Thai Fried Egg Salad – Yam Khai Dao (ยำไข่ดาว)

thai recipe
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.

thai fried eggs
The only thing about this salad that takes any effort at all is the frying of the quail eggs. Cracking 24 tiny, tiny eggs can be a pain in the neck.

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 salad recipe
Thai Fried Egg Salad (Yam Khai Dao ยำไข่ดาว)
Serves 2
Printable Version

thai egg salad
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.

15 Responses to Thai Fried Egg Salad – Yam Khai Dao (ยำไข่ดาว)

  1. Kelly @ EvilShenanigans December 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    I love quail eggs! There is a hamburger place in Fort Worth run by Tim Love (he was on Top Chef Masters) and his Love Burger has a sunny side up quail egg on it. Holy Awesome Burger, Batman! The salad sounds lovely. There is something about deep fried eggs … Yum! Ever cook eggs in hot bacon fat? We do that down here in Texas when we are feeling naughty (or evil!). The eggs look the same, and taste fantastic!

  2. Jenn December 1, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    I don’t think I’ve had quail eggs yet. I’ve definitely seen them before. I think a salad is order after all that eating from the weekend.

  3. doggybloggy December 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    when I am not popping the yolks into hot sake I am not sure what I think of when I see quail eggs – great dish!

  4. Arwen from Hoglet K December 1, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    I can definitely taste this one in my minds mouth 🙂 It looks lovely, and the textures of the eggs sound almost worth the spatter.

  5. 5 Star Foodie December 2, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    I’ve had quail eggs dining out and love them! I wish I could find some to cook with! Your dish with mini eggs looks so good, I’m totally drooling here!

  6. Rick December 2, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    Interesting, deep fried eggs…I have to think abot this one…

  7. OysterCulture December 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    I have a button and this sounds delicious! Can’t wait to give it a try because that description had my mind’s mouth a salivating.

  8. we are never full December 5, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    such an interesting combo of flavors. i’m curious to taste a quail egg and compare it to a regular egg. i love my fried egg crispy and i’m SO trying the bacon fat next time.

  9. Errin December 6, 2009 at 7:39 pm #

    I don’t think this sounds strage at all…I think it sounds amazing!

  10. lola August 13, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    I loved yum khai dao so much when I was in Thailand.. I lived there for four years.. I had this recipe every Saturday.. Really delicious! However, I have started to omit eggs in my diet for health reasons. Do you have a vegan-version for this recipe? Thanks for sharing!

  11. Leela August 13, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    lola – To make a “yam,” you can pretty much replace the fried eggs with anything and instead of “yam fried eggs,” it will be “yam (that thing).” To mimic the crunch of the fried eggs, you can use tempura vegetables (use mild-flavored vegetables): mushrooms, cauliflower, etc. Batter-fried tofu chunks would work too.

  12. Flavia October 3, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    I justt can’t get over your blog, and this quail egg salad is simply genius, I never know what to do with quail eggs….


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