Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fan Qie Chao Dan

When I lived in China, I came to appreciate one of the best yet most simple to make Chinese dishes.  It is known as Chinese comfort food - kind of like how we eat Chicken Noodle Soup when we don't feel well here in the west.  It is called Fan Qie Chao Dan, or Stir Fried Tomato and Egg.  

A restaurant where I frequently bought this dish in Kunming also served it with a healthy mix of green onions and cilantro, however it is not always cooked by all Chinese with these ingredients.  I love both of those ingredients, so that is how I make it.  There may also be other methods to make this dish, but this the method that reminds me most of how it was at this particular restaurant where I used to eat it.

For your ingredients, you'll need about 4 roma tomatoes per person, 2 eggs per person, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, salt, and optionally green onions and cilantro to taste.  The nice thing about a lot of Chinese cooking is measurements are quite often not "exact" measurements, just proportions and estimates.  Of course some dishes do have measurements, but I've never watched too many Chinese who were cooking straight off a recipe.

I made this serving for two people, so I used 8 tomatoes (quartered), 4 eggs, about 2-3 tablespoons of sesame oil for frying, 2-3 stalks of green onions, and a heaping handful of cilantro (because I love cilantro, you may choose to use less).

First, heat a wok or a skillet with a tablespoon or so of sesame oil.  

 Add your eggs and scramble them.  I'm aware that some stir up the eggs prior to dropping them in the skillet - that's just too many unnecessary dirty dishes for me.  You can still do it that way if you'd like to wash the extra bowl.

Scramble the eggs...

 Put the scrambled eggs into a separate bowl while you cook the other ingredients.

Add another tablespoon of sesame oil into the skillet and let it get hot.

Add the green onions to distribute their flavor through the oil.

After about thirty seconds, add your quartered roma tomatoes.

I often add in between 2 - 4 tablespoons of water to help the tomatoes cook down without becoming too dry.  

I usually let them cook until the skins just start to turn away from the sides and the juices are starting to turn orange-red.  It is usually about this point that I give the stir fry a good salting.

Then add the scrambled eggs back to the skillet.

Stir the tomato egg mixture back together, and let cook just a little longer.  In the last minute or so add the cilantro and stir it into the mix.

You don't want to cook the cilantro too much, just enough to wilt it slightly and the flavor will distribute a little bit.

Add to a bowl by itself or over rice and enjoy!

While this may be one of the simplest Chinese dishes, it really takes me back to my good times there, and it definitely a wonderful specimen of comfort food.

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  1. This looks SO yummy! I love that it is made of few simple ingredients and you get to experience the flavor of each one. I will be giving this a try minus the cilantro since I a one of those weird people who perceive the taste of cilantro as soapy (that's a real thing!), I'll just double the grunion because I love it!

  2. This sounds really delicious! I love scrabbled eggs and cooked tomatoes! Shame that my bf hates eggs and cilantro though. Maybe I'll have to make it for myself on one of the days he'd like to have steak.

    ~ K

  3. My hubby isn't a big fan of this dish either, so I typically make it for just me. It is a super easy dish to make when you're by yourself!

  4. Wow, I've never heard of that taste perception! I do know not everyone likes the flavor though - its so easy to leave out too. I like green onions too - thinking I'm going to grow some this year!


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