June 22, 2014
0 Ratings
  • Serves 2-4
Author Notes

This recipe is from Irene Kuo, whose book "The Key to Chinese Cooking", published in 1977 by Knopf, is out of print, but is well worth ordering from Amazon for $1. Of this recipe she says: "The Old-fashioned Egg Fu Yung, as old as the history of Chinese cuisine in the United States, may not be totally authentic, since in China it is never served with a sauce, but it is delicious and extremely easy to make." —JohnL

What You'll Need
  • Brown sauce
  • 1.25 cups chicken or meat stock
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2-3 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • Sprinkling of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 3 TB water and 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Egg fu yung mixture
  • 1 cup finely diced cooked chicken, such as leftover rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup defrosted frozen peas or fresh, parboiled 3 minutes
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh or canned mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 eggs, well beaten. John's note: I prefer not to beat the eggs; instead I simply stir the eggs with the other ingredients until mixed. Less likelihood of the omelets breaking apart.
  • 3 cups oil or much less if using an electric skillet as described below
  1. Make the brown sauce: Bring the stock to a simmer in a small saucepan; add the sherry, soy sauce, and pepper. Turn heat low, give the cornstarch mixture a big stir, pour it into the broth, stirring in circular motions until it is thickened and smooth. Turn off the heat, cover, and keep it hot. John's note: I like to have a little extra cornstarch/water slurry at the ready in case it is needed to thicken the sauce properly (Sometimes the amount given in the recipe produces a sauce that needs extra thickening). Add only enough of the cornstarch slurry to do the job. Combine the chicken with all the vegetables and seasonings in a large bowl, adding the eggs last. Mix well.
  2. Heat a wok or deep heavy pot over high heat for 30 seconds; add the oil and heat until a cube of bread foams snappily, about 350 degrees. Ladle in a fourth of the egg mixture; when it forms an omelet, ladle in another one. Deep-fry until the bottoms are light brown, then turn and brown the other side. Sandwich each between 2 spatulas, pressing lightly to extract excess oil, and lift out to a hot serving platter. Do the other 2 omelets. Reheat the sauce until piping hot, stirring, and pour it over the omelets. John's note: a garnish of a little finely slivered scallion scattered over the sauced egg foo young at serving time will perk up the appearance of this dish.
  3. Note from John: I like to prepare the omelets in a 10-inch electric skillet; fry in 1/4 inch of oil heated to 350 as follows: either pour the egg mixture in free-form or do as I do and use a 4-inch round metal cookie/dough cutter set in the pan and pour in egg mixture and with a fork drag around the solid ingredients to distribute evenly; when the egg has partially set, remove the ring, and continue in the same way with the remaining mixture. You can do all four omelets in a single batch.
  4. Kuo's sauce is excellent, but I will offer one variation that I have found to be delicious as well (good egg foo young sauces are not easy to find!). This one is from the California Cooking Academy: 3/4 cup chicken stock (broth), 1 TB oyster sauce, 1/4 tsp sugar, pinch of white pepper, 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 TB water, few drops Asian sesame oil. Bring the first four ingredients to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and add cornstarch mixture, stirring continuously until sauce thickens (about 30 seconds). Blend in sesame oil. Makes approximately 1 cup. Believe it or not, sometimes I will make a batch of this sauce and (don't laugh!) sip it out of a mug like soup. Very tasty!
  5. Variations: the filling may be varied with cooked turkey meat, roast pork, crab, lobster, cooked or raw small shrimp, or cubed fish fillet; A combination of 2 or 3 meats is NICE. Shredded celery and bamboo shoots may be added to or substituted for the vegetables, but don't omit the bean sprouts--they give the eggs the right amount of moisture and lend a light crunchiness that is essential.
  6. A final note: this recipe looks long, but it is really nothing more than (1) sauce and (2) the omelet mixture fried up into little cakes. Try this recipe--if you like the "classic" version you've had in restaurants, you will love this recipe.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • NotTooSweet
  • Pat Kurtz
    Pat Kurtz
  • emcsull
  • JohnL

10 Reviews

Pat K. October 15, 2018
I LOVE Egg Foo Young, but haven't been able to find a restaurant around here that makes it the way I've always had it since childhood. They all put broccoli and some even use baby corn! I like broccoli, but NOT in Egg Foo Young! However, this recipe sounds good, but the author's suggestion to put SUGAR in it....YUK! I'm diabetic and we ALL have too much sugar in our diets. Please stick to the traditional! If you ever liked Egg Foo Young then why change it!!!???
NotTooSweet August 21, 2014
We live in Iowa and can not find any restaurants that make Egg Foo Yung which is my husband's favorite Chinese dish. Whenever we visit family on the east coast - he makes sure to get his "fix" at least once before we return home. When I came across this recipe I figured I might as well give it a try. I used my deep wok and it worked perfectly. The pancakes puffed up and got so golden and were just delicious. Thanks so much for sharing this - I'm sure it will be in a regular rotation at our house.
JohnL August 21, 2014
I am happy that you enjoyed this wonderful dish. Egg Foo Yung fans can't miss with this recipe. Occasionally I try simplified versions, and I'm never as happy. I recently tried Donna Hay's recipe. Mario Batali has dubbed her the zen mistress of simplicity. It was certainly faster than my recipe, but by comparison I found less interesting, and was left unsatisfied. But for anyone who might want to try her recipe, here it is: Jo's Chinese-Style Chicken Omelette. 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp finely grated ginger, 2 scallions, shredded, 1 1/2 oz snow peas, trimmed & shredded, 3 oz cooked shredded chicken, 4 eggs lightly beaten, 1 1/2 oz bean sprouts, hoisin or chili sauce to serve. Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, ginger, green onions and snow peas to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until the snow peas are tender. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 1 minute or until heated. Pour over the eggs and stir once to distribute. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until the eggs are set. Fold the omelette in half, place on a serving plate and top with the bean sprouts. Serve with hoisin or chili sauce. Serves 2. Donna Hay has quite a following, so hopefully somebody will enjoy her version of Egg Foo Yung.
emcsull June 23, 2014
just terrific, John, just terrific. I neglected the sauce for a bit (turned it off) and it was not quite as thick as it could have been, but delicious. Did not have a 4 inch form so they spread a bit like okonomiyaki but also pretty delicious. Egg foo yung takes me back, thank you so much for that recipe !!!
JohnL June 23, 2014
Thanks emcsull. I have perfectionist tendencies and that's why I use the ring and an electric skillet to shape and fry the pancakes. The "form" I use is from a set of metal cookie/biscuit cutters in graduated sizes, and I just use the largest one. It doesn't harm the cutter at all. About the sauce, I think some authors low-ball the amount of cornstarch in Chinese recipes in order to prevent overly thickened sauces; that's why I always have a little extra cornstarch slurry at the ready just in case the sauce needs a little more oomph a the moment of truth to thicken it up "just right". Egg foo young sauce is notoriously thick anyway. I'm glad you enjoyed this retro dish!
emcsull June 23, 2014
and how. just have to get my hands on one of those rings. Then it should be perfect ! Thanks again.
JohnL June 23, 2014
On Williams-Sonoma's website search "Round Cookie Cutters" . I'm sure Sur La Table has them, too. Just be sure to get metal, not plastic.
emcsull June 24, 2014
thanks for the tip ! But I don't live in the States right now, so will have to forage here in Munich. There is an open market for homey-kitcheny stuff at the end of July, I should surely find them there.
And I did just use a non-stick frying pan and not TOO much oil. Too much trouble to fire up the wok.
JohnL June 24, 2014
How cool! I hope you're enjoying living in Europe. Long LONG ago my dad was stationed in Germany (Frankfurt) and (lucky me) it coincided with my junior year of college. I had the best Wiener Schnitzel of my life right there in Frankfurt. I remember the experience of driving down with my family to visit the American College of Switzerland over the summer just to check it out even though I had already decided to spend my year abroad in Madrid, but was curious to see the other school I had applied to. We spent the night in the village of Leysin and had Rouladen in the restaurant across from the school. I later found out that had I just narrowly missed attending school high in the Alps above Geneva where a young and still unknown Sylvester Stallone was working as the girls' basketball coach and taking his first drama classes!
emcsull December 20, 2014
Hello John, finally got the form and made Shrimp Foo Yung today for lunch, it worked very well with the form, I have to say. Had to forgo the mushrooms otherwise my son would have spurned it, make it next time when he isn't around. I have to try the second sauce, made the first and because I cannot leave well enough alone I put a bit of fish sauce in as well, pronounced delicious. Thanks again for this recipe, it really takes me back !