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Friday, April 17, 2009

Thai Son-in-law Eggs Recipe

I made these Son-in-law eggs recently when I had a glut of hard-boiled eggs after Easter.

Thai Son-in-Law Eggs

Thai Son-in-Law Eggs

The first time I had son-in-law eggs was in Hawaii (yes, at that amazing graduate dorm). My Thai friend, Pepper introduced this to me and we set out to make it together. It’s a really delicious dish!

Crispy or Chunky?

My memories of how the son-in-law eggs was made back then are vague. So I looked up a bunch of recipes online to check if my memory of the dish is correct. Most of the recipes I found asked for the shallots to be fried till crisp.

But the way I remember Pepper and I made son-in-law eggs was to pan fry the shallots until the shallots were just softened, and then add the tamarind juices and other seasonings. Then we added the eggs to the sauce and let the eggs soak up some of that yummy flavor.

I guess that makes my take on son-in-law eggs a little non-authentic. But it’s still a very good dish because the sautéed shallots in the tamarind sauce gives it a chunkier, chutney-like quality. Whatever it is, I just like it this way so I’m going to stick to that. Try it out and let me know if you like it too.

Fried or Boiled?

Another one of my memories of making son-in-law eggs include how difficult it was to fry the boiled eggs. They have a nasty tendency to pop and splatter on you! In my opinion, the fried part of the egg is too chewy and doesn’t have a pleasant texture anyway.

I think I have made this dish only one other time since then, and that time I chose not to fry the boiled eggs. I thought it was perfectly fine. So if you have a distaste for frying, I would say try doing it without. It seems to taste just as good.

For this post, I decided I would give frying one more shot and, yeah… (Reminder to self: nix the frying and just cook the eggs in the yummy sauce.)

Thai Son-in-law Eggs Recipe

6 hard-boiled eggs (deep fried if you prefer or left plain if you don’t care)
1/4 cup tamarind paste mixed with 1 cup warm water to soften and mushed to extract juice (it normally comes sold in a block or sometimes in a plastic tub but some stores also sell the extract in liquid form—if you get that kind, please add about 3 Tbsp to the water and more later if you need more tang)

Tamarind Pulp and Water

Tamarind Pulp and Water

2 Tbsp palm sugar (brown sugar will work too but palm sugar gives a nice smokiness that you won’t get from brown sugar)

Palm Sugar (Gula Melaka)

Palm Sugar (Gula Melaka)

1 tsp fish sauce
1-2 Thai bird-eye chili (use as many as your heat tolerance will allow), halved
4-5 shallots, sliced thin
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. If you plan to fry the eggs, heat a pot filled with oil (enough to cover 1/3 of the egg) and roll them around until they are blistered and golden brown. Be careful, they tend to pop and spit at you.


2. Remove eggs and set aside to drain on paper towel

3. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a sauce pan. Add shallots and sauté over medium heat until softened and just beginning to brown.

4. Strain the tamarind pulp and pour the tamarind juice into the saucepan with the shallots. Add fish sauce, palm sugar and bird-eye chilli.

Straining Tamarind Pulp

Straining Tamarind Pulp

5. Bring sauce to a boil. Put eggs back into the saucepan and coat eggs with sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary. The flavors should be a balance of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy.

6. Remove eggs and cut them in half lengthwise. Arrange on plate. Spoon the sauce over the eggs and garnish with cilantro.

Thai Son-in-Law Eggs

Thai Son-in-Law Eggs

Enjoy over rice!

Why do they call them “Son-in-Law” eggs anyway? I honestly have no clue and looking it up online didn’t provide any one, good answer. Ehh…whatever it is, it’s a delicious recipe and I hope you will try it out.

Cheers, Annie

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s. stockwell said...

We send greetings to you Annie from sunny Santa Barbara. We are loving these egg dishes that use up all the left overs from our Easter Brunch. We will have a few more. any ideas? best, s

Mike said...

Those look really good! I love the darkness of the sauce in contrast with the eggs - it reminds me of tea eggs.

Tuty said...

Indonesian also has a similar dish. Instead of fish sauce, we use terasi/belachan... and some add tomatoes. It's delicious with steamed rice!

Pearl said...

LOL i was just about to ask you why they were called son-in-law eggs and then i saw the last line. how interesting of a name!

Ning said...

This is certainly a very interesting recipe! Will try this soon! :)

Little Inbox said...

It goes well with rice. I love this dish.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Thanks so much for describing this dish. I've heard of it but never quite knew what it was.

My Taste Heaven said...

Haha, the name is so cute. I think the one who made this should be a mother-in-law! :)

Kana said...

Great way to use leftover Easter eggs!

test it comm said...

These eggs sound tasty. The palm sugar log looks interesting.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments!

@s. stockwell - you could try one of our chopped salad recipes.

@Tuty - that sure sounds delicious! Do you have a recipe?

@Ning - if you have all the ingredients, go for it! Let us know how it turns out for you.

@Lydia - you're welcome!

@Kevin - there's lots of different kinds of palm sugar around. Hopefully you can find some and try it.

Chris Chellson said...

Good stuff, it's hard to find good articles on how to make stuff like that. You should try posting this on I find most of my stuff there. It's nice because you can search by ingredients and by the name of the finished product. You can link your page to the website and it helps you keep track of who is using your articles. Great list of drink recipes for parties too!

Carolyn Jung said...

Oh man, crispy shallots AND tamarind? My total weakness. I love those ingredients together. Never thought about them with hard-boiled eggs. How inventive!

Justin said...

whoa, I guess this is a kind of late post, but these are really cool.

ann said...

Wow.. these looks s-i-n fully delicious :P
Even we add lot of Palm sugar in Indian Desserts. I love the combination of tamarind to it.

Janice said...

I recently saw this on my Thai book, yours looks better than the book and I'm sure it's delicious as well. I'm excited to try this recipe.