Omelette with tomatoes and chai poh 菜脯

Chai poh 菜脯 is salted radish and a staple in teochew porridge.  I had seen a post by Kitchen Tigress on how to many fluffy Chai Poh Omelette (菜脯卵), combining elements of French and Chinese omelettes. Ever since then I have been waiting for an opportunity to try it out.  With only 2 tomatoes and 4 eggs in the fridge, nothing defrosted, and dinner-time looming, my chance came. I didn’t add any milk, preferring a more traditional version. I did her advice to start with high heat, reducing to medium and then low as the omelette cooks.

omelette with tomatos and chai poh

½ handful of chai poh
3 eggs, beaten with pinch of salt and pepper
1 tomato, sliced
2 shallots, chopped finely
1″ ginger, chopped finely
salt/pepper to taste

Serves 2

Rinse chai poh several times in water to remove some of the saltiness. Squeeze dry and remove as much water as possible using paper towels.
Heat up some oil and stir try chai poh to give it a slightly crispy texture, hence you want it as dry as possible. Note that it will never become completely crispy!
After about 30 seconds, add shallots and ginger. Fry till fragrant.
Prepare beaten eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt as chai poh is already salty.
On high heat, add beaten eggs. Swirl eggs around pan evenly. It should form solid whites quickly around the edges. Lower to medium heat after about 5 seconds.
Allow eggs to cook. Spread eggs around if necessary to keep it even.
Flip or fold the omelette, depending on your preference, and cook till done.
Garnish with spring onions.

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Or chien 蚝煎 (Or luah / Fried oyster omelette)

This is one of my favourites, on my ‘must-eat’ list when I’m in Singapore. Best eaten in hawker centres or road-side stalls in the old day, Or Chien is artery-clogging but delicious. The hawker ah-chek frys this up in his large wok accompanied by dramatic clanging noises of the spatula breaking up the flour and eggs. Back home it’s always made with fresh medium-sized oysters. I wasn’t able to find any when the craving hit me, so I substituted it with Crown Prince smoked oysters, available from most grocery stores. I got mine from Trader Joe’s. Fish sauce is an essential ingredient. Don’t stinge on it.

or luah
Smoked oysters, 1 tin, drained
3 eggs, beaten
¼ cup prawns, shelled
2 tbsp tapioca flour
2 tbsp corn starch
Fish sauce
Cooking wine
White ground pepper
Soy sauce
Garlic, chopped
Chilli (optional)
Cilantro or Spring onions, thinly sliced to garnish

Serves 4

Mix flour and corn starch in 2 cups of water and stir well.
Heat small amount of oil and add well-stirred, flour/starch mixture into oil. Leave it alone till flour is translucent and slightly browned at the edges.
Pour eggs over it and heat for a while till edges start to brown.
Cut up flour and eggs with spatula and stir well. Push to one side of the wok.
Add a little more oil in wok.
Fry garlic and prawn.
Add cooking wine, pepper, soy sauce. Add chilli if desired.
Add dash of fish sauce.
Add oysters till heated through.
Mix everything together, adding pepper, soy sauce, chilli to adjust taste accordingly. Add more fish sauce if preferred.
Garnish with cilantro or spring onions.

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