Monday, February 9, 2009

Tomato and Eggs over Rice

Tomato and eggs over rice is a dish you'll find on many Chinese restaurant menus, but it's so incredibly easy to make that I never order it. The only preparation is chopping the scallions and tomatoes, and you'll most likely have everything else already in your pantry or refrigerator.

This recipe is based on one that I found on the internet a couple of years ago, but I can't seem to find it anymore. I've made it so many times, though, I make it by memory now, and this is my best recollection. Most of the tomato and eggs recipes that I see now don't include the addition of rice wine to the beaten eggs (it makes the eggs a little fluffier) or vinegar and sugar to the tomatoes (they bring out the full flavor of the tomatoes), and some don't even include the scallions or sesame oil, which I think are vital flavor components to this dish.

Chopped scallions and tomatoes

Fan Qie Chao Dan (Tomato and Scrambled Eggs)
makes 1 serving

3 large eggs
1 large tomato or 2 plum or Roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided plus more to taste
2-3 scallions
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
A pinch of sugar
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Beat the eggs and add rice wine, sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Let sit at least 15 minutes.

Chop the scallions finely and separate the white and green pieces. Chop the tomatoes into 3/4" pieces.

In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil until hot. Add egg mixture and cook, folding the cooked parts up and letting the raw parts run down. Once the eggs are 90% done (there will still be some shiny liquidy parts on top) transfer to another dish (I usually use the same bowl I beat the eggs in).

Clean the pan and heat another tablespoon of oil. Once it is hot, add the white scallion pieces and the rest of the salt. Stir fry for 1 minute and then add the tomatoes, the rest of the scallions, vinegar, and sugar. Cook for another 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Add to the tomato mixture, stirring until the sauce is thickened. Add the eggs back in and cook for 1 more minute, stirring to mix. Taste and adjust with more salt, sugar, or vinegar to taste.  Serve over rice.

Tomato and eggs over rice

Now let's talk a little about how to keep scallions and leftover rice from going bad. Since I usually cook for just myself, I find that having to buy a whole package of scallions becomes a waste for me because inevitably the last couple of bunches will have withered and dried out by the time I get around to using them. And when I make rice, it seems silly to make less than a cup, but if I refrigerate the leftovers, they end up just getting dried out and nasty.

Then I learned from a previous Japanese roommate that the best way to keep leftover rice is to portion it out into individual servings, wrap it in plastic wrap (yes, just in plastic wrap, no container needed), and freeze it. Then when you want a serving of rice, you just pop it into the microwave (still in the plastic wrap) and reheat it. This way, the rice stays nice and hydrated and fluffy! Plus, it will last a lot longer in the freezer than in the refrigerator. If you're afraid of freezer burn, you can always put the wrapped packages of rice in a freezer bag.

As for the scallions, I tried to replant the roots last year in a seedling tray, and it worked okay except that I had to water them pretty often, and since I traveled so much they finally died on me. I was going to replant another set but then I had an epiphany: why don't I just try letting them grow in water like my little bamboo plant? So I went to the store and picked the freshest looking package of scallions I could find and set them in a long necked vase filled with water up to the white part as soon as I got home. Within a day I could see the roots regrowing! And whenever I needed just the green part of the scallion, I would put the white part with the roots back in the vase, and the green part would start growing within a couple of days as well!  You'll eventually have to replace the scallions because they get too thin, but you should be able to get a couple of uses out of the same roots.

Next:  Cassava Heavy Cake
Previously:  Toasted Coconut Ice Cream with Sesame Brittle and Crystallized Ginger

1 comment:

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