Tip: Fry quail eggs in a ladle
Tiny fried quail eggs are just the right size for bento lunches, and taste like regular chicken eggs. Simplify prep and cook them in a ladle! The small rounded bowl of a metal ladle keeps the quail eggs in a nice circular shape, conducts heat well for quick frying, and uses less energy than heating up even a mini frying pan. Hat tip to Japanese-language book of energy-saving tips “Setsuyaku no Urawaza Shittoku Memo” from Shufu no Tomo publishing house, which also recommends a ladle for boiling bento-sized portions of vegetables like snow peas. Read on for directions.
To make, you’ll need a fresh quail egg or two, often sold in Asian markets in the egg or refrigerated produce section. People often accidentally break the yolk when cracking open the small eggs, but you can avoid this pitfall by carefully using a sharp knife or egg scissors to lop off the top of the egg. (Fans of soft-boiled chicken eggs might want to check out the cool egg clacker that I first read about here on Food for Thought.) Set the opened eggs back into their carton for easy access while cooking.
Spray a metal ladle with cooking spray and hold over low flame (here I’m using a long Chinese wok ladle). Turn an opened quail egg upside down over the ladle and gently shake the egg if it doesn’t slide right out. Add another egg if you want two cooked together, and add salt/pepper if that’s your thing. Add a couple drops of water to the ladle and cover with a small lid if you want sunny-side up eggs, or use a small spatula to loosen and turn the egg over for over-easy or over-hard eggs. (FOOD SAFETY NOTE: Raw egg yolks can be unsafe at room temperature; cook eggs through for maximum safety.)