Here’s a simple Chinese classic for breakfast, or anytime, and a welcome alternative to an omelet or the same old scrambled egg.
Egg foo young always reminds me of my father, long passed-away.
When I was a child, my parents weren’t adventurous with food, but once in a while we’d get take-out Chinese food and I recall them always getting a box with egg foo young in gravy. My dad didn’t believe in delivery, so it was always a treat to ride with him to pick up the food. (This was probably also a welcome respite for my mom waiting at home.) My dad had developed a rapport with the restaurant owner, and they would joke and laugh. This often resulted in something extra for free and I was intrigued by their friendship and tiny bit of human color and cultural diversity in the midst of our whiter-than-white part of the midwest.
Anyway, I never order egg foo young when I’m eating out now, so it’s possible that I haven’t had it in decades – until this afternoon.
For this dish I made two servings of the following ingredients: eggs (4, beaten, with a touch of salt and pepper), whole bean sprouts, finely chopped scallion, chopped baby bella mushroom, and finely shredded napa cabbage.
Mix those ingredients in a bowl, measure out a half cup per patty, and poor slowly into a generous amount of hot canola oil, between 1/8″ and 1/4″ deep, in a fry pan over medium-high heat. Immediately use a fork to pull the egg at the edges toward the center, so that the patty doesn’t spread too thin. Cook perhaps 2 minutes, then carefully flip the patty over and cook the other side likewise, until the egg and ingredients are cooked in the center. Remove patties and drain on paper towels. I made 2 patties at a time, for a total of 4 patties.
Meanwhile, prepare a sauce or gravy in a separate pan; combine a stock (1/2 cup, e.g., from water and chicken bouillon granules), brown sugar (1 t.), soy sauce (~1 T.) hoisin sauce (~1 T.). Heat this mixture, stirring to dissolve ingredients, then add corn starch slurry; to thicken sauce, heat just to a boil while stirring then remove from heat.
I served each patty atop a bed of pea shoots, then topped it with sauce and scallion greens.
Leftovers? No problem – make a St. Paul Sandwich!
Here are some recipes I consulted:
Wow, I just talked to my mom on the phone and reminisced: she told me that the reason we always got take-out from that Chinese restaurant was that the owner didn’t allow children in the dining room in the evening!
I think I prefer my naive, “Norman Rockwell” version of my childhood remembrance better. :-)
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It’s also fine to make the sauce/gravy with water in place of the stock or bouillon!
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