A classic dish from Hunan cuisine, egg and pickled chili stir-fry is an exciting and delectable way to cook eggs. It’s very simple to make so totally novice-friendly.
I’ve received quite a few requests from readers for recipes for Hunan food (湖南菜/湘菜), an underrated cuisine that, in my opinion, is as exciting as Sichuan cuisine. What I’m sharing today is a very simple dish that reflects some of the key characteristics of this cuisine that I adore dearly.
Egg and pickled chili stir-fry (Duo Jiao Ji Dan, 剁椒鸡蛋) is essentially eggs scrambled to a fluffy texture then seasoned with an aromatic pickled chili garlic sauce. It calls for simple ingredients, is easy to cook, yet, it offers a bold, flavourful taste.
Many would classify this dish into the category of Xia Fan Cai (下饭菜), meaning dishes that are so flavoursome that one would eat more rice with them. If you haven’t tasted it before, read on and give it a try!
Classic Chinese egg dishes, such as Tomato and Egg Stir-Fry, Shrimp and Egg Stir-fry, etc., often call for very simple ingredients. Today’s egg and pickled chili stir-fry is no exception. Here is what you need:
- Pickled chili garlic sauce
- Fresh chili pepper
- Fermented black beans
- Neutral cooking oil
Pickled chili garlic sauce
The combination of pickled chili garlic sauce and fermented black beans is what makes this dish distinctively Hunan-style. Among these two special ingredients, pickled chili garlic sauce, known as Duo Jiao(剁椒), is absolutely indispensable. It lends a wonderful aroma and intense heat to the dish.
I highly recommend you make your own pickled chili garlic sauce when time permits. It’s simple to prepare, long-lasting and very versatile indeed. Apart from today’s egg dish, you can also use it to season Sichuan garlic sauce dishes, such as Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce, Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, Pan-fried Tofu with Garlic Sauce, etc.
Otherwise, buy the sauce in Chinese/Asian stores. Pickled whole chili peppers are perfectly fine to be used as a substitute. Drain them from the brine and finely chop before using. Since commercial ones have different levels of saltiness, you may need to slightly adjust the quantity for this recipe.
Fermented black beans
Known as Dou Chi (豆豉), fermented black beans play an important, yet often unnoticed, role in many classic Chinese dishes, such as Mapo Tofu, Hunan Pork, etc. They add a subtle earthy fragrance and are normally paired with hot ingredients like chilies.
If you have a hard time sourcing them, consider using shop-bought black bean sauce as a substitute. The popular Lao Gan Ma preserved black beans in chili oil (老干妈风味豆豉) is a good choice.
How to cook the dish
Once you have all the ingredients at hand, it only takes a few minutes to cook! You may use a wok (traditional carbon steel or modern non-stick) or a deep frying pan (skillet).
Add a little water to the cracked eggs. This helps to achieve a more tender texture. Lightly beat the eggs until the colour becomes uniform.
Heat up oil then pour in the beaten egg. The oil should be so hot that the egg bubbles up immediately. Use a spatula to push the cooked part to the side allowing the uncooked egg to flow to the centre. As soon as no runny part can be seen, transfer the egg to a plate.
Add a little oil to the same wok/pan. Stir in pickled chili garlic sauce, minced garlic and fermented black beans. Fry until fragrant.
Put in fresh chili pepper along with the cooked egg. Stir fry for a further 10 seconds or so, then dish out to serve.
🛎 Tip: To make this dish even more authentic, try replacing regular cooking oil with lard. The best choice is to render lard yourself (e.g. from fatty pork belly cut). It tastes much better than shop-bought ones.
Egg and Pickled Chili Stir-fry (剁椒鸡蛋)
- Crack eggs into a bowl. Add water and beat until the yolk and white are fully combined.
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok/frying pan. Pour in the egg when the oil is very hot. Push around with a spatula to cook the egg evenly. Then break it into smaller pieces. Dish out as soon as no runny part is left.
- Add the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil to the wok/frying pan. Stir in pickled chili garlic sauce, garlic, and fermented black beans. Fry until fragrant.
- Put in the green chili and cooked egg. Stir fry for another 10 seconds to evenly distribute the ingredients. Dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.