Itlog na maalat (Filipino for salty egg) or itlog na pula (Filipino for red egg) is not something that I can get from my local Morrisons, Tesco or Sainsbury’s. And I missed it terribly. I missed just being able to pop down to the market and buy a couple of eggs, one-fourth kilo of tomatoes and run back home and pick a few basil leaves from my dad’s garden.
It’s one of the simplest Filipino dishes ever. You just cut the salted duck eggs (they’re hard-boiled) into cubes, cube the tomatoes, chop the basil leaves finely and mix them together. It’s a great accompaniment to rice and fried fish or a roasted chicken or roasted pork (liempo to us Pinoys). Sometimes, when I can’t think of what to cook to accompany my rice, this is the quickest viand to put together, no cooking required. Since I’ve moved to the UK, I’ve made variations. I’ve added an onion in the mix. Another version of this salad is to add dill (fresh or dried) instead of basil.
I can’t go down to Chinatown in London all the time or head to the Filipino store in Colchester. It’s not every day that I can get duck eggs but I daresay, it’s easier to get duck eggs from somewhere than it is to go down to London! So I had to find out how to make my own salted eggs. And this is the recipe. It’s the one that works for me best.
As found in: http://www.lilligren.com/homestead/duckeggs.htm
1 dozen duck eggs (any breed of duck will work)
1 to 1-1/2 cups of sea salt
5 cups water
1 gallon glass or plastic container
What you should do:
1. To make the brine solution, dissolve salt in warm water.
2. Wash eggs thoroughly and put them in the container.
3. Pour in the brine solution. Cover the container with a towel.
4. Let stand at room temperature for 30 days. Turn the eggs every 4 days.
5. After 30 days, remove the eggs from the brine solution. Wash with water.
6. Cook the eggs by boiling in water for 30 minutes.
BUT if you can’t wait for the 30 days, you can do this:
1. Boil the eggs in the brine solution.
2. Make a fresh batch of the brine solution. Peel cooked duck eggs. Place them in the fresh brine solution and soak for 24 hours.
**Note that it won’t turn out as good as the ones made to soak for 30 days, but sometimes, instant gratification is good too! 🙂 I also don’t use that many eggs (I did 2 for my tomato salad)! So the brine solution can be scaled down to about 3 tbsp of salt to 500ml of water is good 🙂