Having eggs is as universal as drinking coffee or tea. They can be taken anytime of the day and have about the same line-up of choices from the menu as any hot beverage. North Americans are very particular about how they want their eggs cooked. It’s a bit peculiar and I don’t exactly know why. Eggs growing up were fried eggs; submerged in about a cup of oil to attain that crisp, brown outer colour while the yoke is still a bit runny. It’s eggs over medium fried on extremely high heat; and extremely greasy.
I’ve worked with eggs for a long time and once in a while I still work with them in the kitchen. I don’t miss doing eggs, but when this challege came up. experiences from the not so distant past emerged. Eggs were vital to my survival in the suburbs back when I was probably unconsciously or unwillingly pushed and forced out of the house by being subjected to quiet verbal abuse. Money became so tight that a ‘Balut Penoy’ was literally a golden egg. It sustained me in an evening downpour, floods, and typhoons before I was able to finally reach my then apartment for some real meal of rice. Every peso earned was saved and or spent to the last dime.
I vividly remember getting off the bus on the very busy intersection of the Bicutan interchange and encountering more ‘Egg’ delicacies. Rain was heavily pouring down and the carts or ‘caritons’ were all huddled up outside the gate of the village waiting for regular patrons heading home. Amongst those of the many street vendors shouting were the deep-fried eggs ‘station,’ as I recall. There were also peanuts, fishballs & kikiam, barbeque, siopao & siomai, noodles and pop in bottles (to be transferred in plastic with a straw) and even rice and ‘ulam’ wrapped in plastic bags.
I enjoyed picking on them despite the unsanitary and unhygienic preparation, but when you become desperate, anything on the street is as valuable as life itself. They command the taste of the masses and they can sustain the poor man’s soul throughout the day. For six months, I became one of those many hungry souls; living on a day-to-day basis just to prove that I can make it on my own. It was an emotional experience that never healed until now.
Almost all my friends back then were very well-supported by families after finishing university. Their families were there to support their careers and personal lives as clearly shown during my visits to their houses; despite age and financial background. And, surprisingly, I was driven away while others were trying to keep their families as intact as long as possible. Fun! I’ve never forgotten, and I pushed myself to be as far away as possible after that.
Anyway, this is my version of that deep-fried egg delicacy. I asked my Filipino friends from work what they were called, and was mistakenly and initially told the ‘Green’ version of the name of the dish until one finally blurted out that very familiar name: ‘Kwek-kwek.’ Sounds really romantic.
Red, Salted eggs/Hardboiled eggs/Balut Penoy
Canola Oil or Peanut Oil
Sprite or Carbonated Water
Curry or Turmeric
Green Onion or Scallions
Combine the batter mix and whisk gently.
Peel the eggs, wipe dry and lightly coat with flour. Soak them into the batter mixture and deep-fry until golden brown.
Drip dry on paper towel and serve with a vinegar condiment.
I combined two hardboiled eggs with two other salted eggs; just perfect for a late night snack.
Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.
Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.
“February being the month of Valentine’s and everything red makes me think of that one red ingredient, that can sometimes be a whole dish, that I absolutely love and miss eating. PULANG ITLOG (or itlog na maalat)” – Trish