I promised myself that I will improve on the salted egg sauce from the earlier Salted Egg Crayfish recipe. For that recipe, I used salted egg yolks which were steamed and mashed, along with pumpkin puree, no additional liquid, and too much evaporated milk. The result? Too thick, creamy and buttery, and I couldn’t really taste the salted eggs nor feel its texture.
Yesterday, I decided to practise some more. I had suspected that steaming the egg yolks beforehand would take away some of the flavour and all of its texture, so I worked with raw yolks today. Instead of steaming, I cracked the egg yolks into a dish and tried as much as I could to mash them with a fork. Because raw salted egg yorks are firm, sticky and ‘gluey’, you’ll need to get a spoon ready to scrape them off the fork back into the dish, then repeat. You don’t have to spend a life time doing it – we’ll still need to break them up some more in the wok. Cooking the egg yolks directly in the wok without the extra step of steaming them = more salted egg flavour and a more sandy texture – the way it should be.
Another thing I did differently was add more liquid. Although I loved the taste and fragrance of evaporated milk, adding it without a good water:evaporated milk ratio results in not much gravy to speak of. I had a bowl of chicken stock on standby and added it bit by bit til the consistency was right. I would say the addition of stock made a huge difference to the dish.
With more liquid, adding evaporated milk became a less stressful affair. I didn’t have to worry about the sauce clumping up because I know I can add more chicken stock if I had to. This recipe is pretty straightforward. In short: fry curry leaves and chilli padi in butter and oil, add salted egg yolks and break them up with your spatula, add chicken stock bit by bit, followed by the evaporated milk and sugar, do a taste test at this point, and finally toss in your crispy squid.
I am pretty happy with this version. The flavour of the salted egg yolks was not overpowered by the butter and evaporated milk, and I simply loved the sandy texture.. as you break down each morsel of salted egg in your mouth, the flavour becomes more and more intense and goes straight to your brain. This sauce will go great with fried chicken and prawns. Yums. I don’t really eat sotong. I should really have cooked this with juicy, fat prawns instead. What was I thinking? The husband almost licked the plate clean! He tan dio lor. I hope you like this, but please don’t eat this often. Deep fried squid, butter, salted eggs and evaporated milk too many times a month = a recipe for heart attack. Don’t do it! But since you won’t listen, what can I say but enjoy the recipe!