Perfect with a bowl of rice, this super easy and yummy Chinese tomato and egg stir fry (番茄炒蛋) is great for days when the thought of cooking is just 'eh too much work'.
This is a dish that you'll pretty much never find at Chinese restaurants nor your local takeouts (outside of China or Taiwan). It's a classic Chinese comfort food that is pretty much only ever made at home and very popular with kids (or uni students with a small budget).
Dinner or work from home lunch done in just 15 minutes! Did I mention this is hella healthy too!?
- Ripe tomatoes are very important for a tasty plate of tomatoes and egg dish. If you were only able to get not so ripe tomatoes, leave them out on the kitchen bench for a couple of days to ripen before cooking. Juicy tomatoes are key!
- Shaoxing wine only a tiny bit is used here but it adds a noticeable depth of flavour to the eggs. Suitable substitute: dry sherry, mirin or other rice cooking wine.
- Ginger again, very little is used for this recipe. About 4 small, thin slices will do and will be discarded halfway through cooking. It's just here to add a subtle but noticeable flavour.
- Brown sugar is always my first choice for adding sweetness to cooking due to its rich flavour profile from the added molasses. No brown sugar? white sugar will work too.
Step by step instructions
To begin, cut the tomatoes into wedges (about 8 wedges for every large tomato).
This is so that the tomatoes will hold shape and stay relatively intact throughout the cooking process.
One important step is to sizzle the ginger and spring onions with some cooking oil first till golden. This adds complex yet subtle flavours into the oil and therefore the tomatoes.
Then add the tomatoes, sugar and a little pinch of salt, cook on medium heat until soft, stirring occasionally. Whilst tomatoes are cooking away, crack eggs into a bowl, beat the eggs with shaoxing wine and season with salt.
Once tomatoes are soft, remove and discard ginger slices. They've served their purpose. Make some room in the middle of the pan, add extra oil for the eggs.
If you don't have a non-stick pan, I recommend adding about 2 tablespoons of oil at this stage instead of 1 tablespoon to prevent eggs from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Pour the egg mixture into the middle of the pan.
As you can see from the images above, you want to only stir once the eggs have formed shape. This is so that the scrambled eggs don't get 'lost' in the tomatoes and their juices. Meaning, a thick paste-like consistency instead of solid pieces of scrambled eggs.
I find gently pushing the tomato and eggs from the edges of the pan towards the middle works really well. Just like image #6 above, scraping from the bottom of the pan to avoid overcooking.
The best way to have this dish is to serve with steamed rice! Otherwise, it is a perfect side dish for a family meal with other dishes.
Tips for making a perfect Chinese tomato and egg stir fry
- Use ripe and juicy tomatoes - makes a huge difference to the overall flavour of the final dish. If you don't want to wait for the tomatoes to ripen, add a little tomato sauce (ketchup) to add extra flavour.
- Do not overcook the eggs. Nobody likes overcooked scrambled eggs. As soon as the eggs are cooked, transfer onto a plate to stop residual heat from the pan to continue the cooking process.
- Leave stirring of the tomatoes to a minimum so that they don't just turn into mush (can very well happen). The tomatoes are cut into wedges so that they can somewhat stay intact so you get mouthfuls of juicy delicious tomatoes!
- When stirring the eggs in the pan, scrape from the bottom to avoid overcooking any bits of eggs.
Tomatoes and eggs are a nutritious and delicious combination. Now that I think about it, this is somewhat similar to the brunch favourite, flavour-packed Shakshuka! Instead of rice, a shakshuka is generally served with flatbreads, perfect for soaking up the sauce.
Since this is a very homey dish, naturally, there are several ways of making it. And the 'correct' way of making a good Chinese tomato and egg dish is down to individual preferences.
Some people swear by adding some tomato sauce (ketchup), others prefer cooking the scrambled eggs first, take it out, only to be added at the end, after tomatoes have softened.
This recipe is one that I love and I think you will too! I find (and my Chinese food loving sister agrees) my method of cooking the eggs together with the tomatoes at the end makes the eggs way more flavoursome!
Having said this, adding a little tomato sauce is a fantastic idea if you're using tomatoes that aren't fully ripe and juicy. It'll help oomph up the dish. Also, since there's already sugar in tomato sauces, the sugar can be omitted using this method.
Good to know (FAQs)
Store for up to 4 days. I recommend not reheating and simply serve with hot rice. This way the eggs won't become overcooked through reheating. More importantly, this dish actually tastes just as good cold!
Made this recipe? Let me know your thoughts or questions by dropping a note in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you 🙂
Happy cooking! - Gen
Chinese Tomato Egg Stir Fry
- 6 eggs
- 3 large ripe tomatoes cut into wedges (note 1)
- 4 slices ginger thin
- 1 spring onion cut to 2inch/5cm long
- 1 teaspoon shaoxing wine
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar or white
- 2 tablespoon oil neutral-tasting, eg. canola, grapeseed
- Freshly cooked rice
- In a non-stick pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil, spring onions and ginger. Cook on medium heat until golden. About 1 minute.
- Add tomato wedges, sugar and lightly season with salt. Cook and soften tomatoes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. About 4 - 5 minutes.
- Whilst tomatoes are cooking, crack eggs into a large bowl, add shaoxing wine and salt. Whisk well, set aside.
- Once tomatoes have softened, remove and discard the ginger slices. Push tomatoes to the rims of the pan, making space in the middle of the pan. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil into the middle of the pan. Increase heat to high and allow oil to heat up for about 10 seconds, then pour whisked eggs into the pan.
- Let the eggs set and form shape (when it's starting to look like scrambled eggs) before stirring each time, about 20 seconds apart. (note 2)
- Once eggs are cooked through, about 2 or 3 minutes, turn the heat off. Immediately transfer onto a plate. (note 3)
- Serve with rice!