Egg Foo Young is a fluffy Chinese egg omelette filled with vegetables and pork or shrimp, smothered in a tasty Chinese Sauce. An easy Chinese recipe that’s quick to make and versatile as you want it to be.
Egg Foo Young – terrific quick dinner idea!
I know most of us think of omelettes as a breakfast thing and no matter how often I endorse it for dinner, I feel like it will never stick.
But trust the Chinese to come up with a way to plant omelettes firmly in the dinner rotation!!
What is Egg Foo Young?
Egg Foo Young is a Chinese omelette – egg mixed with vegetables and usually some type of protein (prawns / shrimp or pork are common) then smothered in a Chinese stir fry sauce. It is believed to have originally been created by Chineses Chefs in America as a way to use up leftovers, so it’s not strictly authentic though there are similar dishes in China.
The fillings vary as much as the name, which is sometimes spelled egg foo yung, egg fu yung or egg foo yong. Kind of like the many spelling variations we see for San Choy Bow (Chinese Lettuce Cups)!
“Egg Foo Young is a recipe invented to use up leftovers. So don’t get too hung up if you don’t have all the vegetables – in fact, you SHOULD use what you have!”
Egg Foo Young appears on Chinese menus in some countries simply as “omelette”. Sometimes they are smaller, like I’ve made them, and sometimes as large as dinner plates!
The Egg Foo Young Formula
Egg Foo Young can be made with almost any vegetables and proteins because it’s a recipe that evolved as a way to use up leftovers. Use:
2 cups of Add Ins for every 6 eggs.
Add Ins being cooked proteins, raw shrimp/prawns, fish, mince/ground meat and vegetables.
Prawn/shrimp and pork are the two most common versions on restaurant menus so I’m sharing both of these today.
Any raw vegetables that are finely chopped enough to cook through in a few minutes in the omelette are ideal here. If using vegetables that will take longer to cook, for example, diced zucchini, then sauté first in a little oil and perhaps garlic for extra flavour, then add to the batter.
How to make Egg Foo Young
To make Egg Foo Young, your Add Ins of choice (pork, shrimp and vegetables) are mixed directly into whisked eggs then cooked just like a normal omelette in a skillet. It’s served with a Chinese brown sauce which is a simple 4 ingredients sauce that takes just a few minutes to make.
Make the Egg Foo Young gravy first: just soy sauce, Oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine) OR Mirin*, sesame oil, cornflour/cornstarch for thickening and pepper. Just combine and simmer to thicken;
Pork or other mince/ground meat option: If making a pork or other ground/mince meat version, mix through soy sauce, sugar and oyster sauce to add flavour. Then drop in dollops of the raw pork straight into the egg mixture. Trust me, it cooks through in the time it takes for the omelette cooks!
Prawn / Shrimp option: If making the shrimp version, just drop the raw shrimp straight into the batter. If you’re shrimp are large, chop them into small pieces;
Add vegetables: Now add whatever vegetables you’re using. In this recipe I use bean sprouts and green onions.
Cooking Egg Foo Young is no different to cooking a normal omelette! Simple ladle the mixture into a skillet and cook.
Serve smothered in the tasty Egg Foo Young gravy!
Is Egg Foo Young authentic Chinese?
Egg Foo Young is a Westernised version of a Chinese dish, much like many Chinese takeout favourites like Chow Mein and Beef and Broccoli. In China, there are stuffed omelettes but it’s not doused in a thick brown gravy like Egg Foo Young, they are usually just drizzled with soy sauce.
Is Egg Foo Young healthy?
Egg Foo Young is one of the healthiest Chinese takeout meals if made at home! While restaurants tend to cook the omelettes in a LOT of oil, when made at home it’s a low fat, high protein, low carb dinner option.
Load it up with extra nutrition by topping it with a handful of extra vegetables like fresh bean sprouts, as pictured.
And before you ask – YES the Egg Foo Young Sauce can be made with Charlie*. 🙂 Directions are in Note 1 of the recipe! – Nagi x
* Charlie is my standby All Purpose Chinese Stir Fry Sauce. Simple to make, lasts for weeks, just add water!
Egg Foo Young
Watch how to make it
In the video, I made a half batch of each pork and prawn/shrimp Egg Foo Young.
Egg Foo Young (Chinese omelette)
Sauce (Note 1 for Charlie option):
- 4 tsp cornflour / corn starch
- 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce , or all purpose (Note 2)
- 2 tsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese Cooking Wine (shaoxing wine) OR Mirin (Note 3)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 cup / 250 ml water
- Dash of white pepper
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups bean sprouts (just eyeball it)
- 4 shallots/green onions , white part only, sliced
- Salt and white pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove , finely chopped
- ONE Filling of Choice, below (Prawn or Pork)
Option 1: For Prawn /Shrimp Egg Foo Young
- 100 – 120g/3.5 – 4 oz chopped raw small prawns/shrimp , peeled and deveined (Note 4)
Option 2: For Pork Egg Foo Young :
- 100 – 120g/3.5 – 4 oz ground/mince pork (or chicken, turkey, beef or veal)
- 1/2 tsp EACH soy sauce and Oyster Sauce
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- Dash of sesame oil
- Sesame seeds, sliced green onion
- Mix cornflour and soy sauce. Then add remaining ingredients.
- Pour into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for 1 minute until sauce thickens to thin syrup consistency. Remove from stove, set aside.
- MICROWAVE option: Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir very well, microwave for another 1 1/2 minutes until thickened. Mix well again.
- Place pork in a bowl, add remaining ingredients. Use fork to mix through.
- Whisk eggs in a bowl.
- Add beansprouts, green onions, pork or prawns, salt and pepper. If using pork, crumble the raw pork in with fingers (see video). Mix through.
- Heat 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil and drizzle of sesame oil in a non stick skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of garlic and quickly saute (10 seconds) and push into centre of skillet.
- Ladle in 1/4 of batter. Use spatular to push edges in to form a round(ish) shape.
- Cook until the underside is light golden (about 1 1/2 minutes) then flip and cook the other side for 1 minute. The raw meat will cook through in this time. Repeat with remaining egg to make 4 omelettes (use 2 pans if you can!).
- Slide omelette onto plate. Pour over sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions, if using.
- Serve with a side of rice and steamed vegetables of choice. Double the sauce if you want enough to pour over the rice and veggies! (Click on Servings to scale recipe up).
* Raw non ground/mince chicken, beef etc, cook first then dice and mix into the egg mixture.
* Raw vegetables – For things like chopped leafy Chinese greens, cabbage, grated carrot, just add them raw into the egg mixture.
* Cooked vegetables – For vegetables like onion, capsicum/bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, sliced mushrooms, chop, grate or slice then cook in a little oil and perhaps garlic before mixing into the egg mixture. Onions – The green onion can be substituted with finely chopped red or white onions, or cooked leeks or brown/yellow onions.
1. CHARLIE* option: mix 3/4 cup water, 1 1/2 tbsp Stir Fry Sauce, 1/2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch. Cook per recipe. * Charlie is my homemade Chinese All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce that lasts for weeks and weeks. Yes I named it. 😜 2. Soy Sauce: Light or all purpose soy sauce (eg Kikkoman) is fine here. Don’t use soy sauce labelled as Dark or sweet soy sauce, or kecap manis. 3. Chinese cooking wine – Mirin is a near perfect sub. Also sub with dry sherry or cooking sake. If you can’t consume alcohol, omit it and use low sodium chicken broth instead of water AND reduce soy sauce to 1 tbsp. 4. Shrimp/prawns: Even precooked will be fine. If using frozen, thaw and pat dry before using. 5. Nutrition per omelette, including all sauce.
Originally published July 2018. Updated with new step photos and writing tidied up. No change to recipe!
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