Friday, April 17, 2009

Tomato Eggs (蕃茄炒蛋)

Tomato Eggs is a very simple, humble dish in Chinese cooking.

Growing up, my parents made this dish often. Now I make it about once every two weeks. We always have eggs in the fridge and I always load up on some tomatoes when I go shopping. So we usually have all the essential ingredients sitting at home. It's an easy go-to dish.

However, it wasn't until recently that I realized my method of preparing this dish was all wrong!

I would cook the tomato wedges first until soft, add eggs to the tomato mixture, and let it simmer until the eggs are done. That usually resulted in soggy eggs that had no shape and overall, a watery dish. It still tasted great, but lacked in presentation.

While browsing the other day, I found this and this. Interesting! Both recipes indicated that the correct way is to cook the eggs and tomato wedges separately, and then combine the two at the end. To make the eggs more flavorful, Rasa Malaysia even put sesame oil and rice wine in her eggs + sugar in her tomato wedges.

I gave her recipe a try, with tiny modifications.

Oh yum! I think I like Tomato Eggs even better now! Even hubs, who usually doesn't care for these subtle differences, said that the new version is better. :) I will definitely cook the dish this way from now on.

I hope you give this authentic dish a try!

Tomato Eggs:

- 3 large eggs
- 1 large tomato (cut into thin wedges)
- 1 tsp rice wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp chicken broth (or water)
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- chopped scallion (optional) {I didn't have any scallions so I used cilantro}

1. Break eggs into a bowl and beat the eggs until they break thoroughly. Add salt, pepper, sesame oil, and rice wine. Blend well. Set aside.
2. Heat up pan with cooking oil. Add egg mixture. Cook the eggs gently. You want the eggs to be in bite-size chunks. As soon as the eggs are cooked, dish out and set aside.
3. Add more oil to pan. Add tomato wedges. Add sugar and chicken broth. Lightly salt if you wish. Cook until tomato wedges are soft and have released their juices.
4. Add eggs back to pan. Stir to incorporate everything. Dish out, add chopped scallions (optional), and serve immediately.

Notes:
- The bits of skin should fall off the tomato wedges as they cook, you can then fish them out with chopsticks.
- If the dish is too blend for your taste, consider eating it with something spicy. When I prepare this dish, I usually have a vegetable dish and eat with plain rice.

5 comments:

  1. Yolkshire TerrierApril 17, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    Who woulda thought that simply cooking the eggs first and then adding them back in later would make such a big difference! I'll admit, the combination doesn't sound too special, but it sure does taste like a warm homey dish.

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  2. I've never had this dish before but I love tomatoes and I love eggs so I am sure I would enjoy this meal.

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  3. oh my gosh - yes, that's how my mom taught me! i hovered near the stove while she asked me to plate one of the ingredients first, as the separate cooking would make it more enticing. i was so excited to see this recipe on your blog because it's my uncle and my brothers' favorite dish!

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  4. I cook the eggs and tomatoes separately, too, although I also add a little rice vinegar and sugar to the tomatoes to give it even more flavor (similar to ketchup!). Here's my version: http://the-cooking-of-joy.blogspot.com/2009/02/tomato-and-eggs-over-rice.html

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  5. Hey I am happy you love the recipe even more now. :)

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