A few nights ago, I had trouble sleeping. I’m not sure if it was too much coffee or because I was just craving some “me time.” Instead of tossing and turning in bed, I got up and cooked Chiang Mai-style quail eggs omelet.
I had been thinking about them for weeks. They shouldn’t be particularly interesting — just beaten eggs topped with chopped vegetables — but the fact they they were cooked in a takoyaki pan turned them into cute morsels that were so hard to resist.
In Chiang Mai, quail eggs omelet is street food. And I did resist them, actually, for one day. I first saw them at the Saturday Walking Street where I took a few photos.
The following day at the Sunday Walking Street, I saw them again. Larger, this time.
The holes (for lack of a better term) of the pan were wider than the holes of a takoyaki pan although not as large as the holes of the Vietnamese banh khot pan. I stood in front of the stall and gawked. I marveled at the dexterity of the hawker’s hands. And I felt amazed at how she was multi-tasking. She was cooking, she was prepping and she was serving customers too. How could she manage to time everything perfectly so that nothing burned?
I stopped resisting and ordered.
I got a mixture of quail eggs fried sunny-side-up and quail eggs omelet. They were sprinkled with a powdered seasoning which, I supposed, was the hawker’s own concoction. On the table, there were jars of chili sauce and sweet chili sauce. While Alex and I pierced the eggs and munched, amid all the noise and movements of vendors and shoppers, I remembered Taiwan.
On the waterfront parallel to Tamsui Old Street, there was stall that sold skewered fried quail eggs. I smiled a little to myself. What we Asians can do with the simplest ingredients is just amazing.
So, I decided to make my version of Chiang Mai quail eggs omelet. Again, actually. That night when sleep proved elusive, well, that was my second attempt at recreating them. The first time, I poured too much beaten eggs into the takoyaki pan. As the mixture cooked, the beaten quail eggs rose above the brims and… Okay, suffice to say that I made a mess.
The second time I was more careful. I filled the holes only halfway up so that when the egg mixture rose, the omelets were still perfect half spheres even after adding chopped tomatoes and sliced scallions.
Why did I serve the quail eggs omelet over rice? Because the sun was already above the horizon when I finished. It was breakfast time for people with normal body clocks and although I can’t count myself as one of them, I was hungry and I wanted a substantial meal.
Chiang Mai-style Quail Eggs Omelet
- Takoyaki pan
- Crack the quail eggs into a bowl. Add salt and pepper (or your preferred seasoning) and whisk thoroughly.
- Brush the holes of the takoyaki pan with oil.
- Place the oiled takoyaki pan on the stove over medium heat.
- Using a teaspoon, half fill each hole of the takoyaki pan with the egg mixture.
- When the edges of the omelets are firm (the eggs would have risen at this point), drop a few pieces of tomato and a pinch of scallion slices on top.
- Continue cooking until the omelets are firm and the undersides are lightly browned and crisp.
- Serve the quail eggs omelets with sweet chili sauce.
If you cooked this dish and you want to share your masterpiece, please use your own photos and write the cooking steps in your own words.