Thai crispy egg salad (Yum Khai Dao) is a simple salad with layers of bold flavors and delicious textures. It’s a flavor-packed salad that you can quickly put together in 20 minutes or less, perfect for a light lunch!
For more delightful Thai dishes, check out these readers' favorites-Thai glass noodles salad with shrimp, The best crying tiger recipe. Also, a popular salad on the blog is the Thai beef salad. All are so fresh and tasty!
What Is Yum Khai Dao?
Thai crispy egg salad (Yum Khai Dao) is a fried egg salad where the eggs are shallow fried in hot oil until the edge of the egg white is deep golden brown. The eggs are tossed in with plenty of fresh herbs, then seasoned with a sweet, tangy, and salty dressing. This dish will quickly become one of your favorite Thai salads!
There are a few names for this Thai salad. (ยำไข่ดาว) “Yum Khai Dao,” or “Yam Khai Dao,” or “Yum Kai Dao” all are the same thing but just have different spelling. Yum in Thai means salad. Kai Dao's literal translation is "Egg Star." Not sure how the star part gets its name there, but the implication is how the egg is cooked. Crispy and golden brown around the edges.
Why This Recipe Works
- Thai fried egg salad is easy and can be put together in 20 minutes!
- Yum Kai Dao uses minimal ingredients but has bold and memorable flavors.
- The recipe can easily be adjusted with more vegetables and herbs to customize it.
- This Thai salad with fried egg is light and refreshing, yet it’s full of the crunchy texture of the crispy eggs and fresh herbs.
- It can be served as a side dish or a complete dish on its own.
Ingredients for Yam Kai Dao
Did I mention that you can find substitutes for all of the ingredients in this Thai fried eggs salad? Grab all the ingredients in your local grocery store. Bonus upon bonus with this one! (;
- Fresh lime juice. Fresh lime juice is a must for this recipe
- Fish sauce. Use a lighter and sweeter taste fish sauce like Red Boat, three crab brand, or N30 fish sauce for this salad. These brands are not as salty or pungent as some Thai fish sauce brands like the Squid brand.
- Palm sugar or brown sugar. You can substitute monk fruit sugar, honey, or agave if you want to be more mindful of sugar intake.
- Thai bird’s eye chillies. Use fresh Thai chiles and slice them into small pieces so you don't get a mouthful of hot peppers in one bite.
- Shallot. Or substitute red onion or yellow onion works well for this crispy fried egg salad.
- Lemongrass. Chop lemongrass small for the salad as the stalks can get chewy and tough. Read about lemongrass and how to use lemongrass in Thai cuisine here.
- Chinese celery. Use the leafy parts of regular celery or the inner tender and yellow leaf parts of regular celery.
- Cilantro. Cilantro adds a refreshing taste to the salad. Green onion is a great addition to the salad.
- Eggs. For the eggs, you can use duck eggs, quail eggs, and turkey eggs. Pretty much any egg you have access to will work for this recipe!
- Fried eggs. Use enough oil to fry the eggs on high heat to ensure you get the crispy white edges with the well-cooked yolk.
- Oil. Use high smoking point oil like vegetable oil, canola, coconut, grapeseed, or avocado oil.
How to Make Thai Fried Egg Salad
Below are step-by-step instructions with photos on how to make Yam Khai Dao.
- Heat oil on high heat, and fry the eggs in a non-stick pan using enough oil to cover the eggs white. Fry until the edges of the whites are golden brown. Flip the egg over for a few seconds to cook the top of the egg slightly. You can leave the soft yolk uncooked if you prefer runny yolks.
- Remove the fried eggs to a platter lined with a paper towel to help absorb excess oil. Cook the rest of the eggs. Lower the temperature to medium high heat if your eggs are getting cooked too quickly. Let cool and set aside until ready to mix in with a salad.
- Make the salad dressing in a small saucepan or mortar and pestle or a small bowl by mixing palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice. Mix until the palm sugar dissolves, and set aside while prepping the salad next.
- Cut all the herbs, vegetables, and remaining ingredients and combine in a medium to large mixing bowl.
- Using a knife or kitchen scissors, cut the eggs into long strips.
- Add the sliced eggs and dressing to the salad bowl, and combine it all. Adjust seasoning with more lime juice, fish sauce, chilis, or a dash of sugar as needed. Scoop the salad into a serving platter and enjoy. It can be eaten as a one-plate meal (low carbs) or add a side of jasmine rice or sticky rice for a complete meal. Enjoy!
Tips for Making Thai Fried Egg Salad Recipe
- Before frying the eggs, leave the eggs at room temperature before frying to help ensure the eggs do not stick to a pan when cooking.
- The easiest way to cook the eggs is to use a large enough non-stick pan and cook them all simultaneously.
- A splash guard is helpful to prevent the hot oil from spattering over your stovetop.
- Use a long handle fork or serving utensil to flip the eggs in the pan to keep your hands from hot oil spattering.
- Use a plate with paper plates to catch the oil from the cooked eggs to help reduce the greasiness of the eggs.
- For extra flavors and heat, add more sliced Thai chili.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fried Egg Salad
Do you cook fried eggs on low or high heat?
To make Thai crispy egg salad (Yum Khai Dao), your eggs must be cooked on high heat with plenty of oil in a non-stick pan. Make sure the oil is not enough before adding the eggs. In the pan, the egg whites will start to bubble over and turn golden brown while the egg yolks are still soft. Once the eggs are nice and crispy, carefully flip over the egg into the oil and cook for only a few seconds before removing it from the heat.
What to serve Thai crispy egg salad (Yum Khai Dao) with?
Yam Kai Doa can be served as a one-plate meal or accompanied by sticky or jasmine rice. Either or, the salad will hold up with its delicious bold flavors.
What oil should be used for a Thai-style fried egg?
Use high smoking point oil like coconut, canola, vegetable, grapeseed, or avocado. Olive oil is not recommended for this recipe.
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