Kwek-kwek made of quail eggs coated with an orange batter and deep-fried to golden perfection. This popular Filipino street food is fun to eat and delicious served with spicy vinegar or special dipping sauce.
Hello, everyone! I apologize for being MIA the last few weeks. I am in the Philippines right now, and between people to see and places to go, I haven’t been able to do blog work.
Also, the internet connection here at my mom’s house has been a total headache. I’d be in the middle of posting a recipe, and it’d die out on me so to save myself from further frustration, I thought I’d enjoy my vacation and make it up to you when I get back to the U.S.
Today, however, I am breaking my R&R to bring you this updated kwek-kwek recipe. I posted my version of these battered quail eggs in 2013, but I learned a new (and better) way to make them during this trip.
I went on a street food spree with a couple of friends a few days ago, and we had our fill of fish balls, inihaw pork ears, adidas, and of course, tokneneng, and kwek-kwek. I am not sure if it was because of the thrill of eating food on the street, but everything we ate was terrific!
Fortunately, the vendor was easy to bribe with kind words. I said the kwek-kwek was the best I’ve ever tasted, and she eagerly parted with her trade secrets, which I, of course, happily took notes of. 🙂
Since the quail eggs are the star of the show here, please check out the tips below on how to cook hard-boiled eggs and how to easily peel them. If you want to save yourself a few minutes of prep time, feel free to use canned quail eggs available at most Asian supermarkets.
How to Cook Hard-Boiled Quail Eggs
- In a pot, place eggs and enough water to cover. Cook over high heat until the water begins to simmer.
- Once the water begins to simmer, gently roll the eggs with a fork or chopsticks. Rolling the eggs around will help the yolks move to the center.
- Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and cover the pot for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the pot and rinse with cold water to completely cool.
- When cool, place the eggs in a soup bowl and place another soup bowl on top. Carefully shake the eggs in the bowls a few times to crack the shells.
- Once cracks have formed, place the eggs in a bowl of water. The water will seep between the egg and the thin skins, making peeling easier.
- Peel the shells, and any thin film stuck on the eggs. Use in the recipe.
Tips on How to Make Kwek-Kwek
- My previous recipe was a little bit more elaborate with baking powder and beaten eggs added to the batter along with atsuete powder for color and chicken base, salt, and pepper for flavor. This version below that I learned from the vendor only has flour, water, salt, pepper, orange food coloring, and one key ingredient–> MAGIC SARAP!
- Orange food coloring is traditionally used to give the kwek-kwek their characteristic hue. Feel free to substitute atsuete powder if you prefer a natural color enhancer.
- The wet mixture should thick but flow like a pancake batter. I find 1 cup of water to 1 cup of flour to be the perfect ratio. Add the water to the flour mixture slowly, whisking vigorously as you pour.
- One of the tips the vendor told me is to let the batter stand for about 4 to 5 hours before using. I tested this step by using half the batter immediately and letting the remaining half stand for 5 hours. Although the 5-hour did have a better texture when fried, the difference is not that remarkable to warrant a long wait.
- The battered eggs are best when deep-fried; make sure the amount of oil is deep enough to cover the eggs fully during frying.
- Check your oil temperature and maintain at the optimal 350 to 375 F range. Too hot and the batter will burn before sufficiently cooked; too low and the eggs will absorb a lot more grease.
- Do not overcrowd the pan to keep the temperature from plummeting. Fry in batches as needed and make sure to bring the temperature back to 350 F before adding the next round.
- Don’t drain the fried eggs on paper towels as the escaping steam will make the breading soggy. For best texture, drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to catch oil drips.
Kwek-kwek are so fun to eat and tastes extra delicious dipped in a spicy vinegar or sweet and spicy fishball sauce. Choice your favorite below!
How to Make Spicy Vinegar Dip
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon chopped chili peppers.
- Over medium heat, bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
How to Make Sweet and Spicy Kwek-Kwek Sauce
- In a saucepan, combine 2 cups water, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup fresh minced garlic, 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots, 1 tablespoon chopped chili pepper, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir well until well blended and free of lumps.
Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring regularly, for about 3 to 5 minute or until thickened. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.
- Transfer to an airtight container and use as a dipping sauce.