Quail Eggs (Itlog na Pugo) are produced by quails, which are small game birds belonging to the same family as pheasants and partridges. Their shells range from beige to brown to blue-gray, with speckled or plain patterns.
These eggs are packed with nutrients despite their small size. With their versatility in the kitchen, they are becoming an increasingly popular ingredient.
How do quail eggs differ from chicken eggs?
Chicken and quail eggs may share the same flavor profile, but there are some notable differences. Here are some of them:
- Size: Quail eggs are much smaller, about one-third the size of a standard chicken egg.
- Flavor: Quail eggs have a slightly richer taste due to their higher yolk-to-white ratio, though their taste is not significantly different from chicken eggs.
- Shell Color: Quail eggs come in a range of colors, including white, cream, and brown. The color of the shell does not affect the nutritional value or flavor.
- Shell Texture: Quail eggshells are thicker and harder to crack and peel.
- Cooking Time: Due to their small size, quail eggs cook much faster than chicken eggs. Depending on their size and the texture you want to achieve, you can boil them for 2 to 4 minutes.
- Nutrition: Quail eggs have large yolks relative to their size, containing more nutrients per unit of weight.
- Availability: Since quail eggs are smaller and are not produced as extensively as chicken eggs, they are more expensive and harder to find.
Are quail eggs healthy?
Despite their small size, quail eggs are nutrient-dense and low in calories. They are higher in fat and protein by weight than chicken eggs.
These eggs are rich in Vitamin B12, iron, selenium, riboflavin, and choline. They are essential for proper nervous system function, red blood cell production, thyroid hormone metabolism, energy conversion, and neurotransmitter synthesis.
The high levels of antioxidants present in them can potentially reverse cellular damage and alleviate allergy symptoms. They also contain iron necessary for immune function and energy metabolism.
Although quail eggs are generally safe to eat, it is important to take precautions since they are often unpasteurized. Pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals should avoid them or thoroughly cook them with no runny yolks.
If you have a chicken egg allergy, it's wise to be cautious when testing your tolerance for quail eggs. As always, it's best to discuss any concerns with a medical professional.
How to buy and store
Quail eggs may be available at specialty food stores, health food stores, farmer's markets, and some supermarkets. You can also purchase them online from various retailers.
Look for clean and smooth shells free of cracks or damage. They should feel heavy for their size. Though the color of the shells can vary, it doesn't affect the quality or taste of the eggs.
Once purchased, store them in the refrigerator and consume them within 2 to 3 weeks for the best quality.
How to prepare
Cracking them open is slightly different from opening chicken eggs. You can tap the shell against a hard surface or thin edge to create a small crack, then use your fingers to pull the shell apart.
However, their shells and membranes are thicker and may be harder to pierce through. A more effective approach is using a small knife. Hold the egg firmly with one hand, pointed side up.
Create a transverse line by making a small cut across the top. Gently twist the knife to enlarge the cut and loosen the shell.
Specialized scissors are designed to cut through the shell without damaging the egg yolk. Hold the egg in one hand and position the blade of the scissors over the top of the egg. Gently squeeze the handles to pierce through the shell, cutting a small circle around the top.
Quail eggs can be prepared similarly to chicken eggs, with boiling being a popular method. You can serve them as a snack or add them to salads, soups, or other dishes.
Another delicious way to enjoy quail eggs is to fry them. It is a quick and simple and quick method, much like frying a chicken egg.
Filipino recipes with Quail Eggs (Itlog na Pugo)
Quail eggs are a common ingredient in many traditional Filipino dishes. Here are some ways:
- Chop Suey: A stir-fry of mixed vegetables and meat or seafood. It has a slightly thickened sauce made with soy sauce and oyster sauce. Some versions include boiled quail eggs.
- Corn Soup: A creamy, warm soup made with corn, chicken broth, and ribbons of beaten eggs. Boiled quail eggs are often added for an extra boost of protein.
- Picadillo: A Filipino version with ground pork or beef simmered with tomatoes or tomato sauce. Potatoes, carrots, peas, and raisins are added to the dish. It is seasoned with soy or fish sauce, then sometimes garnished with boiled quail eggs.
- Pancit Canton (Stir-Fried Noodles): Stir-fried noodles, proteins, and vegetables with a savory, citrusy flavor. Boiled quail eggs make a delicious addition.
- Kwek-Kwek (Fried Quail Eggs): Hard-boiled quail eggs coated in an orange batter made with starch and annatto. They are deep-fried until crispy and dipped in spiced vinegar.
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Quail Eggs (Itlog ng Pugo)
- Small knife or quail egg scissors (optional)
- Quail eggs
How to crack open quail eggs:
- Tap the shell against a hard surface or thin edge to create a small crack, then use your fingers to pull the shell apart. However, their shells and membranes are thicker and may be harder to pierce through.
- A more effective approach is using a small knife. Hold the egg firmly with one hand, pointed side up. Create a transverse line by making a small cut across the top. Gently twist the knife to enlarge the cut and loosen the shell.
- Specialized scissors are designed to cut through the shell without damaging the egg yolk. Hold the egg in one hand and position the blade of the scissors over the top of the egg. Gently squeeze the handles to pierce through the shell, cutting a small circle around the top.