Tomatoes and Scrambled Eggs Stir Fry (番茄炒蛋)
January 18, 2020
If memory serves me right, stir-fried tomatoes and scrambled eggs was probably the first dish I learned to cook growing up. And I think it will probably be the first main dish I will teach my boys when they are old enough to handle kitchen equipment safely. I can already imagine my boys in their college dorms eating a plate of rice with freshly made stir-fried tomatoes and scramble eggs poured on top while their dorm mates looking enviously and curiously at the sight.
Why choose this dish to teach my boys first, you ask? Because it is so easy to make and it is very tasty and nutritious. Its ingredients are few. Its preparation is simple. And it takes minutes to finish. The tomato’s sweet and acidic flavor is well balanced with egg’s mild and slightly savory taste. The juicy texture of tomatoes also complements the soft and airy feel of eggs. Even the stark contrast between tomato’s redness and egg’s yellowness makes it look appetizing. The dish also pairs extremely well with plain rice and noodles which will soak up the juice and become a bit sweet and sour.
Just like savory egg pudding, every Chinese family also has their own version of a stir-fried tomatoes and scrambled eggs. Some taste sweeter, some are saltier, and some might be even on the sour side. But when it comes down to ingredients, there are only two that are always present in everyone’s version—tomatoes and eggs. I usually cook mine with fewer condiments to preserve the natural flavor, resulting in a dish that is not overly sweet that has a slight savory tang in the back. You can certainly experiment with the amount of sugar and salt, or even add a bit of Chinese cooking wine to the scrambled eggs. You can also add soy sauce and ketchup towards the end to enhance the flavor.
Active Time: 20 min
Total Time: 20 min
Serving: 2 -3 people family style
- 2 to 3 medium tomatoes (preferably beefsteak tomatoes or tomatoes on the vine)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 scallion
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Additional pinch of kosher salt
- Some vegetable oil (about 2 tablespoons)
- Sesame oil (optional)
- Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and cut them into small wedges.1
- Crack the 3 eggs into a bowl and add the ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Beat the eggs until well mixed. Then chop the scallion into small pieces.
- Make scrambled eggs. Heat a skillet or shallow pan over medium-high. Then add about 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil is just getting hot, add the chopped scallions and wait for half a minute for the scallion’s fragrance to come out. Then pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Wait a couple of seconds until the bottom of the egg liquid begins to coagulate, then gently start tossing and stirring, and at the same time reduce the heat to medium. Do not break the eggs into small pieces. When the eggs become more solid, but still look quite moist and shiny, take them out immediately and place into a bowl. The whole process should take no more than 2 minutes otherwise the eggs will taste too rubbery.
- Clean the skillet or use a new pan. Heat another tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is getting hot, add the tomato wedges and sprinkle the pinch of salt over the tomato wedges.2 Gently toss and stir the tomatoes. There will be more and more juice coming out as you toss and stir. When the tomatoes start losing their raw color and turn into a more rich, reddish, and almost orange hue, add the 1 tablespoon of sugar. Then add the scrambled eggs.
- Keep tossing and stirring gently for about half a minute until the tomatoes and scrambled eggs are well mixed but not disintegrated. Pour them into a plate. (Optional: add a few drops of sesame oil to finish if desired).
- If you prefer not to eat the tomato skins, immerse the uncut tomatoes in a pot of very hot water for 3-5 minutes or blanch them in boiling water for a minute then immediately shock them in cold water. In both methods, the skin should peel off easily. Then proceed to cut them into small wedges.
- Ideally, the more juice from the tomatoes the better. The pinch of salt will help more juice come out of the tomato wedges, making them more flavorful and easier to mix with the scrambled eggs. Some versions of this dish even add water so there is more juice. I usually try not to dilute the juice with water. But if there is little juice coming out, you can add 2 tablespoon water before adding sugar.