Monday, January 7, 2019

Egg foo yung

This was a staple of every single Chinese American restaurant I ever ate at during my childhood. Basically crunchy omelets with Chinese seasonings, what’s not to love?

The first meal I ever made for my one-day husband included this, and he was so miffed at being served Chinese American fast food that he just ate a couple of bites before taking me out to dinner. 

To his credit, he bought me my first genuine Chinese cookbooks that night and started to teach me how to cook some of the more traditional cuisines, like Cantonese and Beijing food. Who knew that would be the beginning of my career way back then?

But I disagreed with him strongly about that dinner. I've always had a very large soft spot for Chinese American. It's comforting and can be incredibly delicious. And you know what? I made this for J.H. recently, and he fell in love with it, too.

Some things just take a bit of time...
Straight outta the Sixties

Egg foo yung
Fúróng dàn  芙蓉蛋
Chinese American cuisine
Makes 10 omelets and serves 4 to 6

½ cup | 125 ml unsalted chicken stock
1 tablespoon regular soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons mild rice wine (Taiwan Mijiu)
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced

8 ounces | 125 g ground pork, good quality and not too lean
2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
¼ cup | 60 ml mild rice wine (Taiwan Mijiu)
The glossy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 cups | 8 ounces | 230 g mung bean sprouts, lightly chopped

4 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
6 large eggs, lightly beaten

The rest:
Peanut or vegetable oil, as needed
1 scallion, trimmed and shredded

1. Using a small saucepan, whisk the cornstarch into the stock until relatively smooth, and then add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar, ginger, and garlic. Bring this to a boil over high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Set a pan over medium heat. Add the pork and cook, stirring, and breaking up meat, until it is no longer pink, and then pour off the fat. Add the soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch, and pork toss over medium-high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Sprouts add crunch

3. Combine the sesame oil, pork, bean sprouts, scallions, eggs, and pepper in a bowl. Pour ½ inch | 1 cm of oil into a wok set over medium heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Using a ladle and working in batches, gently lower a ladle (about ½ cup | 125 ml) of the egg mixture into the oil. Cook, flipping once, until omelets are puffed and brown, about 2 minutes. The oil should be hot enough to brown the omelets quickly, which makes the edges lacy, while the centers cook to a juicy perfection. Add more oil around the edge of pan as necessary. Transfer omelets to a rimmed serving dish. Serve drizzled with sauce and garnished with scallions.