kake: The word "菜單" (Chinese for "menu") in various shades of purple. (菜單)
[personal profile] kake
Creamy folds of stirfried egg sit intermingled with lightly-cooked fresh tomatoes.  Juice from the tomatoes is pooled on the white plate.

Today's dish rather breaks the mould of what British people (at least) might expect from a "stirfry". 蕃茄炒蛋 (fān qié chǎo dàn) translates directly as "stirfried [] eggs [] with tomatoes [蕃茄]", and this is pretty much exactly what it is.

It's a fairly simple dish, really, and though I've seen it on quite a few restaurant menus, it's also easy enough to cook at home — I often have it for a quick lunch on a weekday, served over plain rice. iLearn Culture says that it's probably the most common dish seen on family dinner tables in China.

I've also seen it listed on menus as 蕃茄炒雞蛋 (fān qié chǎo jī dàn), which is the same thing but emphasising the fact that it's a chicken (雞) egg, and as 蕃茄蛋飯 (fān qié dàn fàn), which is the same thing but served with rice. Remember also that 蕃茄 and 番茄 (both pinyinised as fān qié) are used interchangeably on menus, and you may also see a different word used for tomato: 西紅柿 (xī hóng shì).

The recipe I use is Rasa Malaysia's tomato eggs (though I like to cook the tomatoes a bit longer than she does, and I also peel them first unless I'm feeling lazy). Food Mayhem's tomato fried eggs recipe omits the spring onions, while Beijing Made Easy's version also omits the spring onions but adds garlic. Finally, the eGullet thread on tomato eggs has some discussion of the different ways to make the dish.

(The photo at the top of this post is of the version served at Royal Palace; it has a rather higher proportion of tomato than I usually use.)

Edit: and checking my RSS reader now, I see that Sunflower and Appetite For China both posted about tomato eggs at around the same time I did — now there's a coincidence!

Recipes linked in this post:

If you have any questions or corrections, please leave a comment (here's how) and let me know (or email me at kake@earth.li). See my introductory post to the Chinese menu project for what these posts are all about.
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December 2012


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