Fios de ovos
|Alternative names||Angel hair|
|Place of origin||Portugal|
|Main ingredients||Eggs (chiefly yolks), sugar syrup|
|Cookbook: Fios de ovos Media: Fios de ovos|
Angel hair, called in Portuguese fios de ovos ("egg threads") is a traditional Portuguese sweet food made of eggs (chiefly yolks), drawn into thin strands and boiled in sugar syrup. They are a traditional element in Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine, both in desserts and as side dishes.
The preparation is also known in Spain as huevo hilado ("spun egg"), in Japan as keiran somen (鶏卵素麺, "hen's egg noodle"), in Cambodia as vawee, in Malaysia as jala mas ("golden net"), and in Thailand as foi thong (ฝอยทอง; "golden strands").
Like other egg-based Portuguese sweets, fios de ovos is believed to have been created by Portuguese monks and nuns around the 14th or 15th centuries. Laundry was a common service performed by convents and monasteries, and their use of egg whites for "starching" clothes created a large surplus of yolks. The recipe was probably taken to Japan and Thailand by Portuguese explorers between the 16th and 18th centuries.
In Portugal and Brazil, fios-de-ovos are often used in fillings and decorations of cakes and other desserts, or as accompaniments for both sweet and savory dishes. They are often served with canned fruits alongside Christmas turkey. In Japan, they are served in the form of dessert rolls (wagashi), and known as keiran sōmen (鶏卵素麺?, egg yolk thin noodles).
Recipes for fios de ovos generally require egg yolks and egg whites in the approximate ratio 12:1. These are beaten together, and forced through a fine strainer several times to remove all solid egg material. The mixture is dropped into simmering sugar syrup (about 2500 g/L) through a special funnel with a narrow opening, which must be moved around so as to keep the strands from touching before they have hardened. The cooking should be done in small batches. The strands must be pushed down into the syrup with a slotted spoon, kept there for about 30 seconds; then they must be removed, immersed into ice water, squeezed lightly, dipped into cold lighter syrup (about 400 g/L), squeezed again, and left to dry.
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