KAI LOOK KEUY (THAI SON-IN-LAW EGGS)

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Kai Look Keuy (Son-in-law eggs) is a traditional Thai recipe of deep-fried hard-boiled eggs in a moreish spicy and tangy tamarind sauce.

Hard-boiled eggs are deep-fried in oil until the skin turns golden brown and crinkly and then served with a tamarind sauce. The sauce is a perfect balance of hot, sweet, and tangy. 

WHY IS THIS DISH CALLED SON-IN-LAW EGGS?

I came across this recipe recently in Marion's Kitchen. The very name Son-in-law eggs intrigued me. Can you smell some gender discrimination too, or is it just me? Well, after some digging, I unraveled the most gruesome Thai lore that led to this name. The story goes that a desperate mother displeased by the treatment of her daughter in the hands of her son-in-law served deep-fried boiled eggs to him. The deep-fried pair sent a symbolic message (I hope you get the drift) warning him to get his act together or face the consequences. Savage, isn't it?
 
However, today it is just a funny name for a dish favorite among the kids. The son-in-law eggs are more of a treat prepared by the moms for her young children. It is so delicious that eating it is hardly a punishment. 

ABOUT THE RECIPE

Son-in-law eggs is a classic Thai dish that most Thai people have grown up eating. Hard-boiled eggs are deep-fried in hot oil so that the skin is browned. A sweet-and-sour tamarind sauce (sometimes hot) is drizzled over the fried eggs cut into halves. The dish is then topped with crispy fried shallots, red bell peppers, and fresh spring onions. This Thai delicacy is a melange of sweet, sour, and heat.
 
Honestly, the dish looks too pretty to eat. The radiant yellow egg yolks, crispy golden shallots, bright red bell peppers, fresh green onions, and syrupy tamarind sauce make a rather colorful canvas. 
 
The best part is that the recipe is easy and can be quickly prepared. If you have hard-boiled eggs at your disposal, it can be made in less than 20 minutes. If you have not already, I hope you will try this hidden gem in Thai cuisine.
 
The key step in making this dish is boiling the eggs and peeling them without breaking.

HOW TO MAKE PERFECT HARD-BOILED EGGS?

  • Place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover completely with water.
  • Add a teaspoon of salt or vinegar to prevent the eggs from cracking and facilitate easy peeling.
  • Cook on high heat and let the water come to a roaring boil.
  • Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan with a lid, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the hot water and transfer the eggs to a bowl filled with ice water. Let them sit for an hour for maximum ease of peeling.

INGREDIENTS

You will need the following ingredients to make this dish:
 
Eggs - Large eggs, hard-boiled, and shelled. When buying eggs, make sure to buy the older ones as they will be easier to peel. You may also use duck eggs.
 
Shallots - Crispy fried shallots are a signature ingredient of this recipe.
 
Red bell pepper - De-seeded and cut into slivers.
 
Tamarind juice - Use tamarind pulp and mix it with water to extract the juice.
 
Spring onion - Finely slice the green part and soak them in cold water. 
 
Garlic - Finely mince the garlic.
 
Condiments - Thai sweet chili sauce, fish sauce, black pepper powder, salt, and palm sugar.

HOW TO MAKE IT?

Boil the eggs - This is the most important step. Make sure that the eggs are boiled perfectly and peeled without breaking the eggs. Pat dry the boiled eggs so that there is not a speck of water to avoid splattering of oil while frying them.
 
Fry the shallots - In a small skillet fry the thinly sliced shallots on low heat until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove on a paper towel with a slotted spoon and keep aside. 
 
Fry the hard-boiled eggs - Carefully add the eggs to the hot oil, one at a time, and fry them until they turn golden brown. Flip the eggs and brown the other side. Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel. 
 
Prepare the sauce - Heat oil in a saucepan, saute the minced garlic until light brown. Add palm sugar, tamarind juice, sweet chili sauce, fish sauce black pepper powder, and salt. Let simmer for a few minutes until the sugar is all dissolved and the sauce is thickened slightly. Add water if necessary. 
 
Assemble - Cut the fried eggs in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and arrange on a plate, cut side up. Drizzle the tamarind sauce over the eggs. Top with fried shallots, red bell pepper, and spring onions. Serve immediately with jasmine rice. 
 

VARIATIONS

  • Try the recipe using duck eggs but do keep in mind that they take longer to cook.
  • You may add crushed lemongrass to the sauce for a zesty flavor.
  • You may add orange rinds or lemon rinds to the sauce for a crisp citrusy flavor.
  • You may add crushed roasted peanuts for an extra crunch.
  • You may sprinkle some chili oil and chili flakes on the eggs for extra heat.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why are some eggs difficult to peel?

Fresher eggs have low albumen pH, which causes the albumen to stick to the inner membrane more strongly, making peeling difficult.

What can I use instead of palm sugar?

If you do not have palm sugar, substitute with brown sugar or cane sugar.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes, you may boil the eggs and make the sauce in advance and keep them refrigerated. Once ready to serve, heat the sauce by adding some water if it is too thick. I recommend frying the shallots just before serving so that the crispiness is not lost. If at all you want to do that ahead of time, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Assemble as you would do normally.

Can I use raw tamarind instead of tamarind pulp?

Yes! If using raw tamarind, soak it in hot water for at least an hour and then crush it with your hands to extract the pulp and discarding the skin and seeds.

What can I do with excess tamarind sauce?

If you have leftover tamarind sauce, you can keep it refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 7 days. The sauce can be used up in many other recipes. For example, it will go very well with stir-fried shrimps or veggies.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

The Thai son-in-law eggs are best served with steamed jasmine rice. You can also enjoy it as an appetizer.
 

STORING SUGGESTIONS

The dish tends to get a little dry when stored so, my advice would be to make the exact quantity to avoid having leftovers. If you do have leftovers, store the eggs with the sauce in an airtight container. When heating, splash some water to get rid of dryness. Freshly fry the shallots and assemble as usual.

KAI LOOK KEUY (THAI SON-IN-LAW EGGS)
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KAI LOOK KEUY (THAI SON-IN-LAW EGGS)

Yield: 6
Author: The GradChef
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 50 Min
Kai Look Keuy (Son-in-law eggs) is a traditional Thai recipe of deep-fried hard-boiled eggs in a moreish spicy and tangy tamarind sauce.

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 2 shallots finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cut into slivers
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced spring onion greens
  • 4 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp tamarind juice
  • 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the eggs - This is the most important step. Make sure that the eggs are boiled perfectly and peeled without breaking the eggs. Pat dry the boiled eggs so that there is not a speck of water to avoid splattering of oil while frying them.
  2. Fry the shallots - In a small skillet fry the thinly sliced shallots on low heat until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove on a paper towel with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
  3. Fry the hard-boiled eggs - Carefully add the eggs to the hot oil, one at a time, and fry them until they turn golden brown. Flip the eggs and brown the other side. Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel.
  4. Prepare the sauce - Heat oil in a saucepan, saute the minced garlic until light brown. Add palm sugar, tamarind juice, sweet chili sauce, fish sauce black pepper powder, and salt. Let simmer for a few minutes until the sugar is all dissolved and the sauce is thickened slightly. Add water if necessary.
  5. Assemble - Cut the fried eggs in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and arrange on a plate, cut side up. Drizzle the tamarind sauce over the eggs. Top with fried shallots, red bell pepper, and spring onions. Serve immediately with jasmine rice.

Notes:

  • It is more traditional to use palm sugar. But if you don't have it, brown sugar can be used to create very similar results.
  • Do not miss the fried shallots, they are pivotal to the recipe.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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