Invariably, Yam Khai Dao (ยำไข่ดาว) or Thai fried egg salad is made out of fried chicken or duck eggs. I prefer to use quail eggs. When you use fried chicken or duck eggs, each fried egg needs to be cut into quarters to make it easier to eat. Once the quartered fried eggs are tossed in the dressing along with the other ingredients, the yolks get separated from their whites since they’ve been cut open. It’s not the worst thing in the world, and some people even prefer that since some the integrated yolks get mixed into the dressing which makes the dressing a bit creamier. I don’t.
I like each bite of this salad to be a perfect bite. This means each bite comprises a well-seasoned fried egg — naturally bite-sized — with the creamy yolk and the crispy-tender white together. The only way to achieve this is to use very small eggs so you won’t have to cut them up. Quail eggs are perfect for this.
Aesthetically, this also improves the salad. No messy, disintegrated fried eggs.
The frying isn’t that complicated, though. Fill an 8-inch nonstick skillet with about 1/2 cup of oil and put it over medium heat. You can fry 3-4 quail eggs at a time this way.
Thai Fried Egg Salad (Yam Khai Dao ยำไข่ดาว)
2 dozens quail eggs
1/4 medium red onion or 2 large shallots, sliced thinly
Half an English cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly (optional)
2 plum tomatoes, halved then cut into 1/4-inch slices (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar
2-3 fresh bird’s eye chilies, finely chopped
About 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
- Fry the quail eggs until the bottoms are crispy and the whites thoroughly cooked. If you want the yolks cooked, flip the eggs and continue to fry until the tops are just as crispy as the bottoms. Remove the eggs from the pan and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.
- In the meantime, make the dressing by mixing together the lime juice, fish sauce, and chilies.
- Arrange the fried eggs (and, if desired, tomato slices and the cucumber slices) on a serving plate. Strew the red onion slices all over the top.
- Drizzle the dressing all over the eggs. Top with cilantro leaves and serve immediately.