In the Philippines, Balut is a popular and traditional street food.
A fertilized Three-week-old duck or Chicken egg with an embryo on it and formed with all the normal appendages like the partially feathered wings, legs, beady eyes as well as the beak.
The slightly formed skeleton of the embryo is what gives the Balut its unique taste.
This food is boiled, served with spicy vinegar or rock salt, and is usually eaten at night.
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It’s not really known where Balut came from. However, this dish is common throughout Southeast Asia, particularly in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand , and Cambodia.
The method of making Balut is similar to that of the Chinese Maodan or Feathered egg in English which led some to think that Chinese people bring the food into the Philippines.
Balut is believed to be a potent aphrodisiac and cure for a hangover. Others eat it as a stand-alone meal due to its high level of nutrients.
It is a nutritious snack, high in protein and calcium.
How to make Balut
- 8 thick-shelled eggs
- 1 cup palay rice (unhusked rice)
- Select Duck or Chicken eggs by tapping the eggs with fingers to pull out eggs with cracks or thin-shelled. (Eggs with cracks have a hollow sound while thin-shelled have a brittle sound)
- Only thick-shelled eggs are used for balut making because these can withstand the stresses of egg placement and removal in cylindrical baskets called “toong”. These are open on both ends, 34 inches high and 21 inches in diameter; spaces around are filled with rice hull up to 4 inches from the brim. Ideally, eggs made into balut should not be older than five days from the time these phases are laid by ducks.
- Roast or heat palay to a temperature of 107 °F to 430 °C in an iron vat or cauldron. Remove palay when you can hold it in your hands.
- Eggs are then placed in the Toong, these are alternated with heated Palay bags. The number of heated palay bags is 1 for every egg bag. Placed Two (2) heated Palay bags on the bottom and 2 on the top level of the toong to ensure heat conservation. For every toong containing 10 layers of eggs, you would need 13 bags of roasted palay.
- Each Toong can hold 10 bags. Cover with just sacks to conserve heat further. Candling is the process of holding eggs against the hole of a lighted box in a dark room to separate infertile eggs from Fertile one. Infertile eggs are called Penoy; these are also boiled like Balut but fetch a lower price.
- First candling is done on the 11th day after eggs are placed in Toong, candling is again done on the 17th day to separate eggs with dead embryos (abnoy) and those that are ready to be sold as balut. Eggs with weak embryos take 18-20 days to be released, these are hard boiled and sold.
- Eggs intended for hatching are left in the balutan for 28 days when duckling will hatch. After 20 days palay bags are not heated anymore since embryos can generate enough heat to keep them warm.
- When using kerosene or electric incubators for hatching duck eggs, maintain a temperature of100°F and humidity from 55°F to 60° Do not hatch duck and chicken eggs together in 1 incubator as duck eggs require a different temperature and a higher rate of humidity. A pan of water kept in the bottom of the incubator helps maintain humidity level. During the incubation period, turn eggs at least 3 to 4 times a day to obtain a better percentage of hatchability.
- Clean hatching eggs with slightly moist, clean rag before storing to prevent contamination of the developing embryo, or newly hatched chicks.
Watch this Video from a Famous Vlogger who posted about Balut. Credit goes to the Owner of this Video.
Also check out this Lengua Estofado Recipe (Ox Tongue in Tomato Sauce)