Zac Ardena is one of the newer additions to the Calgary culinary talent pool. This George Brown Chef School graduate has worked in many high-profile restaurants and hotels in Toronto, such as Momofuku and the Ritz Carlton. Zac seeks to become a voice for Filipino cuisine and culture through his writing, food and videos. At the moment, he works as a Chef de Partie at Blink Restaurant and Bar.
Scotch Kwek Kwek
This appetizer dish is something I came up with for last year’s “Balik Kultura” event at Oxbow; where I, along with 3 other Filipino chefs, came up with our own personal takes on our favorite Filipino dishes. There’s nothing I love more than relaxing with a cold beer after a day in a hot kitchen. This unique take on kwek kwek, a battered and fried quail egg, is a great pulutan that goes perfectly with your favorite cold drink.
12 Quail Eggs
1 lb longganisa sausage meat, removed from casing
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour plus ½ Cup for dredging
1 Cup Club Soda or Light Beer
2 Tbsp Ground Annatto
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
½ Tsp Baking powder
½ Tsp salt
1 Cup white vinegar
½ Cup water
1 quart of oil for frying
Boiling and peeling the quail eggs:
- Prepare an ice bath for the eggs to prevent them from overcooking after boiling.
- After bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil, carefully drop the eggs in and let boil for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Immediately remove the eggs from the water and place into the ice bath.
- Combine the vinegar with the water in a container. Once the eggs have cooled, place the eggs in the vinegar mixture and let sit until the eggshells have softened. This may take at least 1 hour.
- Carefully peel the softened shell off the egg. Try finding the bubble on one end of the egg and slowly work from there.
Preparing the batter and frying:
- Heat the oil in a small pot or wok on medium-high heat, or at approximately 355°F (or 180°C).
- Combine the 1 cup of flour with the corn starch, annatto, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk the soda water or beer into the flour mixture until it forms a smooth batter, with the consistency of pancake batter.
- Separate the longganisa meat into 12 even portions. Wrap each quail egg with the longganisa meat.
- Dredge each wrapped egg in the remaining flour then dip into the batter. Make sure the egg is completely covered in the batter!
- Fry for about 3 minutes, then remove from oil on to a paper towel lined plate.
- Once cool, enjoy with your favorite kwek kwek dipping sauce!