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How to Make Salted Egg (Kai Kem)

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Learn how to make salted egg at home using 3 methods. In this easy recipe, we’ll make salted eggs using a brine solution, a vinegar-soaking technique, and a method for separating the egg yolk to make salted cured egg yolks.

Salted egg, kai kem, on congee.

My husband can’t get enough of eggs – he’s all about high-protein food. Some of his favorites are son-in-law eggs and kai luak. And when I taught him to make salted boiled eggs, he loved them right away!

What is salted egg

Salted egg is a preserved egg traditionally made by curing duck or chicken eggs in brine. It’s popular in Southeast Asian cuisine, often used in savory dishes and desserts.


The taste of salted eggs is salty in the egg white and rich and creamy in the yolk.

Kai kem (ไข่เค็ม)

Kai kem is the Thai term for salted egg, with kai meaning egg and kem meaning salty.

In Thailand, these eggs are a favorite. My grandmother often pairs them with khao tom, a Thai rice soup, and Thai congee. The egg yolk is sometimes used in Thai desserts like bua loy and Thai salads like yum kai kem.

Fried salted egg, salted egg yolks, and boiled eggs in a traditional woven dish.

I think the eggs are great in stir-fries, especially salted egg fried rice, khao pad kai kem. Oh, and I love topping pad kra pao with a fried salted duck egg, so good!

Salted eggs procedure

I’ve got three easy methods for you to make homemade salted eggs. Let’s start with a quick overview of each, check out what ingredients you’ll need, and then I’ll walk you through each method with easy, step-by-step instructions.

Brine solution for salted eggs: We’ll mix water and salt, let it cool, then put eggs in a glass jar and cover them with this salted water. In 30 days, they’re ready to enjoy boiled or fried. If you plan to fry the eggs, a curing time of 14 days would be enough.

My grandmother told me her mother used this method for long-term storage of eggs.

Vinegar-soaking technique: For the vinegar-soaking way, just soak the eggs in vinegar until they form a little layer. Rinse that off gently, then cover the eggs in salt and leave them for 7 days.

The vinegar technique is perfect when you’re short on time and need both the yolk and white.

Salted egg yolk: Just separate the whites from the yolks, mix the yolks with salt and vinegar, and let them sit covered for a day. After washing, the salted cured egg yolks are ready for adding to desserts, salads, or other dishes.

This is the fastest method, great for when you only need the yolk.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for salted egg recipe: white vinegar, duck eggs, and salt.

Brine solution method

  • Duck eggs – I prefer making salted duck eggs as the yolk is more rich and creamy than chicken eggs. You can find duck eggs at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
  • Water
  • Salt

Vinegar soaking method

  • Duck eggs
  • White vinegar
  • Salt

Salted egg yolk

  • Duck eggs
  • White vinegar
  • Salt

How to make salted egg step-by-step

Make sure your eggs are well cleaned before each method.

Brine solution method

Brine solution in a pot.

Step 1: Combine water and salt in a medium-sized pot. Heat while stirring until the mixture reaches a boil and the salt is fully dissolved. Allow the brine solution to cool to room temperature before proceeding.

Duck eggs in a brine solution in jar.

Step 2: Gently place the eggs in an airtight container, pour the cooled brine over them, and seal the container. Store the container in a cool place for 30 days. Then, you can boil or fry the eggs. If you plan to fry the eggs, a curing time of 14 days would be enough.

Vinegar soaking method

Duck eggs resting in a vinegar brine solution.

Step 1: Soak the eggs in vinegar for 15 minutes, turning them halfway.

Hand holding duck egg with vinegar layer.

Step 2: Remove the thin film from the eggshell under running water.

Duck eggs covered with salt.

Step 3: Place the eggs into an airtight container, bury them under a layer of salt, then secure the container with a lid. Keep the container in a cool location. The eggs will be ready to use after 7 days.

Salted egg yolk

Salt and vinegar in a clear bowl.

Step 1: Mix salt and vinegar in a bowl.

Salted egg yolks in a clear bowl.

Step 2: Separate the yolks from the whites, and carefully place the yolks into the mixture.

Salted egg yolks in a clear bowl, covered with plastic wrap.

Step 3: Cover the bowl with cling film, and let it rest for 24 hours in a spot away from sunlight.

Kitchenware

For the brine solution method:

  • Airtight container with lid
  • Medium-sized pot
  • Stirring spoon

For the vinegar-soaking technique:

  • Bowl or container for soaking
  • Airtight container with lid

For salted egg yolk:

  • Small bowl
  • Cling film

How to eat salted duck egg

Hard-boiled: You can make hard-boiled salted eggs, peel them, and enjoy them as a snack or with meals like French toast.

Stir-fries: Add your eggs to stir-fries, they’re great with meat and vegetables. You can use a fried egg as a topping for khao pad krapow and Thai basil beef.

Desserts: You can use salted eggs in Asian desserts.

Halved: Boil and peel the eggs, then cut them in half and use them as a topping for congee, porridge, or rice dishes.

Salads: Toss your salted duck eggs into salads.

How to store salted eggs

If you’ve made your eggs using the brine method, you can store them in the brine solution itself. Keep the container in a cool, dark place like a pantry or a refrigerator. In the fridge, they can last for several weeks.

If you used the vinegar-soaking technique or the dry salt method, store the eggs in a sealed container. Place them in the refrigerator where they can last for a few weeks.

Salted eggs can be preserved for several weeks up if stored correctly, depending on how they were cured. If your salted eggs look bad, smell bad, or taste bad, this indicates that they should not be eaten.

Frequently asked questions

Are salted eggs healthy?

Salted eggs can be part of a balanced diet, they’re a good source of protein and essential amino acids, but are high in sodium and cholesterol.

What do duck eggs taste like?

Duck eggs taste richer and creamier than chicken eggs. Their yolk is more luscious, and vibrant.

Authentic Thai egg recipes

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How to Make Salted Egg (Kai Kem)

Salted egg, kai kem, on congee.
Learn how to make salted egg, kai kem, at home with this easy recipe. We'll make salted eggs using a brine solution, a vinegar-soaking technique, and a method for separating the egg yolk to make salted cured egg yolks.
Praew
Cuisine Thai
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Serving Size 1

Ingredients

BRINE SOLUTION METHOD

  • 2 duck eggs
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons salt

VINEGAR SOAKING METHOD

  • 2 duck eggs
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar

SALTED EGG YOLK

  • 2 duck eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

Instructions

BRINE SOLUTION METHOD

  • Combine water and salt in a medium-sized pot. Heat while stirring until the mixture reaches a boil and the salt is fully dissolved. Allow the brine solution to cool to room temperature before proceeding.
  • Gently place the eggs in an airtight container, pour the cooled brine over them, and seal the container. Store the container in a cool, dark place for 30 days. Then, you can boil or fry the eggs. If you plan to fry the eggs, a curing time of 14 days would be enough.

VINEGAR SOAKING METHOD

  • Soak the eggs in vinegar for 15 minutes, turning them halfway.
  • Remove the thin film from the eggshell under running water.
  • Place the eggs into an airtight container, bury them under a layer of salt, then secure the container with a lid. Keep the container in a dark location. The eggs will be ready to use after 7 days.

SALTED EGG YOLK

  • Mix salt and vinegar in a bowl.
  • Separate the yolks from the whites, and carefully place the yolks into the mixture.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film, and let it rest for 24 hours in a spot away from sunlight.

Notes

  • Nutrition information is based on 2 duck eggs, not including the brine method.

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