Whenever I think Foo Yong Egg, I think Chinese wedding dinners. It always appears as part of the assorted cold platter - the first of many courses to come. You'll find it alongside jellyfish, spring rolls and other forgettable cold cuts.
When I was young, I loved attending wedding dinners. In those days, before hotel ballrooms became popular venues of choice, dinner banquets almost always took place in Chinese restaurants. Back then, people chose their venues based on how good the food was. These days, people choose based on glitz (never mind the mediocre hotel food).
Anyhow, it was a blast for us children. We would get to drink an unlimited amount of fizzy drinks because our parents were too busy talking to notice. We would get to shriek and run around because Chinese celebrate everything with noise and more noise. And, we'd get to stay up late because wedding banquets never begin on time.
The first thing I would attack on the cold platter would be Foo Yong Egg. All the servings were (still are) portioned to be exactly sufficient for the 10 guests per table. So it was fastest chopsticks first. I suppose everything tasted extraordinarily good because it would be 9pm by the time dinner was served and we would all be ravenous enough to eat a horse.
No wonder the MSG-laden, gooey "Shark's Fin Soup" (read: Starch Fin Soup) tasted so delicious. Oh come on, you didn't think they would serve us REAL shark's fin, did you? How could the restaurants possibly make any money otherwise?
By the third course (usually deep fried spring chicken), I would declare myself full and run off to play with the other children of my huge extended family. The adults would continue chatting and eating as the wait staff brought on the remaining courses (to make up a total of 9 or 10) - drunken prawns, duck, steamed fish, yam ring, braised mushrooms, steamed glutinous rice in lotus leaves, ee fu noodles, etc. And then dessert. That's when us kids would return to our seats obediently. Those were the days.
Well, as part of my "eating light" diet, I made a simple meal of Foo Yong Egg with Prawns. I used the 5 prawns that had been sitting in my freezer since my KL trip, and added peas and chillies. It was fast and easy to make. Taking my first bite instantly brought back many happy childhood memories, which explains my enthusiastic rambling in this post. *grin*
- 4 eggs (they were very small), lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp fresh milk (some people add cornstarch to thicken but I personally prefer milk)
- 5 prawns (shelled, deveined and halved lengthwise)
* Marinate the prawns in a dash of soy and a dash of Hua Tiao wine
- 1/2 white onion, sliced thinly
- 1 red chilli (deseeded and sliced)
- 1 stalk spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp frozen peas, thawed and rinsed
1. Beat eggs together with milk and a dash of salt.
2. Heat up oil in a skillet. Fry egg mixture over a moderate heat and stir to scramble gently. Do not allow eggs to set till firm. As long as they turn into a custard consistency, remove them. Place them on a plate on standby.
3. Fry onions with some oil till they have softened and turned translucent. Add peas, spring onions and chilli slices. Add prawns. Stir fry for about 1 minute to cook the prawns through.
4. Turn off the flame. Return the eggs to the skillet for a very quick mix. Take care not to cook the eggs further. Just mix everything up and dish up into a bowl.
5. Let the eggs sit in the bowl for about 3-5 mins.
6. Place a plate over the bowl and invert, like an upside down cake. Garnish and serve.
Notes from The Little Teochew:
- Timing is everything in this dish. Do not overcook the eggs. A good Foo Yong Egg always has a delicate, soft bite. In fact, I read somewhere that traditional Foo Yong Eggs were made with egg whites only, to achieve that tender texture.
- I still love Foo Yong Egg with Crabmeat best. My mother-in-law used to make this once in a while but it's too much work for her now. And I am squeamish about crabs. It was delicious, though! ;P