WHAT IS BALUT ?
Balut (Pilipino) or hot vit lon (Vietnamese) are incubated fertilized duck eggs, which are boiled for 20-30 minutes when the embryo is 16-18 days old. The embryonated eggs are incubated in a balutan or some other kind of artificial incubator. A typical balutan is a low building with walls of bamboo or nipa palm and a corrugated iron roof. Small windows are provided for ventilation. Rice hull or sawdust is spread on the floor to absorb excess moisture.
HOW TO MAKE BALUT
1. Select eggs that are fit for incubation. Eggs should come from mated flocks, and be not more than five days old. They should have thick shells without any cracks.
2. Preheat the selected eggs under the sun for three to five hours.
3. Heat some unpolished rice in an iron cauldron or vat until it reaches a temperature of about 42 to 42.5 degrees C (107 to 108 degrees F).
4. Put 100 to 125 eggs into a large cloth made of either abaca (sinamay) or nylon.
5. Place a layer of heated rice at the bottom of a cylindrical bamboo incubator basket (45 cm in diameter and 60 cm deep), and place a bag of eggs on the rice. Alternate the bags of eggs with the bags of heated rice. Eight bags of eggs will fit into the basket. Bamboo baskets can be arranged either in a single row along the wall of the balutan, or in double rows placed in the middle of the balutan. Rice hull is firmly tamped down between baskets as an insulator.
6. Turn the eggs at least two or three times a day.
7. Heat the rice in the morning and in the afternoon on cool days.
8. Candle the eggs on the 7th, 14th and 18th day to select infertile eggs; i.e. dead embryo on first candling and dead embryo on second candling. The infertile eggs are removed, hard-boiled, and sold as a snack.
9. Eggs containing a normal embryo candled on the 16th to 18th day should be hard boiled and sold as balut or hot vit lon.
Numerous entrepreneurs have successfully adopted this technology. However, marketing aspects such as demand for the product, promotional activities and pricing need to be considered. The shelf life of balut is one day, but this may be extended to one week if the eggs are kept in a refrigerator.
Source:Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Research and Development (PCARRD), Department of Science and Technology, Los Banos, Laguna 4030, Philippines. Photo from hotwombat.com