Kwek-kwek recipe & how to make tokneneng suka vinegar sauce

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  May 25, 2022

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Are you one of the many people around the globe that love eggs? If so, then you’ll surely fall in love with this kwek-kwek recipe!

Kwek-kwek is one of the favorite street foods not only among the students, but also the adults in the Philippines.

Actually, street food kiosks have even invaded the malls and there aren’t any without kwek-kwek in them! In fact, there are even some kiosks that sell kwek-kwek and tokneneng (another favorite street food) exclusively.

This Filipino food has become a favorite snack or to-go food for everyone.

So what are you waiting for? Read more to know how it’s made!

Kwek-Kwek Recipe (With Vinegar Dip)

What is kwek-kwek?

Most people wonder, “What is kwek-kwek made of?”

It’s a popular Filipino street food made of deep-fried quail eggs.

Basically, these are hardboiled quail eggs covered in a batter colored with orange food coloring. Then each boiled egg is deep-fried until the batter becomes crispy and crunchy.

The batter is made from annatto powder, flour, orange food coloring, and water. They’re also called “orange” eggs as a result of the food-colored batter.

Kwek-kwek is a similar Pinoy street food to its sister dish called tukneneng, which is the same dish but made with duck eggs.

Kwek-kwek recipe tips and preparation

This kwek-kwek recipe is very easy to get through, although a bit messy.

But trust me, the results will have your mouth watering. Quail eggs alone are already very delicious, so imagine if you add some flavor to them!

You’ll have to coat the eggs with batter before deep-frying them.

Of course, you’ve got to choose fresh eggs and good quality ingredients for the batter, like flour and baking powder. The food coloring should also be of good quality to avoid the bitter taste that some coloring leaves on the food.

You’ll have to use neutral oil so you won’t affect the taste. That way, everyone who eats kwek-kwek will be truly satisfied.

Quail eggs are loaded with protein; but at the same time, they’re also high in cholesterol, so don’t overeat. After all, you can always cook it again another time.

It’s always better to enjoy eating without having to face the danger of overindulging, especially if it’s a bit off on the health side.

Hot and spicy Filipino Kwek-kwek

Check out this video by YouTuber Yummy Kitchen to see how kwek-kwek is made:

 

Hot and spicy Filipino Kwek-kwek

Hot and spicy Filipino kwek-kwek

Joost Nusselder
Kwek-kwek is a quail egg that’s been hard-boiled and then dipped in an orange batter. The batter is composed of baking powder, flour, food coloring, and salt.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 30 pcs
Calories 30 kcal

Ingredients
  

Kwek-kwek

  • 30 pcs quail eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • ¾ cup water
  • Orange food coloring
  • ¼ cup flour for dredging
  • Oil for frying

Vinegar dip

  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup water (optional)
  • 1 small red onion chopped finely
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 hot chili chopped

Instructions
 

  • Place quail eggs in a pot and fill with tap water, enough to submerge them completely.
  • Bring water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  • Once it boils, turn off heat and cover the pot and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the quail eggs from the hot water and transfer into an ice bath or cold water.
  • Peel off the eggshells once cool enough to handle.
  • In a bowl, combine 1 cup flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, ground pepper, and water, and mix to form a batter. The consistency should be similar to that of pancake batter, only a bit thicker.
  • Add enough food coloring and mix until the desired color is achieved.
  • Spread 1/4 cup of flour on a plate.
  • Dredge each egg with flour, covering the surface completely.
  • Drop the floured quail eggs one at a time into the orange batter. Using a fork or a barbecue stick, turn them over to cover them completely with batter. Do this in batches, about 5-6 eggs per batch.
  • In a small pot, heat enough oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, use a stick or a skewer to pierce a coated egg and transfer it to the hot oil. Use a fork to remove the egg off the skewer and into the hot oil.
  • Fry a batch at a time for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until crispy.
  • Remove the eggs from the hot oil and transfer onto a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Eat while hot and the skin's still crispy. Serve with vinegar dip or special kwek-kwek sauce.

Notes

I used liquid food coloring, combining red and yellow to get the hue I like. Food coloring in powder form is also ok to use.
You may also use annatto powder to color the batter.

Nutrition

Calories: 30kcal
Keyword Deep-Fried, Kwek-kwek, Snack
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Healthy tips

This street food is best eaten by sprinkling some salt on it and then dipping it into vinegar, like with lumpiang Shanghai. It’s up to you whether it’ll be spicy or not.

Suka is the vinegar most people use and it balances out the salty flavor with that pleasant sour aroma. But whichever you choose, the wonderful taste will really be enhanced more!

If you’ve noticed, the usual partner drink for this is Sago at Gulaman, though you can also have soda on the side.

Children just love this so much and it’s a good idea to cook this once in a while to make them enjoy it without the danger of illnesses that can be found when they buy from the street.

Kwek-Kwek with Suka
That’s the disadvantage of buying in the streets; since they use a common sauce that’s often double-dipped by everyone, this is where bacteria may spread. As such, children and adults alike may get an infection or intestinal problems because of this.

Preparing and cooking kwek-kwek isn’t so hard to do so for a cleaner and safer indulgence in this mouth-watering food. You can start doing it at home instead of allowing the kids to buy from street vendors.

Kwek-kwek FAQs

Kwek-kwek is truly a unique dish and there are so many questions people have about it. So I want to take you through more information about this exciting Pinoy food!

Why is kwek-kwek orange?

Eggs coated with an orange batter are pretty unusual in the culinary world, but luckily, it’s all-natural. As I mentioned a bit earlier, the orange color isn’t from orange citrus fruit; instead, it’s the result of an orange food coloring.

The natural food coloring for this batter is dark orange or a reddish shade.

The food coloring comes in the form of a powder called annatto powder or atsuete powder, but they’re the same thing. This natural food coloring is made into a powder form from the seeds of a tree that’s popular in Asia called the cchiote tree.

Annatto powder is also used as a condiment.

Don’t have annatto powder at hand? These are the 10 best substitutes for this red powder!

Why is it called kwek-kwek?

The name sounds a bit odd, but apparently, quails and other birds make chirping noises that sound something like ‘kwek-kwek”; hence the name.

In English, this sound is translated as “quack quack.”

How many calories are in one kwek-kwek?

Deep-fried foods aren’t the healthiest dietary options and that’s a well-known fact. But kwek-kwek isn’t all bad.

In fact, boiled quail egg is a source of protein and contains lots of calcium and vitamin A.

In terms of calories, one fried kwek-kwek contains about 30-35 calories and 3 eggs have about 105 calories, 4g of carbs, 8 grams of fat, and 6 grams of protein.

Who invented kwek-kwek?

There’s no real evidence of who was first to invent this local delicacy. But there’s a local legend about the origins of this egg dish.

Apparently, kwek-kwek was invented by accident. A balut vendor in Quezon City (Cubao), Philippines dropped her food products.

Balut (fertilized duck egg) was quite expensive and she didn’t want to waste the eggs. So the vendor peeled the shells off, put them through the flour, and then dried them.

I’m not sure when frying was added to the recipe, but I can’t imagine not having that crispy crust!

It’s supposedly the precursor dish to what we now know as kwek-kwek. But it soon became a favorite food in many households, especially during street festivals and celebrations.

How is kwek-kwek served?

After the eggs are deep-fried, they’re then served with vinegar (suka), some salt, and chili peppers. This sauce is called sinamak.

But vinegar sauce isn’t the only option. In fact, there’s a special sweet and spicy sauce that’s the perfect dipping sauce!

The sauce is made with water, soy sauce, flour, brown sugar, cornstarch, siling labuyo (a type of chili pepper), some garlic, and onion. This is then cooked until the sauce thickens.

When making the sauce, people combine suka vinegar with chili pepper flakes and salt, but not with apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar. Although you can, that’s only popular in the West.

How would you describe kwek kwek?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions because many people can’t really get their heads around the taste of boiled and fried quail eggs.

It tastes similar to chicken eggs, except it has that crispy fried exterior layer that’s crunchy when you bite into it. With spicy vinegar or special sauce, it’s the perfect savory treat!

Some people associate this dish with deep-fried squid balls and fish balls. But those have a seafood taste while this one doesn’t, so they’re not the same.

What is Filipino suka?

Suka is Filipino vinegar. Actually, vinegar is one of the most common ingredients you’ll find in a Filipino pantry and kitchen.

The sour taste pairs well with deep-fried dishes like kwek-kwek, as well as others like kinilaw or paksiw. But it’s an important addition to dipping sauces and marinades.

Can you make kwek-kwek with chicken eggs?

Yes, but it’s not called kwek-kwek.

“Tokneneng” is the name of hard-boiled deep-fried chicken eggs. The chicken eggs are also fried in the same orange batter and they look similar, but bigger.

They’re served with the same sauce though.

Try kewk-kewk for a unique deep-fried treat

If you’re looking to make tasty street food you can only find in the Philippines, I highly recommend trying hard-boiled quail eggs. Having kwek-kwek at home is like bringing the flavors of Manila into your home.

Not only do these orange-colored deep-fried eggs look appetizing, but they’re filling snacks, full of protein, and perfect for a quick meal.

Want more crispy food ideas? Check out this Filipino calamares recipe (fried squid rings)

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.