This Thai recipe is said to have come about as a way for a mother to let her abusive son-in-law know what might happen to his ‘parts’ if he kept it up. It’s an interesting and impressive starter that would be great to serve before any Asian main. The eggs ideally should be fried just before serving to ensure they stay crispy and the yolk stays runny, but if you are really pushed, you could cook them ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven as it is more traditional for the yolks to be hard. Cut them in half just before serving though. They are also nice served wrapped in iceberg lettuce with lots of fresh herbs.

6 small eggs
2 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup thai basil leaves
2 tbsp fried shallots

200g palm sugar, shaved
100ml water
2 birds eye chilies, seeds removed, finely diced
2 finger-length red chilies, finely diced
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice

  1. CHILI CARAMEL SAUCE: Place the palm sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook until it begins to turn brown, about 10 minutes. Continue to cook until a medium caramel colour. Remove from heat. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Sauce will keep for up to 3 days.
  2. Place the eggs in a saucepan full of cold water. Bring to the boil and cook until soft boiled, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and plunge into cold water to stop them cooking. Once cool, peel the eggs and place on paper towel to drain.
  3. Heat the oil in a small, deep saucepan until it reaches 180C. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the temperature with a cube of bread. Bread should not brown immediately but brown slowly over a a minute or so.
  4. When the oil is hot enough, fry the eggs until crispy and golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.
  5. Slice the eggs in half and place on a serving plate. Drizzle with the chili caramel sauce and sprinkle with the fresh herbs and fried shallots before serving.

Serves 6 as a starter