Scrambled Eggs and Tomatoes: Real Homestyle Chinese Food

Eggs and tomatoes

This month’s Let’s Lunch theme is Eggs!

 

Last weekend, HapaPapa and the boys were away at a camping trip, which meant… I got to eat whatever I wanted! In this case, I lined up two days of restaurant food, but at many other times, what I crave when I don’t have to consider anyone else’s dietary restrictions is simple homestyle Chinese fare.

For many working families, both in Asia and in the diaspora, this means a quick dinner that is also inexpensive and nutritious. A friend was just joking about making eggs and ham “breakfast for dinner”, because she was too tired after a day at the office to do much else. Back in the day, my mother also did the same thing after working eight hours and picking up us kids from the babysitter. Scrambled eggs with green onion and pickled turnips,  sometimes just a fried egg drizzled with soy sauce. (For the most sublime description of a fried egg ever, check out Ying Chang Compestine‘s Revolution is Not a Dinner Party, where a hungry young girl takes her mother’s last coins to buy some eggs, which the mother fries up with soy sauce and vinegar. It’s Like Water for Chocolate, but with eggs. And less sex.)

My favorite simple egg dish of all is one that is never found in American Chinese restaurants, sometimes found in humble Asian market steam tables, and ubiquitous in homes on both sides of the Pacific: scrambled eggs and tomatoes. While many people associate tomatoes mostly with Italian food, tomatoes have actually been used in China since the 16th century, when it was believed that missionaries introduced the fruit. It doesn’t sound all that good and  isn’t very photogenic, either. But it’s comfort food, plain and simple. We haven’t made this a staple in our family because Big Brother had an egg allergy when he was younger. So when I need a quick meal on my own, this is often what I whip up.

 

Tomatoes

These tomatoes came from Trader Joe’s

The beauty of this dish is that the tomatoes don’t have to be perfectly ripe. It doesn’t matter if it’s April or August. Hothouse varieties from the grocery store work perfectly fine, as the heat of the pan will soften them down and bring out the sugars. And if you have some tomatoes that have been sitting around for a little too long, they will also work in this recipe.

Three brown eggs

However, the eggs must be fresh. In a dish this simple, the clean flavor of a newly gathered egg will really shine through. These lovely speckled brown eggs came from my friend’s backyard chicken coop.

 

Scrambled Eggs and Tomatoes

Scrambled Egg and Tomato

Ingredients:

  • 1 large tomato, sliced into wedges or large chunks
  • 2-3 green onions, cut in 1″ pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • canola oil (or some other neutral oil, such as safflower, grape seed, etc.)
  • soy sauce
  • salt
  • sugar
  • sesame oil
  • white pepper
  • options: add a little minced garlic or a few fresh basil leaves, which are also  traditional variations.
Directions:
  1. Heat 1-2 Tbs. of oil over medium-high in a frying pan
  2. Saute green onions
  3. Add tomatoes, cook until they just turn color and soften slightly. If the tomatoes are especially unripe, sprinkle a little sugar on them.
  4. Add the eggs, let them just barely set, and turn them over to incorporate the vegetables. Don’t handle them too much or you’ll get a big soupy mess.
  5. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt, soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper.
  6. Serve over steamed rice or on its own.
Here’s more egg-straordinary recipes from my lunching bunch!
Lucy’s The Noblest Emulsion on A Cook and Her Books
Cheryl’s Chai Poh Scramble on A Tiger in the Kitchen
Linda’s Taiwanese Tomato Eggs on Beautiful Memorable Food
Rashda’s Bombay Toasts on Hot Curries and Cold Beer
Homemade Cadbury Eggs on Free Range Cookies
Felicia’s The Sandwich, Nearly Perfected on Always Hungry
Joe’s Kimchi Deviled Eggs on Joe Yonan
Charissa’s Leek Ham and Pecorina Souffles on Zest Bakery
Lisa’s Egg and Onion on Monday Morning Cooking Club

Comments

  1. says

    The Filipinos have a similar dish. My mom used to make this when I was little. I loved eating it with garlic fried rice. I will try your recipe. I never put soy sauce in the eggs. Sounds great! Also, have you had fried egg sunny side up with a splash of fish sauce and served with rice?

    • says

      Leslie, I saw a recipe for Filipino fried eggs with garlic over eggs in a Moosewood Cookbook a long time ago, and loved it! Not that it’s something you need a recipe to cook, but it was a great idea. So homey!

  2. Wendy says

    oooohhh this is making me remember back when my husband and I were dating-he made this for me then :) hmmm…. hasn’t done much cooking since we got married though-but that is another issue-ha! :)

    Thanks for the yummy memories-I think I’ll have to cook this up soon!

  3. says

    I love a quiet weekend when you can just pull together a few comforting ingredients and eat in the quiet of your own home. One dish to set out, one dish to wash. A bowl of grits with maybe some scrambled eggs or leftover bacon crumbled on top is my version. Going to try this.

  4. says

    my mother use to make us a simple fried egg with soy sauce over rice for dinner some times too! when i try and make egg anything for dinner, my husband always raises an eyebrow :)
    i love this idea for eggs with tomatoes. eggs are the only thing my toddler really loves so i’m always on the lookout to find interesting egg recipes for her. thanks for sharing!
    -adel

  5. says

    Thanks for bringing back good memories with this tomato scrambled eggs. My mom used to make it all the time. Simple, tasty and satisfying. Happy Easter!

  6. says

    My family loves fried egg and rice with a little soy sauce and fish sauce and maybe some sesame oil. This gives me a very pleasing spin on that busy day favorite. Nothing like home cooking to satisfy and make everybody happy. So glad I’ve found your blog, thanks to LetsLunch!

  7. says

    Beautiful photos. And the dish is right up my alley! These remind me a little bit of migas, the Tex-Mex specialty that uses stale tortillas in addition to tomatoes (or salsa), and cheese. (There’s also a version of the same in Spain that uses bread instead of tortillas.) The combination of tomatoes and eggs is a favorite, for good reason…

  8. Elaine says

    My parents (Chinese) made this all the time growing up! They used ketchup to make it easier. I always thought, is this actually Chinese food? Because I had never seen it elsewhere besides my own kitchen! Nice to know other Asians eat this too! It does sound like a weird idea-eggs and tomatoes, but very tasty! haven’t had it in years, i might have to make some soon for my own family!

  9. says

    my mom makes this for me all the time! thanks for sharing your recipe. when i ask my mom how she makes her dishes, she gives me vague instructions. “some of this, some of that” gives me an ingredient list but not quantities!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Scrambled Eggs and Tomatoes ~ from Grace at HapaMama Fried Eggs and Omelets, Wok-style ~ from Eleanor at WokStar Egg and Onions ~ from Lisa at Monday Morning Cooking Club Biscuit Crust Breakfast Pizza ~ from In foodie fashion Leek, ham, and percorino souffles ~ from Charissa at Zest Bakery Homemade Cadbury Eggs ~ from Linda at Free Range Cookies Beet dye and pink deviled eggs ~ from Denise at Chez Us Eggs in a hole ~ From Emma at Dreaming of pots and pans The Perfect Sandwich ~ from Felicia at burnt-out baker Kimchi deviled eggs ~ from Joe at Joe Yonan Molecular gastronomy “eggs” ~ from Karen at GeoFooding Singapore-style Chai Poh scramble ~ from Cheryl at A Tiger in the Kitchen Taiwanese tomato eggs ~ from Linda at spicebox travels Old-fashioned boiled dressing & chicken salad ~ from Lucy at A Cook and Her Books Bombay (spicy French) toasts ~ from Rashda at Hot Curries & Cold Beer Son-in-law eggs ~ from Nancy at Nancie McDermott Egg chaud froid ~ from Vivian at Vivan Pei […]

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