Salted Egg Sliced Open

It gets my goat whenever I crack open a salted egg and find the yolk missing that bright yellow-orange hue and that oily but firm, grainy center. There’s also that level of saltiness I expect from the white, the one that grips the surface of the tongue, but nicely blends into the tartness of tomatoes and the pungency of cilantro, one that I can push a little bit more to the edge with a drizzle of patis, then pull back to safety with some fried rice. It’s a little tug-o-war I love to play with salted eggs, but with the dull, bland ones I get occasionally from the Chinese grocery, it’s game over even before they’re plated.

So, why not make the salted eggs myself?

I found this link in Purple Yam’s Facebook page and proceeded to buy (chicken) eggs and (a lot of) salt. Except for the waiting part (14-20 days), making salted eggs was easier than I thought. The only challenge was keeping the eggs submerged in the water, but a ramekin placed on top of the eggs effectively pushed the lot down as soon as I closed the jar. It was also important to ensure that the water was properly salted, but the recipe was very clear on how to achieve that.

While I was satisfied with the results, I thought I do a few things differently with my next batch.

1) Use duck, instead of chicken, eggs. Yes, I just spotted fresh duck eggs in my favorite store in Chinatown! Duck eggs are generally bigger; they’re also fattier, so they’ll give that sought-after oily rim and center. The yolk is also brighter. If I have to use chicken eggs, I’ll get the organic ones; their yolks are naturally deeper in color than the hugely commercial brands.

2) Pump up the saltiness level by keeping the eggs in the brine solution for at least 20 days. A 22-day soak was more to my liking.

3) Boil the eggs in tea-infused water. It won’t flavor the eggs, but tint the shell so it’s easy to differentiate the salted eggs from the regular ones. Better than painting each egg a hideous red which stains hands, cutting board, kitchen counter and, ironically, everything in the kitchen that I want to keep immaculately white.

4) A dark green color around the yolk means the eggs have been over-boiled or cooked. Check this article for tips on how to boil eggs. Purple Yam also mentioned that a friend prefers to steam duck eggs (10 minutes). Hmmm, very interesting. Will definitely try, next time!

Need I say I saved money, too? Not much, maybe 15-20 cents a piece. But in the end, it’s not really about the money, but the pleasure of the harvest. Awwwww…..

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Here’s the recipe for Salted Eggs (Khai Kham):

Ingredients

12 Raw Large Eggs
500 gms Salt
4 Litres Water
Large Boiling Pan
Big Glass Jar

Preparation
1. The eggs are salted in a saturated brine solution. This means the maximum amount of salt you can dissolve in the water!
2. Boil water in a large pan.
3. Add the salt to the water and dissolve it. Add more salt until the salt can no longer dissolve.
4. Leave to cool, as the water cools, salt crystals should form. If they do not, heat it up and add more salt.
5. Put the cold brine and eggs into a jar, the eggs must be submerged in the brine.
6. After 14-20 day take it out of the jar. They can be kept for a long time in that salted condition.
7. They can be used boiled or fried or to add salt to a dish.

Salted Eggs with Fried Rice

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