Hello Everyone! Who here doesn’t love eggs? Eggs are probably one the the reasons why I don’t think I’d ever be able to go on a fully vegan diet. It’s amazing how many varieties of dishes we can make using the eggs as a side or main ingredient. So put your hands up if you love eggs!
To be perfectly honest, boiled eggs are my least favourite from all of the basic ways to cook eggs. Since I like a runny yolk, my absolute go-to would be sunny-side up eggs (with browned, crispy edge that gives a certain nutty flavour to the white) and/or poached eggs. I guess it’s now safe to say that the recipe that I will be sharing tonight has changed the way I see boiled eggs. Now, if you’re like me and this recipe doesn’t convert you, then I don’t know what will!
Here’s a great way to turn boring and plain-old boiled eggs into a spectacular appetizer or side dish at home. The East Timorese version of Balado is an adaptation of the original Indonesian Spicy Eggs, known as Telur Balado. Balado is a popular snack that you can find being sold, usually by children, all over the streets of East Timor. If you want a flavourful egg dish where the sauce penetrates all the way into the inside, then you really want to develop a fried and crispy skin to your eggs. Likewise, you can serve this dish with a fried egg or sunny-side up, but tradition calls for boiled eggs.
On the streets for just 25 cents, you get a fried, hard-boiled accompanied by a bold sour and spicy chilli sauce, called Ai Manas. Ai Manas is the heart of every East Timorese food. It’s very famous all over the country and comes with many regional varieties that vary according to taste. Green or red chillies often make up the bulk of the ingredients of the paste. The chilies are grounded along with lime or lemon rind and juice, ginger, onions, and several other local spices. Even a teaspoon of this sauce is enough to fire up any meal. Thai chillies are usually used for this sauce, which can be significantly hot for some. Use what you like and can tolerate.
PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 6
- 6 large free-range eggs
For the spicy chilli sauce
- 8-10 pc red bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1-2 tsp white granulated sugar (optional)
- Handful of Thai basil, roughly chopped
- Salt, to taste
- Small thumb-sized ginger, grated
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Ai Manas: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chillies, garlic, and red onion into a rough paste.
- Follow with the grated ginger, lemon zest, and a pinch of the basil leaves. Continue to pound and season with a touch of salt. Add in the lemon juice and give it a good mix. Taste and adjust to your liking.
I had to add about a teaspoon or two of white granulated sugar to balance the spice and tang of the sauce. You don’t have to add it if you’re alright with the level of sour and spice.
- Once done, add the rest of the chopped basil leaves to the sauce, mix, and then set aside.
- Balado: To boil the eggs, heat a medium-sized pot of water (enough to cover all the eggs) over high heat until boiling. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and carefully place the eggs in the pot using a ladle to prevent them from cracking.
- Depending on your preference, boil for 5 minutes for soft-boiled eggs, 7 minutes for medium eggs, or 10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. Take note that you’ll be cooking the eggs again, so I would recommend you go for soft or medium eggs if you don’t like over-cooked boiled eggs as a result.
- While the eggs are cooking, prepare an ice bath* by combining ice and tap water in a large bowl. Once the eggs are cooked, immediately transfer them to the ice bath to cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Peel the eggs and make sure to pat them dry if you don’t want them to explode while frying.
- Heat oil, enough to submerge an egg for deep frying, in a medium-sized pot over medium high. Carefully lower the eggs into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess grease.
- Serve the fried boiled egg with the spicy chilli sauce and enjoy while hot!
*The ice bath will cool the eggs quickly and stop the cooking process. The ice water will also cause the egg to contract and pull away from the shell, which will make it easier to peel.
– Ally xx