This popular Filipino street food made of fried hard-boiled quail eggs coated with orange batter is so delicious, easy to make, and rich in protein. It’s one of the favorites of Filipinos because it’s inexpensive, kid-friendly, and addicting!
What is Kwek Kwek?
Kwek-Kwek is one of the favorite street foods in the Philippines that is made of hard-boiled quail eggs coated in an orange batter made from annatto powder, flour, and water mixture then deep fried and served with vinegar, salt, and chili peppers.
Kwek-Kwek supposedly refers to the chirping sounds of birds. A local legend details that it was accidentally created when a balut (boiled duck eggs) vendor in Cubao, a district in Manila, Philippines, dropped her basket of balut.
She didn’t want to waste what remained of the cracked eggs, so she peeled off the shells, rolled the eggs in flour, and fried them until crispy then served them in small bowls of vinegar dip.
Some people get confused with kwek kwek as tokneneng (like the bigger ones in the picture) which is prepared in the same way but using hard-boiled chicken eggs. They are usually sold along with fish balls, squid balls, kikiam, and chicken balls as an appetizer and after-work or after-school snacks.
Hence, most of the Filipinos’ childhood favorite food treats can be traced back to the streets sides of the Philippines. Try making this delicious Filipino dish right in the comfort of your own kitchen and enjoy a delicious appetizer or snack!
Tips and Procedures:
- Use an orange (or a combination of red and yellow) food color, either the liquid or powder form, if annatto powder is not available.
- Rice vinegar or white vinegar can be used for the vinegar dip. If you want a spicy sauce, chop up one hot chili or add a chili sauce and mix it into the other ingredients.
- It is best to serve and enjoy this dish while it is still a little bit hot and the batter is still crispy because it starts to become soggy once it cools.
- Boiled eggs and dipping sauce can be prepared in advance by storing them in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Just heat the sauce gently on the stove or microwave to warm it up slightly.
- Storage: Kwek Kewk taste best fresh.
How to Boil Eggs:
- Fill the pot with water so it will cover approximately 1″ inch above the eggs. Place the pot on the stove and allow the water to come to a rapid boil.
- Once boiling, add the eggs one by one SLOWLY so they do not break.
- Once all eggs are added, lower the stove to medium-high heat.
- Allow eggs to boil for approximately 13 minutes. If cooking Quail Eggs, only cook for 4 minutes.
- After 13 minutes turn off the stove.
- Drain the hot water from the pot and replace it with cold water.
- Add ice cubes to the pot with the eggs and cold water to SHOCK the eggs.
- Shocking the eggs will ensure the peel comes off MUCH easier.
- After the ice melts, feel free to peel and set it aside.
How to Make Kwek Kwek:
Listed below are all the ingredients you will need:
- organic eggs
- quail eggs
- annatto powder
In a large bowl, add flour, 2 tablespoons annatto powder, salt, pepper and using a fork or whisk gradually add in water. The batter will turn orange, but if you want a vivid orange to add 1 tablespoon of annatto powder:
On a plate, add cornstarch then individually dredge each of the eggs:
Next, dip each egg in the orange batter and repeat till all the eggs are coated with the orange batter:
In a deep pan over medium heat, heat about 2-inch of oil (2 cups) to 350 F, then carefully drop battered eggs deep fry for about 3-4 minutes or until the battered eggs turn golden orange:
With a slotted spoon, remove eggs from the pan and drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet or plate lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce:
“Kain tayo!” (Let’s eat!)
Frequently Asked Questions:
Kwek-Kwek is traditionally made with quail eggs while Tokneneng is made with chicken eggs.
Yes, if you’re buying from those street food vendors who practice food sanitation, and are trusted with the locals, or with a lot of local customers. It is always advisable to be cautious every time we eat at any street food stalls whether in the Philippines or other countries.
It is the addition of annatto powder in the ingredients which gives the dish its notable orange color. Other street food vendors use orange food coloring for this dish, too.
- 5 organic eggs
- 12 quail eggs
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons annatto powder divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2-3 cups water
- ⅛ cups cornstarch
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- In a large bowl, add flour, 2 tablespoons annatto powder, salt, pepper and using a fork or whisk gradually add in water. Batter will turn orange, but if you want a vivid orange add 1 tablespoon of annatto powder.
- On a plate, add cornstarch then individually dredge each of the egg
- Next, dip each egg in the orange batter and repeat till all the eggs are coated with the orange batter.
- In a deep pan over medium heat, heat about 2-inch of oil (2 cups) to 350 F, then carefully drop battered eggs deep fry for about 3-4 minutes or until the battered eggs turn golden orange.
- With a slotted spoon, remove eggs from the pan and drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet or plate lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.