When I was growing up, egg foo yung was a very popular item on Chinese take-out menus and in most Chinese Restaurants. In recent years, however, it seemed to disappear. Reading a recipe for egg foo yung in an old cookbook not long ago, I was struck by its adaptability. It is, after all—a kind of Chinese omelet—and, as with any omelet, the filling possibilities are endless. I have done what I can, however, to improve on the old egg foo young sauce, which I remember as pretty gluey. In the end, I think this recipe is a good example of how the old becomes new again.
Total preparation time: 25 minutes
2/3 cup canned chicken broth or homemade stock
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium onion, slices (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
One 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup finely shredded or chopped cooked protein such as rotisserie chicken, prosciutto di Parma, Canadian bacon, scallops or shrimp, or a combination
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
Combine the chicken broth and the oyster sauce in a small saucepan. Whisk together the wine and cornstarch. Bring the chicken broth mixture you s boil and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 1 minute and keep warm on low heat.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large, preferably nonstick, skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium; add the celery, onion, and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until all the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated. Add the water chestnuts and the protein and cook until just warmed through. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a platter and let cool slightly.
Combine the eggs, sesame oil, salt, and pepper; stir in the cooled vegetable and protein mixture. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the egg mixture, let it set slightly, then lift up the sides to let the liquid egg slide underneath. Brown lightly on the first side, about 6 minutes. Divide into quarters and flip over one quarter at a time; cook until brown on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to 4 plates and serve each portion topped with some of the sauce.
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