If you read my last post and guessed “Chinese New Year” as the answer to my question, you were correct!
Today is the first day in the annual Chinese New Year celebration which lasts 15 days. This time is actually known as Spring Festival in China and is an important holiday celebrated through various traditions that are supposed to bring luck and prosperity in the new year. I would love to spend the Chinese New Year in China at some point in the future, but for now, I have to celebrate at home in my little apartment in my own little ways. Luckily, I love a lot of Chinese food. And I mean real Chinese food. I studied abroad in China in 2007 and have never looked at American Chinese food the same way since. P.F. Chang has got nothin’ on some hole in the wall restaurants in Chengdu and Beijing.
Food symbolizes many things in Chinese culture and is particularly important during the Spring Festival. Certain dishes are prepared because the ingredients represent various values they wish to encounter in the coming year. Want a long life? Eat longevity noodles. Want to get rich? Eat egg rolls. Want to bring your whole family together? Cook a whole chicken.
Unfortunately, I don’t know how to cook most traditional dishes, or much Chinese food at all. But, one thing that I can make is fried eggs with tomatoes. This was one of my favorite things to eat while in China, and I’m certain you’ll like it, too. Sugar is what makes this dish unique to many Americans, but it’s a fantastic addition. Make this along with some rice or noodles and you will incite growth and a long life for the new year!
Chinese Fried Egg and Tomato
4 large eggs
2 Tbsp. sesame oil, divided (can also use olive or canola oil)
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 large tomato, sliced into wedges
salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 tsp. sugar
1. In a small bowl, beat eggs together until they are a smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, and set bowl to the side.
2. In a medium frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Raise heat to medium-high. Add egg to the pan and stir constantly to quickly cook. Let the egg form large chunks, and when almost done, pour onto a heat-safe plate and cover with alumnium foil. It will look like scrambled eggs.
4. Return pan to the stove (do not wash out!) and heat 1 Tbsp. of oil over medium.
5. Add tomato wedges and sprinkle with sugar. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. The juice should start to separate from from the pulp.
6. Return eggs to the pan and cook with tomatoes for 1 more minute.