Only three common ingredients needed! Simple yet delicious, tomato and egg stir-fry is truly a national dish adored by every family in China.
tomato & egg stir-fry is truly a national dish
I’m wondering if any of you know what the colours of the Chinese Olympic team uniform are. They are red and yellow, representing the national flag. However, Chinese people are not very impressed by the design and have given it an unofficial nickname “Tomato and egg stir-fry”. Although mocked by the public, I don’t think the designer should feel ashamed. After all, tomato and egg stir-fry is truly a national dish, simple yet delicious, and adored by every family in China.
Only 3 common ingredients needed
In their very first attempt at cooking, most Chinese children are taught to cook “tomato and egg stir-fry”. It’s a simple dish that involves no difficulties. And it’s cheap to make. Whenever I’m in a hurry, the idea of cooking tomato and egg stir-fry always comes to my rescue.
Only THREE common ingredients needed for this dish: tomato, egg and garlic (I don’t include oil, salt and sugar, I assume you always have them in the kitchen).
It gives you layers of flavours
It takes only a few minutes to cook this dish. Simply accompanied by a bowl of plain rice or noodles, it makes a complete meal. Less is more. Although it involves neither fancy ingredients nor complicated techniques, tomato and egg stir-fry is by no mean a plain dish. It gives you layers of flavours, such as sour, salty, sweet, garlicky, and pleasant textures from mushy tomato and fluffy egg.
A few tips for this super simple dish
Recently in an online conversation, my old school friend Hua recalled: “You made tomato and egg stir-fry for us. I remember you used a strange method that was different from my family’s. It was delicious.” We were teenage girls back then, having an exciting dinner party when our parents were not around.
I don’t have any recollection of the dish I made, not to mention the special method that impressed my friend. However, after years of practice in the kitchen, I do have a few tips for this super simple dish.
- Add a little water to the raw egg to make it fluffier and tenderer when cooked.
- Use ripe tomatoes and peel off the skin. This makes the dish more flavoursome, juicier and gives it a better texture.
- Use garlic to enhance the fragrance. It goes very well with tomato and egg (This is my personal preference. Many people use spring onion instead).
Tomato and egg stir-fry (番茄炒蛋)
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 3 eggs
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped spring onion, for garnishing, optional
- Peel off the skin of the tomatoes (see note). Then cut them into small chunks.
- Beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok (or a frying pan) on high heat. Pour in eggs when oil smokes. When the edge is cooked, push to one side to let uncooked part touch the bottom of the wok. Take the egg out as soon as there is no more liquid (do not overcook).
- Put 1 teaspoon of oil to the same wok, cook tomato and garlic on medium heat until tomato is a little mushy.
- Add cooked egg. Roughly break up the egg with the end of a spatula. Sprinkle salt and sugar, then give everything a quick stir.
- Garnish with spring onion before serving if you wish.
- Cut a small cross on each tomato.
- Place them in very hot water.
- Take them out when you see the cut split.
- Pull the skin off when cool enough to touch.
Even if you don’t have any special Chinese ingredients to hand for the moment, you can still try this national dish of China. By the way, I have a soup recipe using very similar ingredients: Egg drop soup with tomato (番茄蛋汤). Check it out if you’re interested.
Have a yummy day!