On our recent trip to Billy Kwong, Kylie Kwong's restaurant (story to come soon), we ordered a starter which was simple but delicious. The eggs were crispy at the bottom with a river of creamy egg yolk meandering across the plate. Was that too lyrical? Perhaps - but I was bowled over by the beautiful texture. Little did I realise how simple it actually was. When I looked up some recipes on her website, I realised that it could be done with about 4 ingredients plus oil and seasoning and finished in under 10 minutes. Please excuse the lack of "in progress" photos - quite honestly it was over before it even began!
I've spoken often about my fear of deep frying, yet I overcame it for this dish as it's _that _good and simple. I had a surplus of eggs and some crunchy fresh birds eye chilis and fresh spring onions so it was an easy choice. And provided your rice is already cooked you can have a simple dinner for two on the table within 10 minutes (with most of the time spent waiting for the oil to heat up and whilst it's doing so you can chop up the chilis and spring onions).
I couldn't find Biodynamic eggs anywhere so I used free range eggs instead. Of course using birds eye chilis will mean that it is super hot so of course you could use less or you can use the larger chilis which are milder. I served these with the cooling cucumber pickles I made earlier that week and some fresh rice noodles which were cooked for 2-3 minutes in the microwave and then drizzled with soy and hoi sin sauce so I can say with absolute confidence that dinner was ready within claimed 10 minutes. I know the inevitable question for fellow deep frying phobics is "Will this work with just pan frying the eggs?" and I have to say that it does work well although the eggs aren't _quite _as crispy on the bottom (although they still are crispy) but that is the only concession. The only thing I can suggest though is that you try this dish, either deep fried or shallow fried. It will soon work its way into your week day cooking repertoire.
Homestyle Chinese Free Range Eggs
Serves 2 people for dinner with rice or noodles or 4 people for an entree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
5 free-range eggs
1 tablespoon oyster sauce or the vegetarian equivalent
pinch ground white pepper
1/4 cup finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
12 red birds eye chillies, finely sliced
Step 1 - Heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Crack 4 eggs into a small bowl without whisking, then carefully pour into the hot oil. After 1 minute reduce heat to medium, allowing the underside of the eggs to become firm and crisp the yolks should still be runny at this point.
Step 2 - Carefully slide a spatula under the eggs and discard the oil. Replace eggs and cook for a further minute to become crisp. Transfer onto a plate.
Step 3 - Whisk the last egg lightly in a small bowl and fry it by itself turning it over when only just done. Lay this on top of the 4 eggs already done on the plate. Slice this into 6-8 pieces so that it is easier to eat, whilst keeping the outside shape.
Step 4 - Drizzle eggs with oyster sauce or vegetarian version thereof and garnish with pepper, spring onions and chillies. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Kylie Kwong's website