I used to think that fried eggs sprinkled with herb salt was the epitome of egg-y goodness. Then, I cooked eggs Thai style and my world was transformed.
What is yum khai dao?
Whole eggs fried in very hot oil until the edges of the whites are browned and crisp are served with a sweet, tangy and salty dressing with slices of chilies, lemongrass, shallot and cilantro.
Yum khai dao dressing
The dressing is a mixture of palm sugar, fresh lime juice and fish sauce. Once mixed, the spices and herbs are whisked in, and the solids and liquid are spooned over the eggs on the plate.
While it is the dressing that really elevates a simple fried egg dish to unbelievable heights of deliciousness, how the eggs are cooked is just as important to give the dish good texture.
Crispy egg whites
You will need an inch of cooking oil in the pan. You have to heat the oil until fine wisps of smoke float on the surface. You slide in the egg (or crack it directly into the oil if oil spatter doesn’t intimidate you), wait until the edges of the white is transformed into a brown lacy crispness then scoop it out.
If you have a large wide pan, you may cook three to four eggs at a time. Otherwise, simple repeat the frying until you have as many fried eggs are you need.
Thai Fried Egg Salad (Yum Khai Dao)
- cooking oil
- 3 large eggs
Make the dressing
- Peel the outer layers of the lemongrass stalks until only the soft interior is left. Slice into thin rings.
- Cut the chilies into thin rings as well.
- Peel the shallot and thinly slice.
- Measure the palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce into a bowl.
- Whisk until the palm sugar is completely dissolved.
- Add the lemongrass, chili, shallot and cilantro, and whisk lightly.
- Set the dressing aside.
Fry the eggs
- Pour enough cooking oil into a frying pan to reach a depth of one inch.
- Heat the oil until fine wisps of smoke are visible on the surface.
- Crack an egg into a bowl then pour into the hot oil (it will spatter).
- Cook until the edges of the egg white are browned and crisp.
- With a slotted spatula, lift the egg and move to a plate.
- Fry the remaining eggs.
Serve your yam khai dao
- Arrange the eggs on a plate.
- Spoon the dressing over them and serve.