This dish is not commonly found in Thai restaurants but is incredibly easy to cook at home. At its core eggs are cracked into smoking hot oil and are shallow fried so that the edges and bottom get crispy, the whites puff out, yet the yolk remains runny and molten. It’s traditionally paired with Asian celery, but regular celery works fine, and everything is tossed together in a sweet, spicy and tart dressing, that’s both moreish and satisfying.
2 tbsp palm sugar
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp lime juice (half a lime)
1 plump garlic clove – peeled and thinly sliced
3 bird’s eye chillies – thinly sliced (add less or more depending on how spicy you like it)
Yum khai dao (serves 2 as a side dish or 1 as a meal)
2 large free range hen’s eggs
Vegetable oil for frying
Half a small white onion – thinly sliced with the grain of the onion
1 tomato – chopped roughly into eight
Small handful of coriander – leaf and stem roughly chopped
Small handful of Asian celery – stem thinly sliced and leaves picked (if you can’t find Asian celery then use the inner sticks of a celery head with the leaves)
Wild garlic flowers (optional – to garnish)
- Make the dressing by combining the palm sugar, water, fish sauce and lime juice. Mix everything well so that the palm sugar is completely dissolved. Add the sliced garlic and chillies. It should taste sweet, spicy and tart.
- Crack the eggs into ramekins ensuring not to break the yolks. Heat 2cm of vegetable oil in a pan, once the oil starts to smoke gently slide an egg into the hot oil. The egg will immediately start to spit, crackle and bubble so be careful. The whites will puff and develop large transparent bubbles, the bottom and edges will get brown and crispy – fry for around 1 minute. Flip the egg and allow to cook for a few seconds before transferring to absorbent paper to drain any excess oil. Repeat the process with the second egg.
- Add the sliced onion, tomato, celery and coriander to a mixing bowl with the dressing. Cut the eggs into quarters, trying to avoid cutting through the runny yolks. Add to the mixing bowl and gently toss everything together.
- Transfer to a plate and pour the dressing over. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.