Often I hear the comment on the the tv cooking shows, “That is so 80s”, like it’s a bad thing. Food goes out of style? Since when! In the meantime they’re all talking about making food their moms, dads or grandparents made. I don’t think food has to just be invented in the 2000s. How many dishes do we have to make with chipotle peppers, sriracha sauce or truffle oil? Shudder.
I don’t like any of those things and I will probably never understand the charm in kale chips.While I was pondering the concept of a food being passé, I realized I hadn’t heard anyone talking about Egg Foo Young in ages. I haven’t made it myself for at least a dozen years! We used to love that dish, and it was so fast to make. It’s sort of a clean-out-the-fridge Asian omelet. Add rice and gravy and it was a dependable comfort food.
Now I won’t believe that Egg Foo Young is out of style. People are just forgetting to make it, like me. That’s what I’m going to believe, regardless of the fact that I probably only made it in the 80s. It needs to be revitalized, maybe re-invented. Or not. It really is a dish that can be so different, based on what veggies you have on hand. So I’m saying there is no definitive Egg Foo Young. It’s a new work of art every time!
When I went to make the dish the other night, I realized I had forgotten to write down the gravy recipe, long ago. A quick search produced a recipe for the gravy that I thought probably beat my old one hands down. I didn’t have mirin, but I found suggestions for substituting dry sherry. Since the recipe already called for dry sherry, that worked. And wow, did it work well! That gravy is my new go-to Asian gravy recipe. Not that I had one before. But you know. Now I have one.
I made the gravy first, mixing and simmering it until it came to a boil. I added the cornstarch I’d dissolved in the water and it thickened a bit. It never did thicken a lot, but that’s ok. After it’s ladled on the egg foo young and rice, it wasn’t a problem. The last step was to add the sesame oil, and I suppose there’s a reason why you don’t boil or simmer it with the oil in it. I don’t need to know. I just followed directions and it tasted great!
I rinsed and drained the bean sprouts until they were fairy dry. I chopped and grated a bunch of veggies and added them to a large bowl. I didn’t have bok choy, but used baby spinach I’d sliced thinly as my green addition. Besides the shredded zucchini, I mean.
Usually I’d have put in chopped green onions but the recipe at Closet Cooking where I found the good gravy suggested diced white onions. I obeyed. I was willing to try their version. I was hesitant to use their amount of cilantro, however. In my mind, cilantro always steals the show from the rest of the ingredients and I didn’t want a cilantro omelet. I used about a tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro and that was plenty. It was discernible as a flavor, but not “in your face”. I’d say use at your own discretion.
After I had my veggies all chopped and shredded, I mixed the eggs and spices and poured it into the veggie bowl. I mixed it well and was ready to make my egg foo young. I heated both my flat griddle and a large frying pan. I drizzled oil in them and used a ¼ cup measuring cup to pour each mound into the pans. That worked well so that they were all cooking at the same size and speed.
The Cooking Closet had reminded me that as you pour the batter, the egg part runs out and tries to get away from the veggies. Simply use your silicone scraper and scrape it back to the mounds. I did a lot of scraping and disciplining of runaway eggs but it all comes out fine in the end. I had a pile of tasty patties that were golden brown.
As the patties were done, I put them in an ovenproof dish in the oven set on 200 degrees to keep warm. I was glad I’d done that when I got to the end and realized I hadn’t made the rice! Ooops! I use a 2 to 1 ration of water to rice, bringing it to a boil then covering it and simmering it on low for 20 minutes. It comes out perfectly every time. I do add a little salt to the water, about 1/4 teaspoon per cup of rice used.
So with my rice finally done and spread on the plates, I layered on the egg foo young patties and ladled gravy over the dish. I also added some spicy shrimp (for me) and mushrooms (for my P.S. who won’t eat shrimp). I’ll put them in another post soon. You can just peek at the final result for now.
We loved the flavors in this meal. The gravy was a perfect blend of flavors that were enhanced by the sherry and soy sauce. I’d used chicken broth but beef would have been good as well. The veggies and egg patties of the egg foo young were a good mix; while zucchini doesn’t have much flavor it gave a good texture to the dish along with the carrots that were coarsely shredded. And as I mentioned, the hint of cilantro was just perfect.
I must remember to make egg foo young more often. It’s one 80s food that is going to stay current in my household.
Egg Foo Young
2 cups broth (I used chicken)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons dry sherry or rice wine
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
In a small saucepan bring broth, soy sauce and sherry to a boil. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and whisk into the saucepan. Reduce to simmer and cook for several minutes. Add oil and keep warm.
Make two cups of white rice (for a finished amount of about 4 cups) following packaged directions. Set on back of stove with lid on to keep hot.
Egg Foo Young:
1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 white onion, diced
1 cup zucchini, grated
1/2 cup carrot, grated
1 1/2 cup bok choy or spinach, thinly sliced
1 small clove garlic, grated (I used 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder)
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of cilantro, chopped (or more to taste)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
oil for frying
Heat oven to 200 degrees.
Add sprouts, veggies, garlic, ginger, salt and cilantro to a large bowl. Stir well.
Whisk eggs until foamy and add to veggies. Stir well.
Heat a flat, oiled skillet or griddle to medium heat.
Using a 1/4 measuring cup, make round patties in the skillet. Use a regular or silicone spatula to push the eggs back to the round patty when they run. Fry on first side until golden. Flip and fry to golden on the second side. Remove patties to an ovenproof baking dish and put in oven as they are done.
When patties are all fried, serve a layer of rice on each plate, topped with egg foo young patties. Ladle gravy over the top and serve hot.