Tomato and Egg Stir-fry 番茄炒蛋 (Cantonese home-cooking)


Tomato and egg stir-fry is my absolute favorite dish amongst Cantonese cuisine. It is also one of the most traditional home-cooking dishes in Cantonese cuisine. The taste is very gentle like the best of comfort foods. Interestingly, my mother’s recipe calls for a totally non-traditional sounding ingredient – ketchup!

Yes, ketchup! As I mentioned in my post about oatmeal, there is a lot of Western influence on Hong Kongnese cuisine, and even with the ingredients and seasonings we use to prepare a traditional Chinese meal. For example, Knorr’s seasoning, Worchestershire sauce and ketchup is probably found in most kitchens in Hong Kong.

As this is a very common dish in Hong Kong, each household has its own recipe. Some add onion, some don’t. Some peel and remove seeds from the tomatoes first, some don’t. Here’s a modification of my mother’s recipe – onion added for a bit of extra texture.

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 2 tomatoes (peeling and removing seeds are optional steops but deseeding will give a nicer looking end result)
  • 3 eggs (beaten with 1/8 teaspoons of salt)
  • 1/2 onion (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and white pepper to taste


  1. Prepare tomatoes (unpeel and remove seeds if desired). Cut into 6 – 8 wedges.
  2. Beat eggs with salt
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in fry-pan or wok over medium high heat. Pour in egg mixture and stir with chopsticks quickly in a circular motion while moving the fry-pan also in a circular motion in the opposite direction, in order to create a very fluffy, almost cooked omelette (no need to fold over). Remove from fry-pan and put on a plate, and quickly cut (or divide with chopsticks) into bite-sized pieces.
  4. In the same fry-pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. If using onions, add onions first and then tomatoes. Stir-fry only until the ingredients just begin to become soft (we do not want a mushy dish).
  5. Add ketchup and stir-fry a little more. Adjust taste with salt and white pepper.
  6. Return the egg omelette pieces to the fry-pan and stir-fry with the other ingredients just until the ingredients are mixed.
  7. Immediately remove from fry-pan and put onto serving dish.

It is important to ensure that the onion and tomatoes still maintain their texture – hence we have to work quickly once the ingredients are in the fry-pan. Also, the eggs must just be barely cooked to create the fluffiness.

This is a very simple dish but tastes very good over a bowl of jasmine rice – the sweet and tangy sauce is just the perfect accompaniment for rice.


2 thoughts on “Tomato and Egg Stir-fry 番茄炒蛋 (Cantonese home-cooking)

  1. I am from Macau and often in search for authentic, home-made dishes. This sounds wonderful and simple — will definitely give it a try. Thank you!

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