Saturday, March 14, 2015

"Egg" Foo Yung


Full disclosure: I have never, to my recollection, actually eaten or even seen egg foo yung, which Wikipedia defines as "an omelette dish found in Chinese Indonesian, British and Chinese American cuisine." Although a standard offering in old-school American Chinese restaurants, this menu staple somehow passed me by (or vice-versa) back in my omnivorous days, along with hybridized offerings like chop suey and chow mein. (The queasy-making orientalism surrounding putatively "Asian" food and culture in twentieth century American pop culture is another topic for another blog post. Then again, maybe not.)

Anyway, I became curious about this dish after a friend posted about making it; I wasn't entirely sure what it was, and a little Googling piqued my quixotic culinary interest. After consulting several sources (including "traditional" egg-based versions and Robin Robertson's To-Fu Yung from Vegan Planet), I headed into the kitchen, and basically just played around a bit. Today's recipe is the end result of my experimentation, and while I can't say how it compares to the original (whatever such a term even means), I can say that it's delicious, and makes a somewhat "fancy" impression that belies its easy preparation. Best of all, no eggs, hens, or chicks are involved!

The "Egg" Foo Yung
Ingredients
~ 1 14 oz. package firm or extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
~ ¼ cup each: chickpea flour, nutritional yeast
~ 1 tbsp. soy sauce
~ 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
~ 2-6 tbsp. water
~ 1 tsp black salt
~ 1/2 tsp. each: turmeric, ground ginger, garlic powder, white pepper
~ 4 large scallions, chopped
~ ½ red bell pepper, small dice
~ 1 small carrot, shredded
~ 1 stalk celery, small dice
~ 2 cups bean sprouts, roughly chopped

Directions
~ Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and coat two baking sheets with cooking spray.
~ In a food processor or blender, puree the tofu, flour, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, sesame oil, and dry seasonings, adding as much of the water as needed to make a smooth mixture about the consistency of a thick muffin batter.
~ In a large mixing bowl, combine the scallions, bell pepper, celery, and bean sprouts; stir in the tofu mixture and combine well.
~ Wet your hands and form the mixture by 1/3-1/2 cupfuls into round “omelettes” about ½” thick, spacing them evenly on your prepared baking sheet. (I got ten from this recipe, but your mileage may vary.)
~ Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway, until golden brown and firm.
~ While that's happening, you can make...

The Sauce
Ingredients

~ 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
~ 2 large shallots, minced
~ 1 clove garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp. grated ginger
~ 1 tbsp. each: soy sauce, hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
~ 2 tbsp. dry sherry
~ 1 tsp. each: vegan Worcestershire sauce, sugar
~ 1.5 cups "no chicken" broth
~ 1 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water

Directions
~ In a saucepan, sauté the shallots in the sesame oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
~ Add the garlic and ginger and cook another 30 seconds or so.
~ Add the soy sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and sherry. Stir for a few seconds to let the alcohol burn off a little.
~ Begin adding the broth slowly, stirring all the while; turn the heat to simmer and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
~ Whisk in the cornstarch and water mixture and combine thoroughly. Raise the heat back to medium-high and cook another 5-7 minutes, until thickened.
~ When the egg foo yung is finished baking, place each omelet on a bed of steamed brown rice and ladle the sauce over the top to serve. Stir-fried broccoli, mushrooms, and/or bok choy make a nice accompaniment.

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