Remember that one post I made about Papa Tejada’s Tapsilog and how it is such an iconic Tejada breakfast? Well, I have another Filipino iconic breakfast item that I am SUPER EGG-CITED to share it with you all.
But before that, it’s storytime (unless you want to skip to the recipe and miss all the tips, click here):
My earliest memory of encountering salted eggs was when I opened the fridge one day and saw this vibrant selection of fuschia eggs sitting in a clear plastic carton. Little ol’ me was enchanted by the color. I mean, how often do you wake up one day and see fuschia eggs in your fridge?
Without a second thought, I grabbed two eggs to make myself some scrambley eggs. I took one of our yellow and navy blue-rimmed bowls to whisk my eggs, picked up an egg, and tapped it against the counter… That was odd. I didn’t crack enough. So then I tapped HARD and to my bewilderment, this was a boiled egg?! What? Well, I guess I’ll have hard-boiled eggs for breakfast.
I begin to peel the egg and it’s just not peeling right! What was wrong with this egg. So I asked my mom and boy, did I get an earful. I didn’t understand most of it though since I am not fluent in Tagalog, which is a good thing in this case. After going off, my mom explained to me that these are Filipino salted eggs.
Itlog na maalat a.k.a. salted eggs are exactly what they sound like. However, in Filipino cuisine, the most common way to eat it is with chopped tomatoes, meat, and of course, rice. To be honest, it’s my favorite way to enjoy a salted egg. Now, I know in other cuisines it is enjoyed as a topping in congee or chao, but today it’s all about introducing this as a new breakfast staple the Filipino way.
The key to making good salted eggs is time. The longer you let them sit in the brine, the saltier it will be. Of course, if you take them out of the brine too early, your eggs will not only be bland, but the texture will be all wrong. The texture you need for the perfect salted egg is an oily yolk.
To start, you’re going to need to find a large glass or plastic jar with a wide mouth. The best place to find a super cheap one would be at a Korean grocery store like H-Mart because they have those big jars for making kimchi. If not, I am sure Target, Walmart, or Amazon will have one, it just may not be as cheap at $6. I opted for a gallon jar, which I recommend if you are looking to make a lot of salted eggs.
For the eggs, duck eggs aren’t easy to find for some people. Don’t fret, chicken eggs will do just as well and are cheaper. Again, if you live near an Asian grocery store, you will be able to find duck eggs. Maybe you’ll find salted duck eggs! But don’t think about that, think about how much of a fun project this will be instead. Just keep in mind that if you are using duck eggs, you may have to keep them in the brine for much longer than chicken eggs.
Once you’ve found your jar and eggs, it’s time to make the supersaturated solution/brine and you’re going to need a WHOLE LOT of salt. Depending on the number of eggs you have, you may need EVEN MORE salt. A good salt-water ratio to follow is 100 grams of salt to 2 cups of water. For 6 duck eggs, I recommend making a brine with 200 grams of salt to 4 cups of water. I was making 12 duck eggs and an additional 6 chicken eggs for my boyfriend’s mom so you already know I needed much more than that.
If you find yourself with a little extra salt solution, do not throw it out! Use it to fill up a small Ziploc or plastic bag and help submerge the eggs.
Now you may be thinking, “well this is just way too basic… I could’ve figured it out myself!” Well, I will have you know that’s the point – it’s meant to be easy! If you want to add more pizzazz, I have seen other people add peppercorns and/or rice vinegar, but sometimes you just don’t have those in your pantry. Again, don’t fret… Salt is all you need, baby.
One last MAJOR TIP I have before you run off and make these eggs is to steam these eggs instead of boiling after they’ve been sitting in the brine. This helps ensure that they don’t break while they boil, which honestly happens to me all the time. I happened to have one of those egg steamers, so if you have one too, you’ve just found another recipe for it.
- 6 duck or chicken eggs
- 4 cups of water
- 200 grams of salt
Please refer to notes at the bottom
- Prepare the brine. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Gradually add the salt while stirring.
- Cool the brine to room temperature. If not cooled properly, the eggs will cook in the residual heat.
- Wash the eggs and place them in a wide-mouthed jar.
- Before pouring the brine, fill a Ziploc or small plastic bag with brine and seal it tight. This will help submerge the eggs. Carefully place the bag on top of the eggs, then slowly pour the rest of the brine into the jar.
- Let the eggs sit in the brine in a cool, dark place.* Do not place them in the refrigerator.**
- Steam or boil the eggs. Steaming prevents breaking, but boiling will do. To test the saltiness, cook just one egg and let the eggs sit in the brine if not salty enough.***
- Store the eggs in the fridge.
- To serve, pierce the salted egg in the middle with a sharp knife and cut the egg in half. Use a spoon to scoop the egg out.
- Enjoy it as a side with diced tomatoes and/or chilis, grilled meat (highly recommend tocino) or fish, and some fresh white rice for breakfast.
*For duck eggs, I recommend waiting at least 28 days. If using chicken eggs, you can test the saltiness as early as 21 days. If the eggs are not salty enough, let them sit for another 3-5 days.
**If placed in the refrigerator, make sure you place a dark-colored tea towel over the jar. You will also have to take the eggs out and bring them to room temperature before cooking. They will break if they are cold.
*** To make the iconic vibrant fuschia eggs, put about 2-3 drops of red food coloring into the water while boiling them. This method will not work for steaming.