This is one of those recipes that seems to have bounced around the Far East. Malaysia got it from Indonesia. The Indonesians probably got it from Thailand - who were most likely influenced by Chinese cooking.
In Thailand this recipe is known as Son-in-Law Eggs. It is alleged that mothers-in-law serve this up to prospective sons-in-law as a reminder of what might happen if they fail their wives . . . unlikely but rather funny. (Personally, I don't think Thai mothers would be quite that rude.) I think it is more likely that it is a symbol of fertility and other things egg-shaped that men tend to value quite highly!
Either way, sweet and sour egg sambal (sambal telur) is delicious. Who knew that deep-frying a hard-boiled egg (so that the outside becomes bubbly and crisp) and then serving it with a spicy sauce could be so amazing? I didn't but now I have seen the light.
Skill level: Easy but messy (the oil tends to splutter quite a bit!)
veg oil for deep-frying
8 hard-boiled eggs
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp palm sugar
2 tbsp ketjap manis (or dark soy sauce)
half tsp tamarind paste or juice of 1 lime
fresh coriander and mint, chopped (to serve)
1 stalk of lemongrass
4-5 red chillies, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ tsp dried shrimp paste (belachan)
- Whizz the paste ingredients up in a blender. (Add a splash of water if the paste is very stiff).
- Deep fry the hard-boiled eggs until lightly browned. (The outside of the eggs will become slightly bobbly.)
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Add the paste and fry gently for 1 minute or so until begins to colour and releases its fragrance.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and tamarind paste or lime juice. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce and a splash of water if very thick.
- Add the deep-fried eggs and stir well to coat.
- Serve immediately with a few chopped herbs.