Stir-Fried Tomato and Eggs (Xihongshi Chao Jidan)
When I cook this dish, I'm always mindful of Wang Mingjun's advice: "If the wok isn't hot enough, the food will stick." Eggs can be especially sticky, so you want to make sure the wok is good and hot before adding the oil and beginning to cook. In a traditional stir-fry, meat—or, in this case, beaten egg—goes into the wok first, so it can cook evenly without any other ingredients to come between it and the wok's hot surface. The egg comes out of the wok before the tomatoes go in to prevent overcooking, then the tomatoes and garlic are heated just long enough to soften slightly. Finally, the eggs are returned to the wok to warm through and mingle with the softened tomatoes, the fragrant garlic, and the seasoned juices. As with any stir-fry, I have the ingredients for this dish prepped and close at hand before heating my wok; the rapid-fire nature of this preparation, in particular, requires undivided attention.
Enlarge Image Credit: Todd Coleman
4 tbsp. canola oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, cored,
each cut into 8 wedges
1 tsp. sugar
Kosher salt, to taste
1 scallion or 2 garlic chives,
thinly sliced crosswise
1. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and beat lightly with a fork or chopsticks.
2. Heat a 14" wok (or stainless-steel skillet) over high heat until wok begins to smoke. Add 1 tbsp. oil around edge of wok and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. Pour in eggs around edges of wok. Cook, stirring once or twice with chopsticks or a spoon to break eggs into large curds, until eggs are fluffy but not browned, about 60 seconds.
3. Transfer eggs to a plate and set aside. Wipe out wok, return to high heat until smoking, and add remaining oil around edge of wok, swirling to coat the bottom and sides.
4. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook, tossing constantly, until tomatoes begin to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in sugar and the reserved eggs and cook, stirring and tossing often, until eggs are heated through, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and garnish with scallions.
SERVES 2 – 4