Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mrs. Jang's Home-Style Fried Eggs from Kylie Kwong...and Red Cook.net

This is not me, of course, but this is exactly what I look like cooking Chinese food in my kitchen


I've been unfaithful, dear readers, I’ve been making Chinese food behind your back.

That's right, I’ve made about 8 or so different Chinese meals now and have yet to share any of them with you. Why? Because I'm secretly honing my craft.

Kian, from across the hall, has been schooling me - sometimes we whip up a little Chinese food at lunch or share plates at dinner. He's stood at the wok giving me instruction for many hours these last few weeks and tasted my stir fries and my white cooked chicken and my crispy skin chicken and my fried rice and given me helpful tips and many kind, supportive words and now, I feel worthy enough to pass on a few nuggets I've learned and some of my exploits behind the wok.

But if you want to really make some Chinese Home-Cooking, I urge you to go to Kian's new blog, Red Cook where he just posted his "Chinese Starter Kit". The starter kit has the basic ingredients you'll need to cook a bunch of simple and scrumptious Chinese meals. These are the things you must have in your pantry and you'll use them over and over.

Okay, even if you think you might not be ready to fire up the old wok, check out Red Cook anyway and give Kian some love. He's new to the blogosphere and he's good people and I have such nice readers I know you guys will hit it off.

Anyway, here's 10 things I've learned about home-cooked Chinese food from Kian so far:

  1. It ain’t nothing like what you get at a run of the mill Chinese restaurant or take out joint, so be prepared that the food you cook will be WORLDS better.
  2. Be prepared to get a lot of compliments from guests who find your food amazing and exotic and have no idea that what you made for them was freakishly simple and took very little time.
  3. There is often a lot of cutting of vegetables involved, which is nice when your guests can leisurely help you prep, while you chat about the day and start in on a bottle of wine.
  4. It will also tickle the fancy of children just waiting for the chance to wield a knife in a properly supervised environment.
  5. This cooking will generally involve dirtying one pan - the wok, which means less clean up after the meal (who doesn’t like that?)
  6. Chinese food can be prepped ahead (all that cutting of vegetables and such), stowed in bowls and zip lock bags and thrown into the wok at the last minute which makes it great for busy families and quick week night meals.
  7. The big wok of boiling oil can be a little intimidating at first, especially when small children are rushing around under foot or someone needs to breastfeed, but since the actual cooking time is so short, you can send the little ones to a responsible adult for a few minutes and get the meal cooked without sending anyone to the burn unit.
  8. Your kids will be able to use "daikon" in a sentence at their next pre-school interview.
  9. The most intimidating thing about Chinese cooking the first time is getting used to the new sauces, herbs and ingredients, if you're unfamiliar with them - but once you use the basics once or twice and learn a few general rules (like you don't usually use ginger with vegetable dishes or that you don't use soy sauce in many stir fries) then, it's all down hill from there.
  10. Home cooked Chinese food is clean, simple and uses fresh ingredients – you’ll feel good after you eat it, not like when you down a carton of Happy Garden’s shrimp fried rice and need to take to your bed for the next few hours to work off that familiar "ill" feeling.
The thing to do is learn several techniques (Kian is very big into showcasing different techniques on his blog) like, red cooking, white cooking, stir frying, etc. Once you've done a recipe or two from Kian's blog or here, you'll have it. Then, you can add different veg, meat and change things up. What I like best about cooking Chinese is that it really plays well with a good cook's sense of improvisation.

So, have fun with this. Learn the basics and then, start free-wheeling it at the wok.

For now, I give you Kylie Kwong's famous fried egg recipe,"Mrs. Jang's Home-Style Fried Eggs". Kwong is a Chinese chef living in Australia and now with some confidence, I've started working my way through her book ""Kylie Kwong: Recipes and Stories" which was a present from my father-in-law and his wife, who are fans of hers and are also very adventurous eaters.

This dish makes the common egg very uncommon and is a delightful brunch dish.


Mrs. Jang's Home-Style Fried Eggs (with some adaptations from Kian and myself)

This dish serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce (you can buy this at most Asian markets)
  • small pinch ground white pepper
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
  • 1-2 red bird's eye chillies, finely sliced


Heat oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. The key here is to get the oil VERY HOT.

Get out your oyster sauce. Finely slice the spring onions and the chilies.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl, then pour into the hot oil. The eggs will puff up into a big pillow in the oil (invite guests to the kitchen to watch - it's quite fun). You want the eggs to crisp up on the bottom but you also want the top to cook without having to flip it over, so using a ladle or large spoon, continue ladling hot oil from the bottom of the pan over the top of the egg. This will cook the top and bottom evenly.

Keep doing this for 3 -4 minutes. You'll be able to tell when it's ready because the outside will start to brown and crisp and the inside will still be moist and just a little runny. You don't want to over fry it and have the inside feel like cake.

Gently remove eggs from wok with a spatula and drain off any excess oil on paper towels before plating. Drizzle eggs with the dark, rich oyster sauce and garnish with splashes of those green onions and beautiful red chilies. Salt and pepper to taste. You can serve this as a brunch dish with rice or for a more western bent, a salad.

The possibilities are endless.

xxxooo YM


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4 comments:

Kian said...

Kim,

You are so nice to write such kind words about me. I love cooking with you. You are just a natural Chinese cook... and with Edie on your hip!

I'm so glad you enjoyed our cooking adventures together.

Kian

AnnieKNodes said...

That's it. You can't expect to write a delicious sounding post like this and not have me stalking you over the weekend. Keep an eye out for a couple with a Peg Perago lurking behind the trash bins outside your apt. (NOTE: We used to be better stalkers before we had the baby.)

Anna said...

Before pouring the eggs in, do you beat them or leave the yolks whole? This sounds delicious, and the picture has sealed the deal on what we're eating next Saturday morning (yay, no croissant crumbs in bed this week!).

The Yummy Mummy said...

Hey Anna! Yes, these eggs are amazingly scrumptious. You're going to love 'em.

A couple things:

1. Don't beat the eggs. It won't work if you do. Just crack them gently into a bowl and slip them into the hot oil.

2. Make sure the oil is super hot - like shimmering on top. If it isn't hot enough, the dish won't come out right.

3. Don't cook them too long. You are going for cracklin' crisp on the outside and soft and runny eggs on the inside.

4. The eggs will puff up - this is a good thing. Let them puff up. Then, ladle oil over the top while the one side is in the oil to get the top all nice and crusty.

This is a great brunch meal and is usually impressive because most people have never had it. Unless they are Chinese.

Thanks for writing - Let me know how it goes!

Kim