Shu Han Lee's Son-In-Law Eggs

This recipe is an extract from Shu Han Lee's first cookbook Chicken and Rice. Read more about Southeast Asian cooking with Shu here.

There are lots of theories behind the name of this dish. My favourite one is that a Thai mother serves these deep-fried eggs to her future son-in-law as a passive-aggressive warning; if he doesn’t treat her daughter well, it will be his egg-shaped parts being used the next time. Stories aside, these eggs are some of my favourite things to make, especially as party appetizers. This dish is simple, but when done right, the flavours, textures and colours come together beautifully. The golden crispy jacket isn’t just for show; besides adding a wonderful ‘fried’ fragrance, it makes sure that the sweet and sour tamarind sauce doesn’t just slide off the otherwise smooth surface of the boiled egg.

 Ingredients Serves: 6

  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • Groundnut oil or lard, for frying

For the sauce

To serve

  • Fried shallots and shallot oil
  • 1 red chilli, thinly julienned
  • A handful of fresh coriander  


  1. First, to get perfectly cooked eggs: put room temperature eggs in a single layer in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil over a high heat, and once boiling, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water, covered, for exactly 6 minutes. Pour off the hot water and run the eggs under cold water until cool enough to handle. The whites will be firm but still quite fragile, so be careful when peeling.
  2. Heat about 5cm of oil in a wok. Pat the eggs dry. When the oil is shimmering hot, carefully slip the eggs in. Fry the eggs until golden on the outside, then drain and set aside on kitchen paper.
  3. To make the sweet and sour sauce for son-in-law eggs, soak the tamarind pulp in 2 tablespoons of hot water for 15 minutes, until softened, then massage and squeeze to get the juices from the pulp. Simmer the tamarind, fish sauce and sugar together, until well combined and slightly thickened. It should have the consistency of pancake syrup and taste sweet and sour. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  4. To serve, halve the eggs and pour the sauce over. Finish with a little drizzle of fried shallot oil and sprinkle with the fried shallots, shreds of chilli, and roughly torn coriander.
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