While my classmates were enjoying their eggs with bacon or ham, I was savouring this classic dish. My mother would fry the eggs in a wok very quickly over a high heat. She would use groundnut oil, which does not burn easily and imparts a slight nut-like flavour to the delicate eggs. The result was an egg dish with a crispy exterior and a soft interior, and a subtle contrast of flavours. The eggs were served on a platter, sprinkled with a good-quality oyster sauce, with plain white rice on the side. It makes a delectable breakfast or lunch, and the eggs alone are often served as a side dish in a multi-course Chinese dinner.
Two important points to remember: cook the eggs quickly, over a high heat, so the white is crispy, but do not overcook them; use a good-quality oyster sauce – the best you can find, because here price is usually a good indication of quality.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil; when it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat down to low and crack each egg into the wok, keeping the yolks intact.
Continue to pan-fry the eggs over a low heat until they are crispy and set. Add salt and pepper to taste. Carefully remove the eggs from the wok with a spatula and let them drain on kitchen paper. Place them on a platter, drizzle with oyster sauce and serve at once.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.