$5 Friday: Chinese tomato and egg stirfry

Chinese homestyle cooking is very different from restaurant food.  What people eat in their homes, what is cooked with love to be enjoyed around a shared table, is more humble than the elaborate chef prepared dishes.  Yet somehow more delicious. And it often contains a lot less oil and MSG as well.

A plate of Chinese stir-fried tomato and egg

Not that all restaurant Chinese food contains MSG.  But homestyle is just, well, different.

And one of the best homestyle Chinese meals that I like to eat in summer and autumn is stir-fried tomato and egg.

Yes, tomato and egg.  It might seem odd at first, but it is really quite a staple. And it tastes uniquely Chinese, despite the ingredients that many people in Australia would be familiar with.  You can add other ingredients such as cucumber to this stir-fry, but I like to keep it simple.  Well … I do often embellish it with Thai or even Genovese basil.  This is not at all traditional, but I find that the flavours marry well.

For a Chinese family meal, this would be one of several meals. But as it is cheap, quick and easy to prepare it often features strongly in many families repertoire.  Try it and you will see why.


3 medium to large sized tomatoes
3-4 eggs, beaten
salt, pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar (generous)
A few stems of spring onions
Basil, to serve (optional)


  1. Peel the tomatoes, chop and set aside.  (To peel the tomatoes, make a criss-cross with a knife on the top of each tomato.  Plunge into boiling water. I cheat a bit and pour over boiling water from a kettle.  After around a minute or so, remove the tomatoes and peel the skin off.)
  2. Chop the spring onions and set aside.
  3. Break the eggs into a bowl, add some salt and pepper and beat well.
  4. Heat the wok until hot.  Don’t hurry the process of waiting for the wok to be ready.  Add around 1 dessertspoon or 1 tablespoon of oil (I use rice bran oil), swirl around and immediately add the beaten eggs.  Stir fry until they are just cooked, and remove to a plate or bowl.

    Tomatoes and egg in a wok
    Adding the egg to the stir-fried tomatoes
  5. Clean the wok, and return to the heat.  Heat it again, add some oil then add in a few spring onions.  Cook briefly, then add the tomatoes.  Sprinkle over the sugar.  Cook for a minute or so until they become soft and a bit less syrupy.  Add the eggs back in and continue cooking until the tomatoes are almost cooked and most of the juices have evaporated.

    Tomato and egg combined in a work
    Nearly ready – cooking the tomato and egg together
  6. Spoon onto a plate and garnish with more spring onions and/or basil.  Serve immediately over hot rice.
A bowl of stir-fried tomato and egg
Enjoying tomato and egg with rice

Ingredients (based on ALDI):

Tomatoes $1
Eggs, 90c
Oil, 20c
Seasonings, 10c
Shallots and basil, homegrown (or 20c for garlic)

Total: $2.20, or $2.40 with garlic

By the way, do you like my Chinese crockery?  This is Taiwanese Ta-tung, aka the same company that makes electric cookers. I bought it from a garage sale and quite like it.


    1. It can … I find that even home cooked Chinese food uses more oil than I am comfortable with, but it is usually better quality than in restaurants and still less. Oil is expensive and so a luxury – it might have changed a bit, but when I lived in China the expensive restaurants all served oily food but the cheap local places were much less oily.

  1. I have totally sucked at cooking Chinese food at home, but this looks so amazing. I know that my son would love it too! Definitely saving this recipe, hopefully my not so green thumb at Chinese food will leave for just one dish! 😛

  2. Sounds like a lovely dish! The stir-fried eggs and tomatoes have such gorgeous, vibrant colors. My family would love this!

  3. All the yes, eggs are one of my all time favourite ingredients, could seriously eat them at every meal, guess thats the great thing about this feed, I can actually legit do that. 🙂 Yum!

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