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
- Serves 2-4
- Brown sauce
chicken or meat stock
light soy sauce
Sprinkling of black pepper
cornstarch dissolved in 3 TB water and 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Egg fu yung mixture
finely diced cooked chicken, such as leftover rotisserie chicken
finely diced onions
fresh bean sprouts
defrosted frozen peas or fresh, parboiled 3 minutes
sliced fresh or canned mushrooms
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.
oil or much less if using an electric skillet as described below
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.