Son-in-Law Eggs: Thai Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs in Tamarind Sauce Recipe (2024)

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Sour, sweet, and salty, this dish represents what people love about Thai cuisine.


Leela Punyaratabandhu

Leela Punyaratabandhu

Leela Punyaratabanhu is a food writer, recipe developer, and award-winning author specializing in Thai cooking. She has written three cookbooks: Simple Thai Food, Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill, and Bangkok, which won the 2018 Art of Eating Prize.

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Updated December 05, 2022


Son-in-Law Eggs: Thai Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs in Tamarind Sauce Recipe (1)

Why It Works

  • Palm sugar, fish sauce, and tamarind pulp combine to make a complex and deeply-flavorful sauce that's sweet, salty, and sour.
  • A garnish of fried shallots and sliced chiles add both crunch and just a touch of heat to the finished dish.

What's with thenameof this dish? Is that what you're thinking? Well, even if you aren't, I'll tell you about it anyway.

And here's what I can tell you:I have no flippin' clue.

Interviews with my Thai friends and family members have yielded various conjectures regarding the origin of this dish's name. They range from the laughably absurd to the yeah-maybe-but-nahh.

But the conclusion is thatnobody knows.True, it's probably unfair for me to base this conclusion on a small sample of people whose intelligence may be called into question based solely on the fact that they either share my genes or consider me a friend. But, really, I doubt anyone else is any more or less clueless about this name issue than these people.

Son-in-Law Eggs: Thai Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs in Tamarind Sauce Recipe (2)

Out of all the conjectures, two stand out as the most plausible. Okay,fine. They're not the most plausible; I just like them more than the rest.

One theory rests on the golden color of the hard-boiled eggs that have been deep-fried and thoroughly doused in a deep golden-colored sauce. With the Thai culture being quite entrenched in symbolism, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that the golden color, which reminds one of actual gold, is linked to wealth, something the parents of a woman naturally hope for in their future son-in-law.

Son-in-Law Eggs: Thai Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs in Tamarind Sauce Recipe (3)

It's actually the other theory that I really like. It paints a much grimmer, or shall I say more gruesome, picture. But that's precisely what makes it appealing. The Thai word for "egg" (as in the kind of egg laid by the female of various species) is the same as the word for the, uh, male reproductive glands that come in pairs.

Now visualize an egg—and we're going to be ambiguous as to where exactly in the semantic range of the word this occurrence of "egg" falls—being boiled, deep-fried until blistered and browned all over, whacked in half with a cleaver or methodically andslowlysliced open with a sharp chef's knife (possibly with the slicer laughing maniacally while slicing), then having a sticky sauce poured on top of it in the manner of hot melted asphalt on the surface of your new driveway.

Son-in-Law Eggs: Thai Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs in Tamarind Sauce Recipe (4)

"Here's what's going to happen to you, boy, if you mistreat our daughter," seems to be the message that the parents of a woman want to send their future son-in-law. If the guy doesn't run away in terror, with his hands covering the part where his pant inseams meet, then I guess that guy is considered worthy of the daughter.

All you really need to know is thatson-in-law eggs are very loved by the Thai people.It's one of those down-home dishes you don't usually find at fancy restaurants in Thailand; you find them mostly at no-frills rice-curry shops or school cafeterias. For sure, you hardly ever find them at a Thai restaurant in North America.

Son-in-Law Eggs: Thai Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs in Tamarind Sauce Recipe (5)

It's a dish worth trying or at least being familiar with, for it captures so very wellthe sour, salty, sweet flavors associated with traditional Thai foodwithout the burning heat that is often mistaken as the necessary component of "authentic" Thai cuisine.

If you have some leftover hard-boiled eggs from this past weekend and you've run out of fresh ideas on how to use them, make son-in-law eggs. Clarity on the origin of the name is not a prerequisite to enjoying this classic Thai dish.

April 2012

Recipe Details

Son-in-Law Eggs: Thai Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs in Tamarind Sauce Recipe

Active20 mins

Total30 mins

Serves4 servings


  • 3 large shallots, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for deep frying

  • 8 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

  • 1/2 cup very finely-chopped palm sugar, packed or 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup Thaifish sauce

  • 2 tablespoonsprepared tamarind pulp

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 2 red jalapeño peppers or half a red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into slivers, for garnish

  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Add sliced shallots and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil to a small skillet set on low heat (it is imperative that you add the shallots to cold oil lest they burn before crisping up). Stirring constantly, cook shallots until they are golden brown and crispy. With a slotted spoon, transfer fried shallots to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.

  2. Add enough oil to a medium saucepan so that it comes up about 2 inches high. Place pot on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, gently drop hard-boiled eggs into it. Stir eggs around to ensure even browning. Once egg exteriors are thoroughly browned, fish them out with a slotted spoon, slice them in half with a serrated knife, and arrange halved eggs on a serving platter.

  3. Discard oil from the skillet in which you fried the shallots and set the skillet on medium heat. Add sugar, fish sauce, tamarind, and water to it; bring mixture to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Once sugar has fully dissolved, check for consistency. The sauce should have the consistency of maple syrup. If at this point the sauce is still too thin, reduce it a bit more. If it is too thick, add a little more water to thin it out. Once you have the desired consistency, remove skillet from heat and pour sauce over prepared eggs.

  4. Sprinkle fried shallots over the top of the eggs. Garnish with red pepper slivers and cilantro leaves. Serve son-in-law eggs with steamed jasmine rice.


It's more traditional to use palm sugar. But if you don't have it, brown sugar can be used to create very similar results. The one component that should not be left out, however, is the fried shallots.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
29g Fat
23g Carbs
15g Protein


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g37%
Saturated Fat 5g23%
Cholesterol 373mg124%
Sodium 1547mg67%
Total Carbohydrate 23g9%
Dietary Fiber 2g7%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 8mg39%
Calcium 92mg7%
Iron 2mg12%
Potassium 384mg8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Son-in-Law Eggs: Thai Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs in Tamarind Sauce Recipe (2024)


What is fried boiled eggs with tamarind sauce? ›

Locally known as "Kai Look Keuy" or Thai son-in-law eggs, this dish is made by deep-frying soft-boiled eggs to achieve a chewy texture, which is complemented by the crunchiness of fried shallots. The eggs are then coated with the homemade tamarind sauce, which adds a sweet and sour flavor.

Why are they called son-in-law eggs? ›

Other Names. In Thai legend, a protective mother's subtle devices led to the creation of son-in-law eggs, or kai look keuy. Upon learning that her daughter wasn't being treated well by her son-in-law, the concerned parent fried up two hard-boiled eggs as a warning.

Why do people put hard-boiled eggs in sauce? ›

They are a creamy, protein-filled addition to the meal. It adds a surprising richness.

What the heck is a tamarind? ›

Tamarinds are a versatile fruit featured in all kinds of global cuisines. By utilizing the distinctively sweet and tangy flavor of these fruits, you can bring new life to your favorite savory and aromatic dishes. As great as tamarinds are, many people know very little about the tasty fruit.

What is the best sauce for fried eggs? ›

9 Delicious Sauces That Go Great with Eggs!
  • Hot Sauce. Fair warning: if you've never tried putting hot sauce on your eggs before, the rest of this list might end up being a little too intense for you! ...
  • Salsa. ...
  • Hollandaise Sauce. ...
  • Béarnaise Sauce. ...
  • Béchamel Sauce. ...
  • Ketchup. ...
  • Steak Sauce. ...
  • Pesto.
Sep 18, 2023

Why do Koreans love eggs? ›

Koreans believe eggs are a nutritious food, and often enjoy them hard-boiled for breakfast, in lunchboxes or even as a quick snack. In ancient times, eggs were actually hard to come by for regular peasants, and as such were usually reserved for children and head of the family.

Are there girl eggs and boy eggs? ›

It is formed when a sperm fertilizes an egg. There are male and female sperm, so by the very act of the zygote being formed, its sex was determined. An egg does not become fertilized and then choose what it is going to be. It is fertilized to be either male or female.

What do you call the mother of your son-in-law? ›


A mother-in-law is the mother of a person's spouse. Two women who are mothers-in-law to each other's children may be called co-mothers-in-law, or, if there are grandchildren, co-grandmothers.

What makes a good son-in-law? ›

Thus, the son-in-law should be a man who can take care of the daughter with at least a portion of the love of the father. A good son-in-law is one who respects his in-laws as he respects his parents. Never talk ill about his wife's family. No “your parents” and “my parents”, but “our parents”.

What sauce is good with hard-boiled eggs? ›

Condiments – mustard, soy sauce, hot sauce, or salad dressing add easy flavor to eggs.

What makes hard-boiled eggs better? ›

14 minutes is a bit long, I think; 10 minutes total boiling time will produce a less rubbery white and a creamy yolk, if you plunge the eggs into cold water immediately. Also crack the shells immediately after putting the eggs in cold water.

What is tamarind sauce made of? ›

It has got Tamarind, Jaggery ( No refined sugar), water and ground spice powders. Serve this Tamarind Dipping Sauce with your favorite appetizers like Onion Bhaji or Vegetable Pakora or even Samosa's. It is also delicious to serve with Chaat recipes ( Indian street food ).

What is Indian tamarind sauce made of? ›

The tamarind fruit is first boiled until it becomes soft, and then the pulp is extracted and strained to remove the seeds and fibres. The resulting paste is then combined with various other ingredients such as sugar, salt, chili powder, and other spices to create a flavourful brown chutney.

What is tamarind paste made of? ›

The fruit comes from the tamarind tree and is cocooned inside seed pods. It has a date-like texture and is crushed to make tamarind paste or a less-diluted tamarind concentrate. The fruit can also be extracted from fresh pods or purchased in chunks. It is a culinary staple in the Caribbean, India, Thailand, and Mexico.

What is tamarind sauce similar to? ›

A popular alternative is to use lime juice (or sometimes white wine or rice vinegar) mixed with an equal quantity of light brown sugar as a substitute for tamarind.


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