Food & Drink

Put down that takeout menu and learn how to make your own egg foo yong

Egg Foo Yong With Greens and Onion.
Egg Foo Yong With Greens and Onion. Deb Lindsey/The Washington Post

The name sounds slightly inauthentic, and harks back to the days when Americans didn't know from mapo tofu or bao buns. But egg foo yong is a Cantonese-style dish with a tradition of its own: an eggy pancake with a kitchen-sink helping of tender and crisp vegetables, pork, shrimp, even water chestnuts and bean sprouts.

Saveur declared its comeback a few years ago, so you can feel good about giving this version a try. It is stripped to basics, and meatless. If the Asian greens called choy sum – a green-stemmed member of the brassicas that I can get behind – are at your disposal, chop them up and saute them with onion before the eggs get poured in. Or use peeled broccoli stems instead. It will taste just as good.

Egg Foo Yong With Greens and Onion

Adapted from "Malaysia: Recipes From a Family Kitchen," by Ping Coombes (Weldon Owen, 2017). Choy sum is a leafy Asian green whose crisp, slim stems work well here. If you can't find it, use the stems of broccolini, or peeled broccoli stems.

1 small red or white onion

4 ounces choy sum (see headnote)

3 large eggs

1 chicken bouillon cube

Large pinch sugar

Large pinch kosher salt

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Fried rice for serving

Peel the onion and cut it in half, then into very thin half-moon slices. Coarsely chop the choy sum stems, to yield at least 2 cups. Reserve the leaves for another use, if desired.

Whisk the eggs lightly in a medium bowl. Crush enough of the bouillon cube to yield 1/2 teaspoon, then add it to the bowl, along with the sugar and salt, whisking to incorporate.

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and stir to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until softened.

Distribute the choy sum evenly over the onion; cook for about 3 minutes, then gently pour in the egg mixture, tilting the pan so the egg runs evenly around the vegetables. Use a wooden spatula to stir the eggs once around the pan, then cook for 2 or 3 minutes, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom and the edges are set.

Use the spatula to cut the egg foo yong in half, then turn each half over. Cook for a minute or two, until lightly browned on the second side. Divide between individual plates; serve right away with fried rice on the side.

Per serving: 180 calories, 11 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 280 mg cholesterol, 420 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar

Yield: 2 servings