Information: egg dishes

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SO VERSATILE are the Chinese with eggs that whole cookbooks have been written on the subject. Eggs are cooked in all possible ways: steamed, stirred or scrambled, pan-fried, deep-fried, boiled, poached, simmered (in soy sauce, gravies and tea); or used in omelets, souffles and egg puddings.

Eggs are not usually cooked alone but combined with other ingredients.

These may be meat or seafood and vegetables. (If already cooked, the ingredients are cut up fine and combined directly with the eggs. If raw, they're usually stir-fried first.) Fried eggs, stirred eggs and omelets are all cooked quickly over high heat. In the case of fried eggs, the oil or lard must be nearly smoking.

This makes for egg whites that are crisp and crusty; for yolks that retain their moistness. Stirred or scrambled eggs are cooked over medium-high heat. They are pushed about quickly with a spatula while the pan is tilted so that most of the liquid egg comes directly in contact with the hot oil.

This puffs up the eggs, makes them light and airy. Stirred eggs are removed from the stove while still quite moist: they cook to the right consistency in their own heat by the time they reach the table. Chinese omelets cooked overhigh heat are characteristically browned on the outside, soft on the inside, with their ingredients or fillings quickly heated through.

The original or classic egg foo yung is a light, airy souffle made with egg whites and minced chicken breast. (Its name derives from both a white hibiscus flower and a Chinese bird whose colors resemble pure white jade.) The foo yung more familiar to Westerners is a hearty combination of whole eggs, shredded meat or seafood, and vegetables, cooked together as a thick, solid pancake. There are two versions of the more familiar variety: home-style and restaurant-style. Home-style egg foo yung is pan-fried either as one large omelet or as several small ones. The restaurant version is deep-fried, with the mixture dropped from a ladle into the hot oil to make a nnmber of small omelets. Boiled eggs (invariably hard-boiled) are eaten with a soy sauce dip or else pot-stewed afterward--that is, shelled and then simmered in the sauce of red-cooked meat or poultry until permeated with the savory flavors of these sauces. Poached eggs are used as garnishes for steamed rice and soups.

Steamed custard-like eggs have their smooth blandness set off by ingredients that are highly flavored or salty.

NOTE: Leftover egg whites can be used in souffles, chicken velvet, bird's nest soup and various batters for deep-fried foods. Leftover yolks can be used in omelets, egg puddings, as egg threads; or poached directly in hot soup as a garnish.

From <The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook>, ISBN 0-517-65870-4. Downloaded from Glen's MM Recipe Archive, .

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