From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'm not sure what triggered my reverie, but the other night, probably because I was not keen on cooking, I started to think about carry-out food. I moved rapidly through the list of possibles and let the Silver Fox name our poison. He wanted Chinese, so he called in our order and left to pick up supper. While nearly all carry-out spots in our town deliver, they will not brave our driveway. Our house is perched on an incline that's a few degrees shy of being a full blown cliff. The driveway is long and narrow and there is no turnaround at it's end. It has its good points. It makes for a great aerobic workout and our only unsolicited visitors are missionaries whose zeal has usually dissipated by the time they reach our door. Fortunately, my guy never seems to mind the pick-up and delivery routine, so I'm not chained to my kitchen sink or stove. As it happens, we both love Chinese junk food. When we were kids, it was the only type of carry out available and we didn't have it often. It became associated with special occasions and I suspect that's why, despite having spent huge amounts of time in Asia, we have never lost our fondness for the most basic of Chinese-American dishes. They were among the first dishes I learned to make when I had a kitchen of my own and I still enjoy testing new recipes that might actually best the best of the old. I can tell you, unequivocally, that the recipe I'm featuring tonight is best of class. It is an adaptation of the egg foo yung that is served at Shun Lee West restaurant in New york City. These Chinese omelets require some chopping but they are not difficult to make. If you deep-fry them, they puff like golden omelets in the hot oil. I know that deep frying is frowned upon these days, so if you prefer, the omelets can be fried in a skillet with much less fat. I switch between the two methods. When I use the frying pan, I pour the omelet mixture into pancake rings to contain and shape them. When I deep fry them, I use a soup ladle to hold the mixture until it is set and can stand on its own. These are delicious and will forever govern how you judge egg foo yung. I really hope you'll try these. They'll have your socks going up and down. Here's how they are made.
Egg Foo Yung...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Shun Lee West Restaurant
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup soy sauce, divided use
1/4 cup cornstarch, divided use
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dry sherry or shaoxing wine
1 (1/2-inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1-1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon canola oil + oil for deep frying
6 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely chopped
1/2 cup water chestnuts, drained, finely chopped and squeezed dry
1/3 cup bean sprouts
1/3 cup sliced scallions + extra for garnish
1) Bring stock, half of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon wine, ginger, and garlic to a boil in a small pan set over high heat. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Strain sauce, discarding solids. Keep sauce warm.
2) Mix 2 tablespoons of reserved soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, remaining wine, pork, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a small non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture and cook, stirring, and breaking up meat, until it is no longer pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a bowl.Keep warm.
3) Pour canola oil into a 6-quart saucepan to a depth of 2-inches. Heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350 degrees F. Combine remaining soy sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil, plus reserved pork, shrimp, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, scallions, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Using a ladle and working in batches, gently lower 1/2 cup amounts of egg mixture into oil. Cook, flipping once, until omelets are puffed and brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer omelets to paper towels to drain. Serve drizzled with reserved sauce.Garnish with scallions. Yield: 8 omelets.
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