Son-in-Law Eggs (Khai Luk Khoei)

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
8 hard- or medium-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup fried shallots, plus 1 tablespoon of their cooking oil
1/2 cup packed grated palm sugar, or 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
3 tablespoons water
2 fresh red Thai long chiles, or 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and slivered lengthwise, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Pour the vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches into a wok or deep skillet and heat to 325°F to 350°F. To test if the oil is ready without a thermometer, stick an unvarnished wooden chopstick into the oil; when the oil is hot enough, a steady stream of tiny bubbles will rise from the tip of the chopstick. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place it next to the stove.

When the oil is ready, gently drop in 4 eggs and fry, stirring them as needed to ensure even browning, until they are thoroughly and evenly browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the towel-lined baking sheet and let them cool down. Repeat with the remaining 4 eggs. Let them cool down to room temperature.

To make the sauce, in a 1-quart saucepan, combine the shallot oil, sugar, fish sauce, tamarind, and water over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, check the consistency of the mixture. It should have the consistency of warm pancake syrup. If it is too thin, reduce it a bit more. If it is too thick, add a little more water. When the desired consistency is achieved, remove the pan from the heat.

Working quickly while the sauce is still warm, slice the deep-fried eggs in half lengthwise and arrange the halves, cut sides up, on a serving platter. Pour the warm sauce over the eggs and sprinkle the shallots over the top. Garnish with the chiles and cilantro and serve.

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