If there was one thing I remembered from my childhood, it would be Chinese food, or what I thought was Chinese food.
Growing up, I ate a lot of Chinese takeaway. But let’s be clear here: it was Chinese-Canadian takeaway. You know the like – beef and broccoli, sweet and sour pork, wonton soup, house special chow mein, fried rice… We’d always order the same things. And it would also be those things. Sometimes we’d order the scrambled egg and prawns on rice noodles, sometimes we’d go for a Singapore curry fried rice. But I ate so much of it as a kid that I both love and hate it now in my adulthood.
Amongst those types of food, was egg foo young. This was a dish our family never ordered. It never touched our table once and the thought to order it never crossed our minds. Thinking back at it now, it seems that perhaps this is more of an Americanized Chinese food? Regardless, the first time I had it was when I made it in my kitchen recently for a quick dinner.
What exactly is egg foo young? It seems to me that is a quickly vegetable omelette, tinged with Shaoxing wine and soy sauce. It’s a great way to use up leftover vegetables and herbs that may have been forgotten in your fridge – in my case, bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro and carrots. The whole thing was quick from start to finish and great with rice. I didn’t bother with the “sauce” because any type of cornstarch-laden sauce kind of freaks me out so I did without it.
This can be a simple breakfast, lunch or dinner and goes excellently with steamed white rice and chili garlic sauce.
EGG FOO YOUNG – serves 4
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 shallots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp dried red chili flakes
4 cups bean sprouts, rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, stems only
1 carrot, diced finely
4 scallions, sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp shaoxing wine
7 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk
salt + pepper
Beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large cast iron or non-stick pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat and add in the shallots, garlic and chili flakes until it has softened and some colour has been added to it, about two minutes.
Next, add in the bean sprouts, carrots, scallions and cilantro. Add in the soy sauce and Shaoxing and stir fry for a minute. It shouldn’t take long for the vegetables and herbs to cook.
Slowly swirl in the beaten egg mixture until the entire pan is coated with egg. At this point, you can lower the heat to medium and cover so that it cooks evenly for about 5 minutes or if you’re feeling confident, flip it over after a minute. Once done, serve with rice and hot sauce.