De­light­ful mix

Louisa Chu tells us how to com­bine toma­toes with eggs for a tasty and crunchy treat

The Gulf Today - Time Out - - COVER STORY - METHOD

Some­times I think that the way I learned how to cook toma­toes and eggs was the worst. So it’s prob­a­bly good if you al­ready have your own recipe for this com­mon, Chi­nese stir-fried dish if we can even call them recipes, with so few in­gre­di­ents and such sim­ple tech­nique.

Plus, the dish is purely per­sonal. My mom’s ver­sion doesn’t wa­ver, al­ways soft spoon­fuls where crim­son and golden ten­drils be­come one. My grand­mother ’s was firmer, red sliv­ers nes­tled among yel­low curds, sur­pris­ing un­til I re­mem­ber her gen­tle na­ture be­lied strong be­liefs.

I must have drawn on this ma­tri­ar­chal lin­eage when I learned how to make this dish my own, not at home with their guid­ing hands, but on the fiery wok line at my aunt and un­cle’s now-closed restau­rant. I’m sure it was hot, but the deaf­en­ing ex­haust fan over­head also al­ways made it feel like cook­ing in the eye of a trop­i­cal storm.

The in­gre­di­ents, while care­fully prepped into bite­size pieces by a great-aunt who worked in back, were far from farm-to-ta­ble.

The way they came to­gether, with scorch­ing speed and just the way I wanted, changed all the time.

Right now, in the har­vest sea­son, it’s all about the toma­toes, the wildest heir­loom colours, and if they’re lit­er­ally burst­ing with ripeness, all the bet­ter. If you’re lucky enough to grow your own, you know they’re the best. Me and my two black thumbs will go to the farm­ers mar­kets to res­cue the unlovely ones to reach their full po­ten­tial.

STIR-FRIED HEIR­LOOM TOMA­TOES AND EGGS PREP: 10 MIN­UTES COOK: 10-15 MIN­UTES MAKES: 2-3 SERV­INGS IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

6 TA­BLE­SPOONS PEANUT OR CO­CONUT OIL 2 THUMB-SIZE PIECES GINGER, SKIN ON, THICKLY SLICED 3 SCALLIONS SLICED CROSSWISE AS THINLY AS POS­SI­BLE, WHITES AND GREENS SEP­A­RATED 6 LARGE EGGS, SALTED TO TASTE 1 POUND RIPE HEIR­LOOM TOMA­TOES, CORED, CUT IN BITE-SIZE PIECES 1 CLOVE GAR­LIC, PEELED, CHOPPED AS FINELY AS POS­SI­BLE 2 TA­BLE­SPOONS VINE­GAR FINE SEA SALT CILANTRO, SESAME OIL, BLACK PEP­PER, PLUS FRIED WON­TON STRIPS, PRAWN CRACK­ERS OR TOR­TILLA CHIPS FOR CRUNCH STEAMED RICE HOT SAUCE

1. Heat wok or skil­let over medium-high heat. Add half the oil, care­fully swirling to coat pan. When oil sim­mers, add ginger; stir-fry un­til fra­grant, about 10 sec­onds. Add scal­lion whites, then eggs or tofu. Scram­ble un­til barely set; trans­fer to a bowl.

2. Add toma­toes then gar­lic to wok; stir-fry over high heat un­til tomato juice re­leases and starts to thicken (add corn­starch slurry if de­sired), 7-10 min­utes. Salt to taste.

3. Re­turn eggs to pan; stir to­gether gen­tly. Re­move from heat. Gar­nish with scal­lion greens, cilantro, sesame oil, pep­per and chips.

4. Eat spooned over in­di­vid­ual bowls of steamed rice. Serve with hot sauce as de­sired.

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