Start to Finish:
Egg foo young isn't an authentic dish you'll find in mainland China. It was invented by Chinese immigrants to the United States in the early 1900s to please American palates. This omelet-like creation, filled with Chinese ingredients such as bean sprouts, shrimp, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and pork and then topped with an oyster-sauce gravy, is easy to create at home; it may not be so easy to find in most Chinese restaurants nowadays as it and other Cantonese-inspired food have fallen out of vogue.
If you do find it in a restaurant, the eggs may be served folded, with the ingredients embedded inside, or with the ingredients mixed in with the eggs. This recipe creates a puffy pancake from the cooked eggs, shrimp and vegetables that is married with a silky smooth and salty sauce.
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons dry sherry
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for frying
- 4 ounces raw peeled, raw shrimp -- deveined and chopped
- 1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
- 3 tablespoons bean sprouts
- 3 tablespoons canned bamboo shoots, chopped
- 4 large eggs, beaten 2 tablespoons scallions, white and green parts chopped
- 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
Make the Sauce
Place the broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sherry, garlic and ginger into a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. In a small dish, stir together 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch and a tablespoon of water to create a smooth paste. Add to the broth mixture, stirring or whisking constantly to prevent clumps from forming. Bring back to a simmer or light boil until the sauce is thick, smooth and glossy. If you prefer a thicker sauce, mix another teaspoon of cornstarch in a bit of water, add it while stirring and bring to a boil to make it thicker. Remove from the heat and cover to keep it warm.
Prepare the Omelet
Mix the soy sauce, cornstarch, rice wine vinegar, sherry, sesame oil, salt and pepper into a smooth paste in a large bowl. Stir in the shrimp, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and eggs.
Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan until it is shimmering.
Spoon about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture into the shimmering oil. Flip as the edges start to become slightly golden -- about 2 minutes in. Cook until the egg mixture is puffed and toasty brown. Use a slotted spatula to move the egg to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain off any excess oil. Repeat to make four omelets.
Place each omelet on a plate. Drizzle it with the reserved, warm sauce and sprinkle it with scallions. Serve immediately.
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.