Better than take-out, this egg foo young recipe has a twist to it...noodles! Inspired by how my mom used to make it, these fluffy Chinese omelettes are easy to make and perfect for a simple no-frills weeknight meal.
What exactly is egg foo young?
I know what eggs are, obviously, but I'm not exactly sure what the "foo young" part of it means.
And I'm Chinese!
Whatever the translation may be, egg foo young is basically a Chinese omelette, and many of you might think of it as a popular Chinese restaurant (or take-out) dish, often served with a brown gravy.
For me, it's a favorite dish my mom used to make all the time for us when I lived at home, and interestingly enough, I have never eaten egg foo young in a restaurant!
And like for many Chinese families, ours was not served with gravy!
While there are a few different versions out there with various fillings, my mom's version included BBQ pork (cha siu), chopped green onions, and noodles.
My mom always included bean thread noodles in her egg foo young and while it's completely optional for this dish, it's how I know egg foo young to be and we always loved it when my mom made it.
Like many Asian noodles, bean thread noodles are sold in dried form and all you need to do is soak them in hot water for about ten minutes to re-hydrate them. Then using kitchen shears, you cut them into shorter lengths so they mix well into the eggs.
Then it's a matter of scrambling the eggs with the a mixture of soy sauce (tamari for GF!), water, oil, tapioca starch, and white pepper. Dump in the fillings, which in this case is chopped BBQ pork (cha siu), chopped green onions, and the bean thread noodles. Give it a good mix.
And as you can see from my photos, I scramble the eggs with chopsticks. Besides the fact that my mother also scrambled eggs with chopsticks and not a fork, I find the chopsticks help to break down the eggs really well, blending the whites and yolks quickly and easily into a very uniform liquid.
Then it's a matter of heating a small frypan over medium heat, adding a bit of oil, and frying up the omelettes, one ladle full at a time.
Like my mom's version, I do not use a lot of oil to fry these up, whereas restaurants often use more oil, almost deep-frying the omelettes. And I only add the oil at the beginning and never need to add any more for the remaining omelettes.
Each egg foo young omelette takes about 2 minutes to cook up and before you know it, you're ready to sit down and start enjoying!
Now, I can't go on until I address the gravy thing.
When I learned that take-out egg foo young is often served with a brown gravy, I was really confused.
Egg foo young...with gravy? We never ate it with gravy at home when my mom made it!
But basically, the gravy is a westernized touch to this dish that many people enjoy.
So I've included a recipe for a basic brown gravy that can be served with your egg foo young, if you so desire!
While this isn’t my mom’s exact recipe…I kind of guessed and made up some stuff along the way…it’s as close as I can get it to what I remember my mom’s egg foo young being like.
And happily, my boys enjoy this dish, too!
While my brother and sisters and I haven’t really eaten much of it since we've left home, just the sight of it, ESPECIALLY with the noodles, makes us think of our childhood.
These Chinese omelettes are simple and satisfying, and when served with hot steamed rice and, perhaps, a bowl of soup like my Super Simple Egg Drop Soup, you've got one tasty comforting meal, any night of the week!
Mom's Noodle Egg Foo Young
- 6 eggs
- 20-30 g bean thread noodles, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and cut into small strips
- 1 cup finely chopped Chinese BBQ pork (cha siu)
- ⅓ cup chopped green onions
- Combine all gravy ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil to thicken and set aside. Keep warm.
- In a medium sized bowl, beat eggs well.
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and add to the eggs. Mix well.
- Add barbecue pork, bean thread noodles, and green onions to the eggs and mix well.
- Heat small skillet over medium heat.
- Add about 1 tbs of light olive oil to the pan.
- Using a soup ladle, scoop some of the egg mixture into the pan. Gently shake the pan to even out the filling and tilt the pan to allow the egg to spread.
- Use a spatula to gently push the edges of the egg in, tilting pan again to let the egg spread.
- Gently flip the omelette over when the egg is still wet, but not runny, and the bottom is lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes.
- Let cook another minute before transferring to a serving plate. Repeat with remaining egg mixture.
- Garnish with more chopped onions and serve with gravy, if desired.
- Bean thread noodles are also known as mung bean noodles, glass noodles, or cellophane noodles and are sold in dried form.
- Bean thread noodles are gluten-free!
- You can omit the noodles, if desired.
- Other filling suggestions: shrimp, frozen vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, diced onions, bamboo shoots, ground pork, etc.
- Leftover omelettes reheat well in the microwave!