This is my all-time favorite of all the dishes cooked by my late mum. Every time I flew back to Penang for a holiday she would ask me which dish I wanted her to make, and I would always pick this one. Once she remarked, “You came all the way from the U.K. and all you want is this?” to which I replied, “Well, no one cooks it like you do!” She was chuffed and cooked a few other dishes to go with it to welcome me home, including beef in soy sauce. This is no ordinary sambal tumis telur. Most Malaysians boil or fry the eggs before adding them to the sauce. However, the beauty of this recipe is that the eggs are cooked in the chile sambal itself, to give them extra flavor.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the shallot rings until golden brown. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and dab with kitchen paper. Set aside.
- Using a hand blender, puree the garlic, ginger, and the remaining shallots with a dash of water until smooth. Heat the leftover oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the puréed ingredients until fragrant and golden brown. Add the chile paste and simmer over a low heat until the oil separates, then add the tamarind, sugar, salt, and shrimp paste and cook until the oil separates again. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
- Crack the eggs into the sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes. The dish is ready when the eggs are cooked in the sauce and the whites are firm. If you prefer your egg yolks fully cooked, leave it to simmer on a low heat for further 3-4 minutes.
- Garnish with the fried shallots, coriander, and chile flakes, and serve.