Tomato & Egg Stir Fry (Fan Qie Chao Dan)

March 9th, 2012

Tomato & Egg Stir Fry (Fan Qie Chao Dan)

“Real” Chinese food, more often than not, is a far cry from the sugary, glazed, and fried take-out stuff that many westerners envision. Authentic Chinese cuisine tends toward simple and good nourishing recipes designed to feed a family, like this healthy stir fry made with nothing but fresh tomatoes, eggs and scallions.

My wife makes this at home quite regularly using the recipe handed down from her mother, who is a Taiwanese immigrant and an excellent cook herself. We eat a lot of these home-cooked things from her family’s repertoire. This is just that kind of dish—something you make and enjoy at home using fresh ingredients, nothing complicated or flashy.

Because the ingredients are so few, it’s important to use good tomatoes that have great flavor and sweetness such as home grown or farmer’s market varieties. The eggs should be cooked softly, to a creamy texture that blends with the tomato juices. Scallions can be added for a little extra punch. Add a little seasoning, then serve this over steamed rice so that the flavor of the mixture soaks in. This is more of a “stew” than a “fry.” Like many “real” Chinese dishes, it’s quick to cook, easy to eat, and very healthy. It’s good as a side, but works as an entree or as part of a set of entrees, too.

Note: Traditionally, this is cooked with scallions in the mixture itself. My photo above is a variation where I have added them thin-sliced, as a raw garnish.

Tomato & Egg Stir Fry (Fan Qie Chao Dan)

Ingredients
  • 4 good tomatoes
  • 5-6 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup scallions, cut diagonally (optional)
  • ~1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • White pepper
  • Sesame oil
Preparation
  1. Beat the eggs in a bowl and cut the tomatoes into 6 wedges each
  2. Set a saute pan or wok over medium-high heat. Once the pan gets nice and hot, add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat until shimmering.
  3. Add the eggs. Let them sit for a few seconds in the oil until just barely cooked. Stir the egg slightly (don’t break them up too much), then take out and put aside. This should take no more than 1 minute—don’t worry if the egg is not completely cooked yet.
  4. With the pan still hot, add the rest of the vegetable oil (2 tablespoons) and throw in the tomatoes (and scallions too, if you like to use them) let cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring. The tomato skins will start to peel off and you can remove them with a fork or chopsticks if you like.
  5. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the eggs back to the pan. Add a small amount of water and stir until the tomato juices, egg, and water mix together.
  6. Add sugar and salt to taste—the mixture should lean towards the sweet side. How much sugar you need will depend on the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.
  7. Season with a small amount of white pepper and a few drops of sesame oil, to taste, and stir. Serve over steamed rice.
Tomato & Egg Stir Fry (Fan Qie Chao Dan)
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“Tell me what you eat, I`ll tell you who you are.”
~ Anthelme Brillat-Savarin