If there was one thing I’d recommend everyone learn to cook when they first move out of home, it would be Chinese eggs and tomatoes. This is cheap, easy, home-style cooking, and one that has probably kept many a poor uni student from starving. It is what you cook when you can’t be bothered cooking, and it’s the perfect sort of thing to pile into a bowl and eat in front of the TV when you need a night of doing nothing.
Growing up we were never allowed to eat meals in front of the TV, but this dish did make very regular appearances at the family dinner table. It was probably one of my favourite things my mum made. The eggs were always soft and fluffy, and the tomato sauce comfortingly sweet. It was always served piping hot with jasmine rice. The sauce would soak through the rice, and the whole thing would melt together in our mouths and warm our bellies.
Having my own family now, including a baby, means we rely a lot more on meals like this which are quick and easy. Our baby however is very soon going to be one, and I suppose not so much a baby anymore. The wonderful thing that has come with the ending of this chapter is that she now can eat pretty much the same things we eat, including this. Feeding my daughter the food I remember my mother feeding me has brought a much deeper level of appreciation for this humble dish.
I imagine most Chinese families would have their own way of making eggs and tomatoes, but if you’ve never had this, or you’d just like to try a different version, then give our recipe a go.
Chinese Home Style Eggs in Tomato
This delicious Chinese eggs in a tomato sauce dish is perfect for moments when you need to whip up something quick and easy. Served with white jasmine rice, this is one of the most popular frugal recipe in Chinese cuisine.
- 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered and the white core removed (Note 1)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt (1/4 teaspoon for the eggs and 1/4 tsp for the tomatoes)
- 2 tbsp canola oil (30 ml)
- 3 thin slices of ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
- 1/8 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup water (for sauce)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp water (for cornstarch)
- 2 stems spring onions, chopped
Prep all your ingredients.
Beat the eggs with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and heat 1 tbsp of oil in wok on high. Add the eggs and cook them as would scrambled eggs. Try not overwork the eggs so that they can form bigger chunks.
Place the eggs into a side bowl and turn down the heat to medium. Add 1 tbsp of oil and fry the ginger slices for 20 seconds.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, sesame oil and 1/4 cup of water. Turn the heat down to medium - low and cook for another 3 minutes with the lid on.
Remove the lid and use your spoon to mash the tomatoes to help release the juices. Add the eggs, cover again with the lid, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch with the 2 tbsp of water in a small bowl, then add to the pan and stir.
Remove the ginger slices and check the seasoning of the dish. Adjust according to your taste. (Note 2)
Serve hot with steamed white rice and garnish with chopped spring onions.
- Using the highest quality eggs and tomatoes you can afford will make a big difference to the taste of this dish.
- If the sauce tastes too sour, counteract with more sugar. If the sauce tastes too bland add more salt. I've tried to be conservative with the sugar and salt quantities above as it's always easier to add more seasoning than to take it out.