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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gung Hay Fat Choy

January 23 marked the start of this year's Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon.  This celebration of family, friends, food, and good fortune will continue through February 6, giving us all plenty of time to enjoy our favorite Chinese foods and learn more about the rich culture of the Chinese people.  You might want to visit Chinese Master Chef Martin Yan's facebook page for insight and inspiration

Pekin House - Chicago, Illinois
As many of you know, there is a long-standing connection between the Chinese and the Jewish cultures, especially when it comes to a certain major non-Jewish, non-Chinese holiday, and I recall many wonderful family dinners at the Pekin House Restaurant on Devon Avenue in Chicago.  This is where I had my first taste of egg foo young, which remains to this day my favorite thing to order for eat-in or take-out.

For some reason I never imagined I could recreate this dish myself, which is pretty silly when you break it down and realize that egg foo young is really just a kind of omelet with Asian veggies.  Plus that yummy, thick, rich, sauce on top turns out to be super easy to make too.  So using a recipe from as a guide, here's my easy egg foo young.  May you become prosperous.

Easy Egg Foo Young
5 large eggs, beaten                                       

1 cup fresh bean sprouts                                               
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup shredded carrots                                                 

1/3 cup minced green onions
1/2 cup shredded Napa cabbage
2 tsp. light soy sauce
veg or peanut oil
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. light soy sauce
2 tsp. light brown sugar
2 tsp. black vinegar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water

1. First make the sauce - in a small pan, heat the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and water until simmering.  Toss in some of the chopped green onion if you'd like.
2. In a small bowl, blend the cornstarch and water, then add to the sauce and stir until thickened and bubbly.
3. In a bowl combine the eggs, veggies and 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce.
4. Heat about 2 teaspoons of oil in a saute pan then add about 1 ladle full of the egg/veg mixture, guiding it on the pan with a spatula so it remains in the shape of a large pancake.
5. Heat until egg is about 2/3 cooked through, then turn the omelet/pancake over and cook until browned on both sides.
6.  While you cook remaining cakes keep each finished one separate and not stacked to avoid sogginess.
7.  Give the sauce another brisk whisk.
8.  Serve up your egg foo young,
9. Confucious say accept praise with modesty if you can.

Note: If you compare the original recipe from with mine you'll see that I've made an addition (carrots) and an omission (water chestnuts) but the foo young was fine.  Use your own imagination, what's in your pantry, or get inspiration and information on Asian vegetables from Melissa's Produce Company:


  1. Gung Hay Fat Choy to you too! Thanks for the easy, delicious-sounding recipe, with the beautiful photograph.

    Excuse my ignorance but what was the major holiday? My family was so Orthodox that I never set foot in a Chinese restaurant until I was on my own in Israel!

    1. Rumor has it that on Christmas day, because most other restaurants are closed and we have to eat somewhere, Chinese restaurants make more money than any other day of the year. My friend Bonnie sent me an e-mail about a sign in a restaurant in Seattle acknowledging this phenomenon: (paraphrased) The Chinese Restaurant Association of the U.S., would like to thank the Jewish people - we don't completely understand your dietary customs but we are proud and grateful that your GOD insists you eat our food on Christmas.

  2. Wow - that is great! Now I think of all those Christmas Chinese meals I missed.

  3. Nancy,
    Egg Foo Young is my ALL TIME favorite. None of the Chinese restaurants around here have it on their menu. I also grew up on egg foo young in Chicago restaurants and anytime I see it on a menu, I order it! I am going to make the recipe you posted... I cannot wait. Thanks!

    1. Deb, there are at least 2 restaurants near me with EFY. Come up here sometime and we'll have an EFY eating mini-marathon!

  4. Sounds like a plan!!!! YUM.

  5. It suddenly occurred to me that I haven't had egg foo young (or if I did, it was so long ago that I don't remember). I haven't seen it at Chinese restaurants in my area either but I'd love to make it. Any suggestions for a substitute for black vinegar?

    1. I think the original recipe which was linked in the post called for regular vinegar but I had the black vinegar. Since the original recipe called for broth instead of water I thought the black vinegar would add to the flavor, which it did.

  6. Thanks, Nancy. I should have thought to look for the original. I'll bet it was good with the black vinegar.

    This probably sounds like heresy, but when I look at the omelet I want to scoop it up in a pita or chapati or some other flatbread. Maybe a soft Chinese pancake? (the kind that mu shu comes in).

    When you had it in restaurants, was it served with rice?

    1. Yes, white (yum, I know it's not healthy but it's comfort food)rice, but I had the ones I made au naturale. Your idea isn't heresy, but speaking of heresy I've decided that some things are best sans bread.

  7. I love white rice too, especially basmati and jasmine and well, all of them!

    You're right, some things are best sans bread, and I'd be willing to give egg foo young a chance served that way. I don't usually like croutons in my green salad either, and it always makes me laugh when garlic bread comes with pizza! Even a bread-lover like me doesn't like bread with my bread.