14 Aug2010

Immature Chicken Eggs

by Marketman


Embryonic. Unlaid. Immature. No matter what you call them, there is going to be a queasy and uncomfortable proportion of readers out there whose first reaction is going to be “eeewww”. Never mind that we eat caviar or fish roe or even bihud, immature eggs of monitor lizards, or even fry the eggs of red ants up in Ilocos… I have always noticed these immature chicken eggs for sale at the market, but since I never ate them as a kid, I wasn’t sure what to do with them. But a re-run of an Anthony Bourdain show with guest (and former NYTimes critic) Mimi Sheraton that had them dining at Sammy’s Roumanian Steak House and the immature eggs were one of Ms. Sheraton’s favorites, so I went ahead and purchased a little plastic bag filled with these immature eggs at the market this morning…


A completely natural byproduct of killing older hens for their meat, these immature eggs are locally commonly added to adobo, as an added source of protein. They come in all sizes, and start a pale yellow and as they get larger turn into an intense yellow orange. The New York Times did an article on them several years ago here, and it seems they were a childhood favorite of many who recall lives near their own henhouses/poultries. According to that article, they are incredible in homemade pasta, and I am a bit curious if they would intensify the flavor and color of yemas or leche flan… But for now, I think these are going into some adobo unless readers have some other brilliant sounding uses for them before I get a chance to cook them later today or tomorrow…



  1. Nicole says:

    eewwwwwwww is my first reaction
    now that I got over my squeamishness, it seems interesting what you can do with those

    Aug 14, 2010 | 11:34 am


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  3. sgboy says:

    i remember my lola back in the province would make an afritada with chicken meat and this egg. my lolo is a “sabungero” and would bring home this surprise catch after the day’s match- usually sold in a sabungan!

    Aug 14, 2010 | 11:34 am

  4. kurzhaar says:

    Those are good for egg noodles…they’re basically all egg yolk as the albumen and shell have not yet been added. I had them in a soup once in Strasbourg, which I enjoyed (but then again I like egg yolks).

    Aug 14, 2010 | 11:35 am

  5. Kristine says:

    These are great in Arroz Caldo. :)

    Aug 14, 2010 | 11:44 am

  6. solraya says:

    I can imagine it fried than sweet and sour sauce added.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 12:01 pm

  7. jack says:

    In Rizal province, we have native/Tagalog chickens roaming around the backyard. During my childhood days, my grandmother would catch one or two of them to cook as Sinigang sa Sampalok or Sinampalukang manok for Sunday lunch with the whole family. I remember seeing that kind of eggs in it.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 12:07 pm

  8. kongwi says:

    good in arroz caldo, specially with what we call in our place in pampanga, the “palanakan”, which i think would be the womb and the birth canal…

    Aug 14, 2010 | 12:34 pm

  9. connie says:

    In my childhood, I remember my mom giving me the job of straining these eggs to get the bigger bits out so she could add the eggs to the leche flan mix. Just one of many tedious jobs the kids were assigned when there’s a big occasion that would have to feed the whole town. Sometimes, I would volunteer to do the job, than get stuck peeling and dicing onions or cutting and squeezing buckets full of calamansi :D
    Other than that, these are childhood favorite in adobo and arroz caldo.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 2:06 pm

  10. erleen says:

    Leche flan, or yema

    Aug 14, 2010 | 2:16 pm

  11. Kristine says:

    would be nice in “Tinola” with the ‘bahay-guya’ and chicken blood, add some fresh dahon ng sili, green papaya and luya, and yummmmy!!!!

    Aug 14, 2010 | 2:32 pm

  12. Jack Hammer says:

    Aren’t those a (heart-beat away) cardiac arrest on account of cholesterol overload waiting to happen or what ??

    Aug 14, 2010 | 2:41 pm

  13. Vanessa says:

    But we’re still no closer to solving the mystery of which came first…

    Aug 14, 2010 | 2:46 pm

  14. Wyatt says:

    It’s natural for chicken (birds) to produce eggs even without fertilization. It’s usually triggered/controlled by light. a batch of unlaid eggs -are called clutch. My mom use it in tinola or chicken asparagus or afritada. the ones sold in markets are usually culled layers.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 3:33 pm

  15. grace says:

    These were my favorites when i was a kid – either as part of tinola or a soysauce/onion adobo dish. Its also a hit with my kids now.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 4:08 pm

  16. Ed B. says:

    I too remember having them (unlaid eggs) in tinola. Those are good, like regular eggs raised to 10th power. :-D

    Aug 14, 2010 | 4:15 pm

  17. kitchen says:

    we call this “Guya” its good as an addition to Adobo, Arrozcaldo, Tinola, Sinampalukan or even in Paella.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 4:50 pm

  18. kittel says:

    This is perfect in Chicken dinuguan..my mom’s version includes string beans and “balinghoy” in the dish..yummy..

    Aug 14, 2010 | 4:58 pm

  19. kitongzki says:

    perfect sa adobo to… :)

    Aug 14, 2010 | 5:10 pm

  20. Footloose says:

    They are the easiest to cook (with the necks and backs for stock) along with the blood allowed to shed on a plate of uncooked rice so are usually get served to children who are too young to consider its barbaric aspect. When they have aged enough they will have to take on the duty of slaughtering the chickens themselves and find out that murder most foul is our method of snuffing them. This is where my ewe comes in.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 6:45 pm

  21. Marnie says:

    My aunt told me it cannot be cooked into yema or leche flan. I’ve only ever seen bags of these in the frozen section of our local chicken shop. Has anybody actually made leche flan or yema from these? I’m just curious if it can actually be done before I attempt it myself because these are, if I recall correctly, a bit expensive.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 7:00 pm

  22. Junb says:

    my mom used to get her supply from a Nueva Ecija poultry. she’ll put those miniature egg to anything that is cooked with chicken such as tinola, pastel, afritada, adobo, and even deep fried it. Ohhhh such a memories that you cherish. Thanks MM for this post.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 8:15 pm

  23. kit says:

    a childhood favorite. my paternal lola add these to arroz caldo and sopas. i like the medium sized eggs. they have less blood and visually appealing than the little and bigger eggs. a vegetarian english friend of my husband call these and balut ” chicken / duck abortion”.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 8:36 pm

  24. Marketman says:

    Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I just made arroz caldo for dinner. Even used some precious saffron strands to make it a special pot of arroz caldo. Then added some 8 eggs just as the rice was ready. I have to say, I was NOT IMPRESSED. One egg sac broke and as a result had some scrambled egg in the soup. But worse, the whole eggs basically cooked to hard-boiled consistency and they tasted like fairly hard egg yolks, possessing a king of solid rubber ball consistency. I might have overcooked them, but they didn’t make me jump up and down with glee or thrill of a new discovery. I can see how they would be interesting in adobo, but I think I will have to try other things to see if this is an ingredient that will circle through our kitchen again…

    Aug 14, 2010 | 8:49 pm

  25. natie says:

    childhood favorite, along with chicken skin and fat—when no one seemed worried of cholesterol. almost all free-range chicken were lean, and tasted so good!

    Aug 14, 2010 | 9:10 pm

  26. marilen says:

    Another kernel of information to digest! Thanks, MM, you always manage to regale us with interesting curiosities and minutiae and so, we also profit from the interesting memories of your many readers.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 9:59 pm

  27. Butch says:

    Hi, MM. We call these ‘guya’ in Nueva Ecija and they’re very good in a lugaw we call ‘halo’. Just about everything goes into the bowl – ox tripe, chicken liver & gizzard, pork innards, and of course, guya. The guya is pre-cooked and yes, you’re right, they do have the texture of boiled eggs. For me, it’s all the halo in the lugaw that elevates the taste & texture of the guya to yum heaven. There are lugaw stalls around Freedom Park in Cabanatuan City and it’s very nice to eat hot lugaw while the cold night air embraces you… Makes you feel all toasty and warm! :)

    Aug 14, 2010 | 10:01 pm

  28. Jaja says:

    My mom used to add it to Chicken Tinola. Sarap!

    Aug 14, 2010 | 10:19 pm

  29. Jacinta, Canada says:

    Wow really interesting. I’ve never seen embryonic eggs before!

    Aug 15, 2010 | 12:53 am

  30. Tinky says:

    Long time reader here from the US,and I finally get to make a comment! I used to love these “unlaid” eggs in Chicken Pho! We were considered lucky if we got one in a bowl at the restaurant!

    Aug 15, 2010 | 1:09 am

  31. Jun Bautista says:

    MM – I’ve had a version of Soto Ayam where this was added, but I do remember that this was a last minute ingredient so you don’t get the rubbery texture.

    Aug 15, 2010 | 5:15 am

  32. Lani says:

    I love this in tinola, yummmmmmmmm…

    Aug 15, 2010 | 7:46 am

  33. rhea says:

    i remember a relative who is selling chicken inasal would sometimes have these as well… i think she boiled them, put them on a skewer and cooked as regular inasal… parang boiled egg kebab, pero masarap.

    Aug 15, 2010 | 10:45 am

  34. jaycee says:

    my mom sometimes include them in her chicken pork adobo mixed with chicken liver and turmeric

    Aug 15, 2010 | 10:50 am

  35. angela says:

    MM, the best way to enjoy these is to add them just right before you turn off the stove. In that way, they would be slightly undercooked. They are no good at all when cooked all the way through because of the tough texture. We usually have these in nilagang manok and they are super yummy.

    Aug 15, 2010 | 1:00 pm

  36. TPS says:

    Oh, I love these! Well, mainly because it reminds me of the food during my childhood. Pero ang lasa ko is parang pareho lang ng ordinary itlog.

    Aug 15, 2010 | 9:00 pm

  37. tamale8888 says:

    I see those being sold in the Legaspi Sunday Market (Makati).

    Aug 15, 2010 | 9:31 pm

  38. Cara says:

    I grew up eating those in the nilagang manok soup (with cabbage and potatoes) that we always had for Sunday lunch.

    (And that’s one more thing I want to eat when I go home…)

    Aug 15, 2010 | 11:21 pm

  39. Marketfan says:

    the hair at the back of my neck all standing up after I looked at the photos…eeeeeewww is right

    Aug 16, 2010 | 12:54 pm

  40. millet says:

    y ou’re right, MM..the yolks cook up hard and rubbery and tasteless (sort of how i would imagine jackstone balls to taste like) , but it is the memory of them that makes the lugaw delicious and exceptional. and yes, they’re better in adobo. the arroz caldo tastes better if you add the cut-up pieces of fallopian tubes (that’s what i think they are)…ickier to the uninitiated. but tasty and crunchy-tender.

    Aug 16, 2010 | 1:24 pm

  41. yoshi says:

    Immature chicken eggs are the best! We usually eat this along with tinola. My mom always cooked this when we were still kids. I remember the time when my sister and I would quarrel over these, since we like them so much.

    Also, I am very much surprised at the general reaction of the commenters… I didn’t realize that these were a rare sight in cooking.

    Aug 16, 2010 | 2:19 pm

  42. pizzaman says:

    like yoshi’s experience, we used to have this immature chicken eggs in our native chicken tinola with coagulated chicken blood in rice. since we were 5 male kids then, you had your pick of blood, chicken liver or the eggs.

    we get our native chicken from bartering our old clothes with the mindanao natives. the comments implying that the eggs don’t taste much is probably because they’re not from native chicken.

    Aug 16, 2010 | 3:04 pm

  43. chiqui says:

    i remember running around with chickens n chics in our backyard when i was a kid. food that conjures memories.

    Aug 17, 2010 | 4:03 am

  44. Clarissa says:

    I remember when I was younger and my parents would bring a live chicken from the province to make dinuguang manok or perhil (sp?). There were a lot of times the chicken had an egg inside. Like an egg with a shell that you buy from the supermarket! Then with that are those that you have also, the tiny little yolks. I love it in tinola (because that’s the only other thing they would cook with the remnants of the native chicken since it was tough) and it was like having eggs in my soup. It wasn’t really wonderful, but I found it totally cool. :)

    Aug 17, 2010 | 3:30 pm

  45. aggy says:


    Aug 26, 2010 | 2:18 am

  46. BiBoy says:

    In our place its call “bahay guya” you can boil it you can also add some chicken intestine “Balunbalunan” after drain the water and put it in a wok and add some red bell pepper, onion, garlic ,soy sauce and oyster sauces. Whalaaa… Sizzling bahay guya.. Great Pulutan..

    Sep 1, 2010 | 2:40 pm


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