Quick and Easy

Really Crispy Egg Foo Young (Hong Kong-Style Omelet)

June 28, 2024
0 Ratings
Photo by Food52
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Egg foo young is quietly receding into the realm of the nostalgic. Once a ubiquitous staple, the dish is now harder and harder to find in American Chinese restaurants. Yet, despite its somewhat faded glory, egg foo young holds potent allure and a couple of important lessons in texture, culinary resourcefulness, and building delicious sauces.

The heart of egg foo young's appeal lies in its seemingly paradoxical simplicity and complexity. At its core, it is an omelet—comfortingly familiar to Western diners—but it quickly distinguishes itself through a confetti of finely-chopped ingredients; meats, vegetables, and seafood, each bringing a distinct texture and flavor. It's this symphony of tastes, encapsulated in a fluffy, egg-based envelope that makes egg foo young a culinary experience that bridges cultures and palates.

The version that follows is a further evolution—a further reinterpretation—of the American Chinese classic. Because I think the best parts of the omelet are the crispy craggly bits that lace the edge, this recipe capitalizes on that crumbly egginess by borrowing a technique from Thailand for making Thai-style omelet, Kai Jeow. The whipped egg is fried in a generous amount of oil, thoroughly, until all the moisture within the egg has evaporated, leaving a thoroughly golden-brown, maximally crispy dish. When combined with the chopped fillings and drenched in savory brown gravy, there are few things that would go better with rice.
Lucas Sin

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) neutral oil
  • 1/2-inch knob fresh ginger (about ½ ounce; 15 grams), smashed and sliced thinly
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons (23 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (45 grams) cold water
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon (about 2 grams) lime juice or vinegar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 1/4 cup cooked meat of choice, cubed small (char siu, sliced mushrooms, chicken, shrimp, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup cooked vegetable of choice (bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, etc.)
  • 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
  • Frying oil
  • Cooked rice
  • 1 scallion, green part only, sliced thinly
  1. First, make the sauce. In a skillet or a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat until shimmering. Add ginger slices and fry until aromatic. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the soy sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce then turn to medium and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Make a cornstarch slurry by combining cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and mixing thoroughly. Pour half the slurry into the boiling sauce and stir until thickened about 1 minute. Add more cornstarch slurry, a little at a time, if necessary, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Finally, add the sesame oil and mix. Set the sauce aside.
  3. Assemble the ingredients for the omelet. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, lime juice or vinegar, salt, and white pepper well until fully emulsified. Add cooked meat, vegetables, and sliced shallot. Mix well.
  4. n a large skillet or wok, add 1-inch of frying oil and heat at medium-high until smoking hot. Carefully drop in the egg mixture, trying to first use chopsticks to drop in the bulk of omelet filling,leaving a small amount of liquid egg mixture left. Let the omelet fry until the shape is set, about 30 seconds, and drizzle the remaining bit of egg mixture over the top to make craggly crispy bits. The egg will puff, set in shape, and brown. Once the bottom is fully browned, carefully flip the entire omelet so both sides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Not cooking the egg sufficiently will cause the omelet to be greasy. Drain the omelet on a wire rack or a paper towel and let rest for 1 minute until it’s fully crispy.
  5. Serve with scallions, warm sauce drizzled over the top, and white rice.

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