The concept of breakfast food in Thai cuisine is a relatively loose one. “Thai people don't have specific dish for breakfast,” explains chef Teerawong "Yo" Nanthavatsiri in an email. “We eat anything anytime—all depends on personal lifestyle.” But that also means that anything can be eaten for breakfast in Thai cuisine, so Bangkok-native Yo has few qualms about adding traditional Thai flavors in his favorite American brunch classics at Pinto Garden, located in Manhattan’s West Village. And in many ways, this recipe for baked eggs and Thai sausage is quite similar to a recipe for shakshuka or even a classic French baked egg. What makes this Thai baked egg dish different are the aromatics chef Yo adds to his housemade sausage, using pork and fresh herbs.
Chef Yo's Thai herb sausage is actually fairly easy to make at home; there's no stuffing meat into casings or anything messy like that. But having all of the fresh herbs on hand—especially kaffir lime leaves—is crucial. “Kaffir lime leaves is the herb in the Thai cooking. It's very important,” chef Yo explains. “Without it, it’s not Thai food.” The leaves' essential oils have a citrusy yet unique taste, that's perhaps best described as a mix of lime zest and lemongrass. But it's unique, “And you have to cut it or tear it right before you use it,” notes chef Yo, otherwise it will lose its potency. “Because of its very specific aroma, it's hard to substitute it with something else,” explains chef Yo, though lime zest can work in a pinch.
If you’re struggling to shape the sausage, chef Yo recommends using plastic wrap. You can also bake the sausage at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes instead of pan frying it. “But the most important thing to do is to use fresh herbs in the sausage,” insists chef Yo, to make the most of these traditional Thai flavors in this modern brunch recipe.
Chef Yo's Thai Herb Sausage
- Yields: 15 pieces
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until they are incorporated into the pork.
Shape the pork meat into small, round thumb-sized cubes. (With this recipe, you should have enough for 15 pieces.)
Fry in vegetable at 340°F until golden brown, about 2 minutes, right before serving.
Thai Baked Eggs
- Yields: 2 servings
Heat a cast iron pan on the stovetop over medium heat.
Crack eggs into the pan, letting the yolks and whites spread to fill the pan.
When the egg whites begin to cook around the edge of the pan, slowly pour in the cream, circling around the pan.
Remove the pan from the stove, and bake in the oven at 350°F for about 4 minutes.
Top with Thai herb sausage, then garnish with garlic chips, fresh cilantro, and bacon. Serve with toasted baguette.