My late grandmother used to rear ducks in her backyard. We never went near them; they were stinky and noisy. But we knew that their eggs were good. Each time we visit, I’d always ask for her onion egg omelette, and it’s still one of my favourite dishes.
On Chinese New Year, the family would gather in my grandma’s house and everyone would be gambling. There were tables for adults, and sessions for the kids to slay indulgent uncles (if the kids lose, the uncles would return the money). In short, no one wanted to cook.
So, we all go round the corner to pack char keow teow for everyone – 15-20 packs. And in typical Penang fashion (in those days), we brought our own eggs. We brought duck eggs for our char keow teow, though I can’t recall if we ever had enough for everyone.
It was considered a treat for duck eggs are richer, and more delicious.
In Bukit Mertajam, Penang, there is a char keow teow stall famous for using duck eggs. The stall is a stand-alone on a dark-ish street, but the hawker does non-stop business. His char keow teow is different from the more famous Penang one; he uses lard and duck eggs to fry his char keow teow and that is a lethal combination. For the ultimate indulgence, order a duck egg sunny side up doused with the uncle’s yummy soya sauce.
Yet, I have never bought duck eggs. For one thing, I hardly see them or maybe I have just not been looking.
On a recent trip to the market in Raub, Pahang, duck eggs caught my eyes. And when an aspiring chef among us asked the makcik selling it for the teluk itik masak lemak (duck egg with coconut milk) recipe, it got me interested. That young culinary student went back to the Raub resthouse and cooked the dish, and it was so delicious.
I went back to the market and bought 5 duck eggs – they are 60cents each, but they are bigger than chicken eggs. It took a few weeks before I got around to cook the cili masak lemak, and now I wondered why I waited so long.
Masak lemak cili padi is a Negeri Sembilan Minang specialty, and always gets my mouth watering. I like it with daging dendeng, fish with buah bacang and chicken. Duck egg is another good pairing because it can hold its own along the richness of the santan and the heat of the cili padi.
I used 10 chilli padi for my two duck eggs, and it was way too hot for me. My lips was literally burning by the middle of the meal, but I couldn’t stop piling on more rice so I could have more of the gravy. My lips actually felt swollen, and I actually had vanilla ice cream to cool down…but I am not complaining. Just warning that a few chilli padi actually goes a long way, or maybe I am just a wooz…oh well :=)
TELUR ITIK MASAK LEMAK CILI PADI
6 cili padi, or more according to your tolerance for chilli
turmeric, 1 inch
1 lemon grass, crushed
Thick coconut milk, from 1 coconut
2 kaffir lime leaves, optional
2 duck eggs
salt, to taste
Blend/pound the cili padi, shallots and turmeric until fine.
Put the blended ingredients in a pot with the lemon grass and coconut milk, and cook gently over a slow fire. Let it come to a boil gently so the coconut milk does not curdle.
When the mixture is bubbling, break the egg one by one into a ladle and gently lower it into the pot without breaking the yolk.
Remove from heat when the eggs are cooked.
Serve with hot rice, and lots of ice water.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: