the appetizer:

Learn to cook authentic Chinese food in minutes with Quick & Easy Chinese by Nancie McDermott. Recipes include Green Onion Pancakes; Egg Flower Soup; and Shrimp Egg Foo Yong.



Shrimp Egg Foo Yong

Serves 4

Shrimp Egg Foo Yong with Brown Sauce (Chinese-American Omelet or Egg Foo Yung)


This is my variation on egg foo yong, which is more of a scramble than a pancake-style dish. The Chinese-American restaurant version is small plump omelets cooked to a handsome, crispy brown and served with Brown Sauce (see recipe below). Foo yong (beautiful flower) is a reference to the delicate texture and color of eggs scrambled in this way. Enjoy this with rice and other dishes, Chinese-style, or make it part of a luscious brunch or a special occasion breakfast with hash browns and toast.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup shredded napa cabbage or bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs with the soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir with a fork to mix everything together well.

Chop the shrimp coarsely, cutting each one into 4 to 6 pieces. (I quarter the plump top portion, and cut the tail crosswise into 2 or 3 pieces.) Set a medium bowl by the stove to hold the shrimp after they are cooked, along with a serving plate for the finished dish.

Heat a wok or a large, deep skillet over high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the salt and stir to mix it into the oil.

Add the carrots and toss to heat them in the oil. Let them cook for about 15 seconds, and then scatter in the shrimp. Toss well, and then cook undisturbed for 30 seconds.

Toss again, and then add the shredded cabbage. Cook, tossing often, until the shrimp are pink and firm and the cabbage has softened a little and brightened in color, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl and set aside.

Let the pan heat up again, and then add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil, swirling to coat the pan evenly. Add the eggs and let them cook undisturbed until they begin to set around the edges, about 15 seconds. Begin to scramble them gently, lifting up the cooked edges and pushing them in as you tilt the pan to let uncooked egg reach the hot surface.

When the eggs are partially cooked, add the shrimp mixture with its juices, and begin to scoop and turn gently to combine the shrimp with the eggs and help the eggs cook evenly. Cook, scrambling gently, until the eggs are almost done but still very moist, about 30 seconds.

Add the green onion, scoop and turn a few more times until the eggs are just done, and transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot or warm.


Brown Sauce

Makes about 2/3 cup

This simple sauce is the standard accompaniment to Chinese American-style egg foo yong. You can make it up to 2 hours ahead, refrigerate it, and then warm it gently just before serving. Pour it over the hot omelets just before serving them, or offer it on the side in a small bowl or pitcher.

  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Combine the 1/2 cup of water and the soy sauce, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.

Combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl and stir well. Add to the pan and stir quickly to mix it into the sauce. As soon as the mixture thickens and returns to a boil, remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and set aside. Serve hot or warm.

  • from:
    Quick & Easy Chinese
    70 Everyday Recipes
  • by Nancie McDermott
  • Photography by Susie Cushner
  • Chronicle Books 2008
  • 24 color photographs; Paperback; $19.95
  • ISBN-10: 0811859304
  • ISBN-13: 78-0-8118-5930-11
  • Recipes reprinted by permission.

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