Son-in-Law Eggs with Crispy Shallots

Kai Leuk Koey

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I like hard-boiled eggs any way you serve them, but I adore them in this magnificent party dish. Fried to a golden brown, halved and arranged on a platter, the eggs are sprinkled with crispy rings of fried shallots and napped with a stupendous sweet-and-tangy sauce of tamarind, fish sauce, and palm sugar. It is glorious, and although Son-in-Law Eggs are often served at Thai wedding celebrations and Buddhist ordination feasts, they are simple to make.

Indian-style tamarind chutney is an excellent short-cut to make use of when preparing this sauce. You’ll often find it among the Indian ingredients on well-stocked supermarket shelves, or check the mail order sources or in Middle Eastern and South Asian groceries. If frying the hard-boiled eggs seems over the top to you, simply skip that step; the dish will still be superb. Serve Sonin-Law Eggs with rice, couscous, thin rice noodles, or triangles of toast. You will love having something substantial with which to savor the delicious sauce.

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Ingredients

  • Tamarind Sauce
  • ¾ cup tamarind liquid or Indian-style tamarind chutney or freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup palm sugar or brown sugar
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • ½ cup water

Eggs and Crispy Shallots

  • Vegetable oil for frying eggs
  • 6 eggs, hard-boiled, shelled, and patted dry
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped dried red chili flakes
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Method

To prepare the sauce, combine the tamarind liquid, palm sugar, fish sauce, and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Lower heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes to make a smooth, delicate syrup, stirring once or twice, and then transfer to a small bowl to cool.

To fry the eggs and crispy shallots, line a tray or two plates with paper towels, and set a slotted spoon or a pair of spatulas by the stove. Heat about 3 inches of vegetable oil in a medium skillet or wok over medium heat to frying temperature, 350 to 375 degrees F. When a bit of shallot sizzles at once, carefully lower 3 of the eggs into the oil and fry, turning to cook them evenly, until golden brown and crisp all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels, and repeat with the remaining 3 eggs. Scatter the shallots into the skillet and fry 1 to 2 minutes, until handsomely browned but not burned. Remove and drain on paper towels.

To Serve

Halve the eggs lengthwise and arrange on a serving platter. Pour the tamarind sauce over eggs, sprinkle them with the crispy shallots, chili flakes, and cilantro, and serve warm or at room temperature.

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