What’s Balut you ask? Well it is a fertilized egg. Usually duck, but today we’ll be enjoying the chicken variety! Its most common in Southeast Asia and is considered a delicacy in the western world. I’m not a fan of the duck ones because they’re a lot bigger and tend to have a more rich flavour. The chicken ones are smaller and the flavour is a bit more tame.
You can usually pick these up at your local asian store. They’ll usually have a check, or a marker on each one and are sold by the tray instead of a carton. You bring them home, wash them and cook just like any other egg. They’ll need to cook for about 15-20 minutes on the stove.
I suggest any vegetarian readers look away, or click to this post for some foodporn you might enjoy!
To go with the balut we make a lime, salt & pepper sauce. Its essentially just a teaspoon of pepper, half a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of sugar and enough lime juice to turn it all into liquid. I would not recommend substituting the lime for lemon juice, there is a huge flavour difference! Adjust the seasoning depending on if you prefer it more sour, salty or peppery. We also have a few sprigs of herbs such as mint, cilantro, thai basil, and culantro.
Start off with an empty bowl and a teaspoon. With the exterior side of the teaspoon bang the fat side of the egg a few times. Once it’s all crushed, used your fingers to peel off the cracked bits and create an opening at the top. Do not peel the entire egg. Once you’ve revealed the surface of the egg and have peeled off the thin layer that encases the egg (shown above), pour out the liquid into the bowl – some people choose to just sip the liquid/broth right out of the shell, but I’m too clumsy to do this without spilling everything onto my lap. The liquid you’re pouring out is what I call natures chicken stock. It has an enormous amount of flavour and you definitely want to keep it!
Next, using your teaspoon, scoop out the rest of the egg through the hole you just made. Discard the shell and pour about a teaspoon of the sauce over the whole thing.
Everything you have in your bowl right now is completely edible. For me, I like it when the embryo hasn’t fully formed yet. When I was a kid, I would only eat the white and yellow parts. My pallet has evolved to the point where I can eat the whole thing now. Unless of course I have made eye contact with the embryo or I can see feathers on the wing, then it’s game over and my dad gets the honour of eating my share.
The white part is the most common favourite. It’s hard and crunchy like cartilage and doesn’t have much flavour. It’s enjoyed mainly because of its texture. The yellow part taste similar to the yoke except it isn’t as chalky and resembles more of a creamy almost mousse like texture. It’s flavour is rich like a yolk.
Try it out sometime and let me know what you think!