Egg foo young is a throwback Asian treat

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

CONCORD, N.H. -- Not so long ago, Asian food wasn't Asian as such.

Until recently, most people knew it as Chinese food. And it wasn't California sushi, fresh spring rolls or pad thai. It was fried rice (will that be shrimp, pork or beef?), teriyaki on a skewer, red spare ribs and sweet and sour chicken.

These days we have true Asian food, and until recently I thought I missed nothing from those Chinese food days. Then I happened to flip though some vintage 1970s cookbooks and was reminded of egg foo young.

Prepared badly, egg foo young shares all the qualities of typical bad Chinese food -- greasy, soggy and salty. But prepared well it is delicious, savory and just slightly crispy thanks to bean sprouts and onions.

Egg Foo Young

8 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sesame seed oil

1 cup diced onion

1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms

1/2 cup diced celery

1 1/4 cups mung bean sprouts

3 scallions, diced

1/4 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat the broiler.

Whisk the eggs, salt, pepper and water in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over a medium-high flame. Add the onion, mushrooms and celery and saute until the onion is just barely tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the sprouts, scallions and water chestnuts, and saute an additional 2 minutes.

Whisk together the soy sauce and cornstarch in a small glass. Add to the skillet, mix well with the vegetables and heat 1 minute. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the vegetables and cook until the edges are firm, about 4 minutes.

Place the skillet under the broiler on the middle rack of the oven. Cook until the top just begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Drizzle with gravy just before serving.

Gravy1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients in a small saucepan, and heat over a medium flame until thick, about 5 minutes.

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