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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Egg Foo Yong 芙蓉蛋

Difficult not to love, egg foo yong is one of the most popular dishes commonly found in a typical Chinese restaurant's menu in Malaysia. Often this is something that anyone can easily relate to when it comes to ordering out of the menu, and especially so when one runs out of idea of what to have for a meal - all made possible pretty much because of its great compatibility with almost everything else in the menu. Eggs do amazing things really. Versatile they sure are, there are simply too many ways to have them presented - fried as it is, soft or hard boiled, stir fried, poached, stewed and braised. So much so that they easily could have been made one of the many essentials or staples in our everyday meals even (sigh, if only these goodies come cholesterol-free lol).  

I have very little idea about the origin of this egg foo yong, let alone the real history and meaning behind the name. Egg foo yong to me personally is an omelet perfectly pan fried to golden brown on the whole, preferably with the rim around it all appearing crisped up to perfection. Not an ordinary kind of omelet certainly, it is one made incorporating a few ingredients - simple ingredients that I think are the essentials and basic to define the egg foo yong. They are the Chinese barbequed pork (char siu), shrimps and plenty of onions. Without any, I probably will have named it an omelet simply rather than tagging it as the egg foo yong. But I have got to say that none of the above actually holds true against any references about egg foo yong. It may ring a bell especially to those who are familiar with egg foo yong often served in Chinese restaurants in Malaysia, but of course different people of different regions or nations may have totally different definitions unique to themselves. However it is, this very version of egg foo yong is one that I have come to learn, like and eventually love and adore.

char siu - one that easily stands out and gives a distinct flavor to egg foo yong in general

Egg Foo Yong 芙蓉蛋
Serves 3-4
1/4lb Chinese barbequed pork 
8 shrimps (weighing around 1/3lb), shelled and deveined
a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar for shrimps
1 large red onion,  halved then sliced into strips
*6 eggs, beaten with 2 to 3 dashes of white pepper powder and 2 tsps light soy sauce
3 tbsps cooking oil 
1 to 2 leaves iceberg lettuce for serving (optional)

*Egg yolks to be adjusted according to personal health preference. I retained three yolks for this, discarding the rest.

1. Begin with having the ingredients ready. Slice the barbequed pork and have them diced up. Similarly, have the shrimps diced and add in a pinch of salt and sugar each. Mix well and set aside.
2. Heat up a skillet with a tbsp of cooking oil. Once well heated, add in the onions and stir on high heat for about a minute or two until they start wilting, turning transparent and caramelizing lightly.
3. Bring in the diced shrimps next. Stir-fry lightly until the shrimps change color. Add in the barbequed pork next. Stir for about a minute and remove from heat. 
4. Transfer them into the bowl of beaten eggs, and mix them evenly throughout the egg mixture with a fork.
5. Heat up a large round non-stick pan with the remaining oil. Once hot enough, turn the heat down to medium and pour in the egg mixture gently. Swirl to spread the egg mixture throughout the pan evenly. Leave undisturbed until the bottom starts to set a little.
6. Using a spatula, gently push one edge towards the centre and tilt the pan slightly to let the liquid egg mixture on top flow in underneath replacing the empty space. Do the same around the rest of the edges until all the egg mixture has a fair share of heat underneath. Be sure to spread out the ingredients evenly in the process.
7. Let fry gently until the bottom starts browning and appearing set. Carefully lift and flip the omelet over. Let fry until it browns evenly on the whole.
8. Remove from heat and serve on a plate lined with some iceberg lettuce leaves. Serve hot. It goes exceptionally well with a bowl of plain rice simply. 

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