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The basics: Tomatoes and eggs 番茄炒鸡蛋

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imron

I've always made this with doing the tomatoes first, putting them aside, and then adding them back in to the cooking eggs.  I think I'm going to try it the other way now to see the difference :D

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abcdefg

I found some on-line versions that do it the way you said, Imron. I think this dish is pretty forgiving and has no absolute right and wrong, as long as one does not overcook the eggs and make them tough.

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imron
3 minutes ago, abcdefg said:

I think this dish is pretty forgiving and has no absolute right and wrong

Yep!

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Publius

Yes, very basic. And everybody does it slightly differently. I prefer a higher egg-to-tomato ratio. Have never used garlic before. And I add salt to eggs before stirring them up (people in the north 口味比較重:P)

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abcdefg

That's great, Lips! Please let us know how it turns out.

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Teasenz

What you're saying about adding sugar is really true. In the past I always tried to make the tomato egg dish and I always failed. It tasted 'Western'. Later I found out it's indeed the sugar that makes it taste 'Chinese'. I like the taste much more with sugar. I guess I'm more Chinese ;)

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abcdefg

That "tomato dishes should be sweet" thing stumped me for a long time too, @Teasenz. Took years to become used to it.

 

I used to sometimes have lunch at a street stall near where I studied and their summer special was sliced tomatoes liberally sprinkled with sugar, offered as a side dish to accompany a bowl of rice noodles.They were vine ripened and deep red in color; tons of flavor. Once I asked the proprietor to just let me have the tomatoes plain, without sugar. She reluctantly agreed after strongly warning me about how sour they were. (They seemed perfect to my palate.)

 

One of the things I buy first when I return to the US annually is ordinary canned tomato juice. Have never gotten used to sweetened Chinese tomato juice which is popular here.

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Tianjin42

Good old  番茄炒鸡蛋, a real mainstay and brilliant dish when I couldn't find much else in the far corners of China.

I will try this - I have made it before but always felt it was lacking something; my own version tasted a little western and a little bland. I added sugar but presumed there was another dash of something else in there that I was missing. 

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889

They add sugar! And all along I thought Chinese tomatoes were just naturally sweeter than our foreign tomatoes.

 

It's interesting that such a common dish as this, available anywhere anytime throughout China, wouldn't have been showing up on the Chinese table for much more than a couple hundred years, what with those tomatoes and that sugar.

 

Interesting too that fresh tomatoes don't show up in the Chinese diet, either, given their popularity everywhere else.

 

Finally, should we do something about that offensive Chinese name for the tomato? A similar term in English would long ago have been dropped.

 

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Angelina

I have noticed how 西红柿 is used more often in Northern China, while 番茄 is more of a southern name. So, use 西红柿 @889

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zander1
24 minutes ago, Angelina said:

 

I have noticed how 西红柿 is used more often in Northern China,

 

 

Yeah I rarely see 番茄, although ketchup at western restaurants is always 番茄酱.

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abcdefg
5 hours ago, 889 said:

Interesting too that fresh tomatoes don't show up in the Chinese diet, either, given their popularity everywhere else.

 

I frequently invite Chinese friends over for dinner and we cook the meal together. I've done most of the shopping ahead of time, after telephone consultation regarding preferences for the main items. Arriving friends will pick up this or that on the way over.

 

But sometimes I do get surprises. Last year instead of making a plain cucumber salad 拍黄瓜, I added a few pieces of a really delicious summer tomato.

 

This caused great consternation and looks of puzzled disapproval. I thought at the time it was mainly because it was taking an unwelcome liberty with the classic Chinese 凉拌 dish. But I came to learn that it was also at least in part because eating raw tomatoes is just too uncivilized, just too savage.

 

Raw fish, raw shrimp, raw beef; sure, no problem. But Heaven save us from the deadly raw tomato. Even if sprinkled liberally with sugar, it's just not quite acceptable most of the time.

 

 

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Publius
4 hours ago, zander1 said:

although ketchup at western restaurants is always 番茄酱.

In Cantonese it's 茄汁 ke4*2 zap1. The etymology seems complicated, unclear who borrowed what from whom, maybe a round-trip borrowing?

 

4 hours ago, abcdefg said:

instead of making a plain cucumber salad 拍黄瓜, I added a few pieces of a really delicious summer tomato.

I think a plain 涼拌西紅柿 (sprinkled liberally with sugar) is fine. The horror is you mixed them up lol. They have different, conflicting flavors imo. It's like using 木耳 and 蘑菇 in the same dish, it's just weird.

 

Btw, do you do the shaking thing when you make 拍黃瓜? You know, put all the ingredients into a bowl with lid on and shake the hell out of it. I learned that trick from a colleague who used to be a chef. Makes the process so much fun. :D

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dtcamero

that so funny... in bars in japan you'll often encounter a classic dish - the 'tomato salad', which is simply a single sliced fresh tomato with mayonaise for dipping. they'll usually have a little salt to sprinkle on it available somewhere too. it's delicious... and a very different conception of the tomato from the chinese.

love eggs and tomatos though, fantastic simple dish.

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realmayo
36 minutes ago, Publius said:

Btw, do you do the shaking thing when you make 拍黃瓜?

 

I do that for roast potatoes... certainly fun! Will try with cucumber.... :D

 

42 minutes ago, dtcamero said:

a very different conception of the tomato from the chinese

 

I like how in some parts of Asia at least, an avocado is never savoury but always used for dessert.

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abcdefg

@Publius -- I've never tried shaking cucumber salad. Just beat it up real good with the side of my big knife 菜刀。Interesting idea, though.

 

@realmayo -- Absolutely right about the avocados. I've enjoyed avocado smoothies throughout Malaysia and Indonesia, made like a sweet and refreshing milk shake and served in a tall glass with a straw.

 

So many different regional twists on how to use the same great ingredients! Discovering things like that is part of what makes travel interesting for me.

 

 

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lips
14 hours ago, 889 said:

Finally, should we do something about that offensive Chinese name for the tomato? A similar term in English would long ago have been dropped.

Bugger, this spooks the Eskimos, I'm sure.

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