I once took an Australian co-worker to a hole-in-the-wall Muslim restaurant where they had pictures of their menu on the wall. I pointed out xi hong shi chao ji dan (西红柿炒蛋) and translated it to her as an “egg and tomato omelette”.
“That’s an odd combination,” she said.
Not so for me. When I first arrived in China in 1995 and had my first dining hall food this was the first dish in which I could easily recognize the ingredients; eggs and tomatoes.
It also happens to be very easy to make and is quite adaptable. Here’s a very simple recipe:
Eggs and Tomato Omelette
1 large tomato
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil divided
Dice up tomato and mince garlic. In a skillet heat one tablespoon of oil and stir in garlic until brown. Stir in tomatoes and add salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on low heat for two minutes. Uncover, stir and cook tomatoes until the liquid evaporates. Remove tomatoes from pan and set aside. Heat remaining oil in skillet and scramble the eggs until cooked. Add the tomato mixture and blend well. Serve on a bed of rice.
The beauty of this dish is that you can add other ingredients to your taste. I’ve had this with baby bok choi, shiitake mushrooms, scallions, and cheese.