind Dressing


Anyone who owns any of my cookbooks would know that I love egg cookery. In Asian cooking, the egg turns up in some amazingly delicious and usually simple dishes; this is one of my favourites. Try cooking this for lunch with a bowl of rice and I guarantee that it’ll be cooked often. The dressing is easy to make as it is a simple Nam Jim. Once you get used to deep-frying eggs, it’ll be a breeze. Add some fresh herbs and a little fried red shallot for a counter crunch, or throw a smattering of fried crushed peanuts on the dish as well.


  • 2 large free-range or organic eggs
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 small handful of combined mint, coriander (cilantro) and Thai basil leaves
  • 1 red shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 red shallot, extra, finely sliced and deep-fried until golden


  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 wild green chillies, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 coriander (cilantro) roots, scraped and chopped
  • tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
  • tablespoons fish sauce
  • tablespoons lime juice
  • tablespoons tamarind water


To make the dressing, pound the chillies, garlic, coriander root and sugar in a mortar with a pestle to a fine paste. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and tamarind water, then taste to check for balance.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer until just smoking (180°C/350°F). Carefully crack the eggs into a bowl and then gently pour the whole eggs into the hot oil. Use a large spoon to ladle some of the hot oil over the top of the eggs until they are golden brown all over. Remove from the oil, drain on paper towel and transfer to a serving plate.

Mix the herbs and both the fresh and fried red shallots in a bowl and moisten with some of the dressing. Sprinkle the herb salad over the eggs and then drizzle with the remaining dressing to serve.