Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kai Kem Eggs

I’ve become a twitter addict, I have found so much inspiration from the tweets of others, chefs posting their latest menu ideas, or plates, fellow bloggers tweeting about their latest post, NPH bringing on the food-porn, or in this case @chezpim putting out a casual tweet about picking up some marvellous looking duck eggs at her local market—making me thoroughly jealous in the process—and her plans to make Kai Kem eggs. Having absolutely no idea what Kai Kem eggs were, I educated myself a little on Google, and shot a tweet back, asking her what one does with Kai Kem eggs.

Kai Kem eggs are traditionally made with duck eggs, taking advantage of their large rich yolks, but good free range organic chicken eggs will get the job done, and for a first try probably the cheaper easier option. But I will be keeping an eye out for some duck eggs for my second batch.

So, want something different for your next fiery hot green curry, or maybe something new to top off that congee? Well with a little preparation, and 3 weeks patience, you can have some lovely salted eggs (Kai Kem), a traditional Chinese dish adopted in Thailand as an accompaniment to spicy green curries, johk(similar to congee, a thick rice soup traditionally eaten at breakfast), or simply served as a side, sliced in half, scattered with sliced chilli and diced shallots, topped off with a good squeeze of lime juice.

The ingredients are pretty straightforward, eggs, coarse sea salt and water. The important thing is to completely saturate the water with salt—dissolve so much salt in the water that no more salt will dissolve (about 35 grams per 100 ml).

6 Large Chicken eggs (or duck eggs if you’re lucky enough to have them)
1 Litre Water
350 grams Coarse sea salt (not iodised)

There are two methods to dissolve the salt.
1. Bring the salt and water to a simmer until all of the salt has dissolved, and no more will dissolve (hot water can take more salt than cold), then let the water cool down to room temperature.
2. Or my preferred method, whisk the salt into the water in a bowl on the bench and keep whisking until no more salt dissolves. It’s a little more work, but you don’t have to wait for the water to cool down.

Carefully place the eggs in a large jar or container, and then cover with the cold salt-water, making sure all the eggs are submerged, I ended up cutting up a plastic plate that fit under the rim of the jar to keep them under water.

Seal or cover the jar, and leave it in a cool dark place for 3 weeks, make sure to label the jar with the date.

After the long wait, and possibly forgetting all about the eggy goodness tucked away in the back of the pantry, drain the eggs and carefully remove from the jar.

You can now either put them in a very well labelled egg carton in the fridge, and they’ll keep pretty much indefinitely (but I’ll say 3 months), or you can cook them and then keep them in the fridge.

When you are ready to eat the salty egg, simply fill a pot of water, place in however many eggs you need, bring it to the boil, and simmer for about 15 minutes, yep really 15 minutes, I tried to be a smart-arse on my first go and cooked it like a regular hard boiled egg, didn’t turn out so well. When cooked run the pot under a cold tap until the water is cool and let the eggs sit for a while.

My favourite way to have them (so far) is as a side to a hot green curry, sliced in half, scattered with sliced chilli and spring onions, topped off with a good squeeze of lime juice and maybe a few coriander leaves.

P.S. Yes those are some twin eggs, so were the other five in the carton of six, I must be due some crazy luck!