Saturday, December 10, 2011

the incredible, edible itlog!

I was out at the grocery store the other day when I saw these trays of eggs. The trays were stacked one by one, in on the top of these trays were some eggs distinguished by the fact that they were purple. this is not a natural process. The eggs were dyed purple. I looked to the men at the register, and asked one of them," are those Filipino eggs?" he said yes.

The craving is not a simple craving. I didn't just look at those eggs and want to buy them. I started out knowing what they were, and realized I hadn't had them in a long time. These purple eggs are cured eggs. The way that they cure these eggs involves covering raw eggs in a mixture. Strangely on the Internet, many people have suggested that this process involves covering eggs in mud, but I found that's not necessary. Thing that makes these things unique, these cured eggs, is that there salty, very salty.

I also know that there is a satisfaction in being able to walk into the store, see the purple eggs, and buy them for my meal. I think the process of making them is more satisfying. I discovered that to make these eggs all I had to do was create a super brine of salts in water, and soak their eggs in the salty water for a long time. The salty water does all the work! I suppose that's why other people use mud. They cannot handle the simplicity of this project. They have to believe the mud is doing some work.

As a side note, I have to say that I'm kind of like these people who came out to watch a building being moved. The building was the old Montgomery hotel in downtown San Jose. It is on the books as being the heaviest structure to ever be moved on rubber wheels; the process was excruciatingly slow. You can't witness the process happening. So, when I take these eggs, and soak them in their brine, I take a quiet satisfaction knowing that I can wait for my salty eggs. This isn't like the Montgomery hotel. That building was moved in three hours! The salty eggs? This process takes two or three weeks at least. I don't have to watch the process happening.

So, to prepare the eggs, get a big container, enough to hold couple quarts of water. Dissolve a couple cups of salt into that water. Most recipes suggest boiling the water to dissolve the salt. Then, dump the raw eggs into the salty water, cover them with the cloth maybe, so is as to make sure the salting covers on all sides. Then wait. Hard boil the eggs after a couple weeks, and refrigerate.

I know. I know you want me to make this more complicated, make it more exciting. I know you don't believe the excitement is in the simplicity of it all. Regardless, I just say, use the eggs as needed.

I hear these eggs can be served with meat. That wasn't my experience. I had them serve with mangoes, tomatoes, onions and other vegetables. I know in my heart there's many ways to use these. I will not direct you this way. Note curing your eggs will extend their lifespan, and will disturb your cardiologist. This food is not advised for salt restricted diets. To this I say, "Serve them up, and enjoy."

Thank you for reading.


haze said...

Hi Keith, am back for the moment ! oh this post makes me want to go home ! I love so "maalat na itlog" ! Haven't eaten this for so fact, the best salty eggs are duck's eggs.

I remember my home economics subject in my high school years, I did a homemade itlog na maalat out of chicken eggs, so easy !

Hope you are well !

Keith said...

Haze-- My experience eating them in 2004 was probably with duck eggs. The eggs here in grocery stores and markets I am uncertain.

My simple efforts to replicate that experience involve chicken eggs. I do not even know where, or if, I could easily acquire duck eggs in San Jose.

Keith said...

I have barely explored the market for duck eggs online, and one company wanted to ship me 18 duck eggs for 54 USD (40 EUR). I do not want that type of expense for this endeavor. I know the other stacks in the grocery were balut eggs. I havve no confirmation whether the eggs on sale are duck or chicken eggs

Santa Cruz Nick said...

I've soaked hard boiled, shelled eggs in pickle brine and that can add a nice flavor. Vinegar brines make the eggs firmer than salt and water brines with no vinegar.