This is the only Egg Foo Young recipe you need. You can fill your omelet with any fillings you prefer and create a restaurant-style dish in your own kitchen!
The first time I tried Egg Foo Young was in a small diner ran by Chinese immigrants in Cairo. It was quite different from the northern Chinese style omelet that I’d eaten growing up.
The omelet that I’m familiar with is usually filled with a single ingredient, either a green vegetable or a herb. For example, green onion, anaheim pepper, or young leaves of Chinese mahogany (xiang chun). Less oil is used in family-style cooking, and there is no gravy involved. The omelet is usually served with a simple congee, or with scallion pancakes and a bit of sweet bean paste.
The Cantonese style egg dish, or Egg Foo Young, is much more scrumptious. The eggs are usually mixed with a protein and several types of vegetables, such as ham, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms, fried in oil until fluffy and crispy, and then served with a gravy.
I love them both.
To make a good Egg Foo Young, you only need to note about one thing – less is more.
Just like the logic of pizza toppings, you should not attempt to fold too many ingredients into the eggs. You want the egg to bind all the ingredients together, with the main texture still tasting like egg. It is an omelet dish, after all, and not a vegetable stir fry.
To make a restaurant-style Egg Foo Young you need to use more oil.
Unlike the western style omelet, the Chinese version requires more oil and high heat to create the delightfully fluffy, crispy texture, and the beautifully browned surface. You’re actually overcooking the egg here. The additional oil will create bubbles in the egg mixture, which makes the texture very light.
Although it doesn’t mean using tons of oil to deep fry the egg, you need to add enough oil to at least cover the bottom of a frying pan. A smaller size nonstick pan works great. I especially love my 7-inch omelet pan, which requires less oil and cook fabulous eggs.
If you heat up the pan properly, you will see that the eggs start to bubble immediately once you add the mixture into the pan. It only takes seconds for the bottom to set and brown.
On the other hand, you definitely can use less oil to cook a healthier version. The texture will be different, but the flavor is still there.
The recipe below is my favorite combination, but you can replace the ingredients according to your preference.
My favorite protein for the filling is shrimp. You can replace it with any other protein, such as ham, char siu (Chinese BBQ pork), leftover chicken, or cooked ground meat. As for other vegetables, bean sprouts, bamboo shoot, and water chestnut add a crunchy texture. Green onions are a must for the flavor. Other ingredients such as spinach, peppers, cooked (or canned) mushrooms, cooked peas, sliced cabbage… they all work well in the omelet!
Again, remember that less is more. Do not overfill your omelet.
Want to learn more Chinese takeout recipes? Check these out:
- Chinese Beef and Broccoli with Tofu (One Pan Take-Out)
- Moo Goo Gai Pan
- General Tso’s Chicken
- Shrimp Fried Rice (扬州炒饭, Yang Zhou Chao Fan)
Happy cooking everyone!
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Shrimp Egg Foo Young (鲜虾芙蓉蛋)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 6 large eggs
- 1/3 cup bean sprouts
- 1 jalapeno pepper , sliced
- 2 green onions , finely chopped
- 1 cup shrimp , cooked and chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder
- 2 to 8 tablespoons vegetable oil *(Footnote 1)
- Whisk together the Sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sauce simmers and thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Beat together the eggs, bean sprouts, green onions, shrimp, salt, and white pepper powder in a bowl until well-combined.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and scoop about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture into the skillet to make a patty.
- Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side, and repeat with the remaining egg mixture. Set the patties aside.
- Spoon the sauce over the patties.
- To keep the egg fluffy, it requires more cooking oil. If you would like to use less oil that is fine but it will result in a flatter omelette.