Green Heirloom Tomatoes with Eggs - 青番茄炒蛋

Traveling brings new inspiration (e.g. Chicken with Shallots-Carrot Sauce from Chicken with Carrots, Vegetables-Simmered Rice Vermicelli from Home-Style Fried Vermicelli) to my kitchen and home-cooking.

The inspiration for today's recipe came from this dish tried and tasted in our China vacation almost two years ago - in one of the restaurants serving Yu/Xin Yang cuisine. When I first tasted the dish, I could not figure out this green-ish ingredient (vegetable or fruit?) in the plate of fluffy moist fried egg-scramble. That ingredient was tender, had some bite and a light sourness. It was definitely not leafy greens, or green bell peppers. A list of squash(es) such as cucumber, zucchini, luffa gourd, hairy melon and chayote exhausted my mind, yet no match was found.

Only then, one of our servers told us that this sourish appetizing dish was actually green tomatoes (one of their local produce) fried with eggs. WHAaat? As I have cooked tomatoes with eggs before and quite often as well, I could not find any similarity except that both versions of tomatoes with eggs are super delicious.

Ever since I returned from the trip, I have been thinking how to re-create it at home. The first thing I had to clarify was the use of green - typically known as unripe tomatoes. I have heard that unripe tomatoes (typically green tomatoes) are poisonous and cannot be consumed. After some reading up, I found that the dish that we tried in China was made from ripe green tomatoes (a special tomato variety that stays green even when ripe), so I thought I could try it with the green zebra-striped heirloom tomatoes back in the US, which are actually also ripe tomatoes just green in color.

Green Heirloom Tomatoes with Egg 青番茄炒蛋
2 organic eggs, lightly whisked with 1/2 tsp light soy sauce and dash of ground pepper
1 medium-size green heirloom tomato, sliced to thin wedges
1 garlic, finely minced
1 green onion, separate white and green portions, and finely slice them
Pinch of salt and ground white pepper
2 drops of toasted sesame oil

Directions: Saute the green onions (white parts) and garlic, then add the tomatoes and cook till some juices are released. Slowly add in the whisked egg and before the under-side is firmed up, break the egg up gently such that they are partially scrambled. Do not keep turning and tossing the eggs as it will dry up the eggs very fast. Just allow the heat to slowly cook the top parts of the eggs from "more runny" to "less runny". Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat. Drizzle the sesame oil over the eggs, cover the pot and allow the remaining heat to cook the eggs. Sprinkle in green onions garnish (green parts).

The result and bright acid flavors were as close as it gets.

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