I went out to run a couple of errands this afternoon and after getting lost and being stuck in traffic for a bit, I got home starving. I wanted something delicious, satisfying and easy to make!
I call nights like these, my Beijing dinner night. If there’s three things I will probably never forget about living in Beijing –culinary speaking, that is– those would probably be dumplings, tomato & egg, and cucumber salad. (Let’s leave roast duck for another post…)
So, as soon as I walked in, I got my steamer going with some store-bought pork xiaolongbao (Shanghai-style dumplings). These dumplings are also called soup dumplings because once you bite into them this delicious broth comes out. I used to go to Din Tai Fung and eat these until my pants wouldn’t fit. Too bad I don’t live anywhere near one in the U.S.
I put a piece of parchment paper on the steamer to prevent the dumplings from sticking to the pot. After trying many methods, this is the one that works the best.
Before I forget, let me remind you to always serve your dumplings with Chinese vinegar. A very important discovery I made while living in China is that dumplings are not meant to be dipped in soy sauce but vinegar. Oh, and I am so happy I discovered that because soy sauce just overpowers the taste of the dumplings. You can get Chinese vinegar at any oriental market.
The first time I heard of this tomato & egg dish, I thought it was rather… well, weird. I was compelled to try it– well, it isn’t that hard to get me to try new food– and it was love at first bite! The great thing about this dish is that it is so versatile, you can have it as a side dish, over noodles or as a soup. I usually have it as an entrée when I’m feeling lazy but want something filling. I had some cucumber with my dinner, too. Just plain cucumber this time, because I was too hungry to prepare the cucumber salad I miss from Beijing.
I am posting the recipe below, just in case you want to give it a try. I should add, however, that this is my own interpretation of the actual Beijing recipe since I never had the chance to ask a local how to make the dish. Shame on me. Thankfully, my tastebuds are pretty good at identifying ingredients and I can assure you that my recipe tastes just like what I had in Beijing!
Tomato & Egg Dish
1 ripe tomato, cut into quarters
1 clove garlic, minced
Peanut oil (olive oil works just fine, too)
Salt, to taste
Crack and beat the egg. Cover bottom of pan with oil, add egg and cook over medium heat. Once the egg starts to cook, scramble it lightly and remove from pan. On medium heat, add a more oil to cover bottom of pan, sweat garlic and then add tomatoes and salt. Let the tomatoes fry lightly, add some water or chicken stock to the pan and lower heat if necessary. Let the tomatoes cook until they become tender, about 5 minutes, then add scrambled egg and serve.