tomato and scallion scramble

tomato and scallion scramble

One of my favorite things to do with food is see the similarities in flavor, ingredients, and style across borders.  Something about food and how it is either transformed by the culture or how it affects culture is really intriguing to me.  It brings me back to the days that I would read the Encyclopedia Britannica as a kid.  I would look at everything, the graphs, the pictures, and the entries.  It was a hunger for knowledge and I had all the letters of the alphabet to read and learn from.  Well, actually, I think I was missing the letter M or something.  I was using it as a way to reach a comfortable eating height at the dinner table when I was in elementary school and may have misplaced it when I was putting it away.  It’s my parents’ fault for letting me have a very expensive booster seat.  So, this hunger slowly transferred into my eating and experience with food.  I found joy in seeing how curries where different based on region, why Spam was made popular in countries that the US had a strong military presence, and how migration affected the cultural cuisine of Peru to include Chinese flavors.  You know, stuff normal people notice while eating.

Growing up there was this one dish that I always had.  All my aunts knew it was my favorite and I was sure to see it at the table whenever I went to visit them.  My mom made it probably weekly when growing up, and I always expected it make an appearance when I came home from college.  It’s a scramble that only has four ingredients: tomato, egg, salt and scallions.    It’s a traditional Taiwanese dish that would be included in dinner or lunch and I would always mix with my rice.  I remember when my family would sit down to dinner, my Brother, Mom, and Dad would quickly grab as much of the egg dish in the beginning of the meal out of fear that I would eat it all by myself.  Which was usually true.

When I got older and was visiting my brother in New York a couple of years ago, he took me to this Latino diner in Jackson Heights.  He ordered for me, because I was dumb enough to take four years of German instead of Spanish, and got me my favorite dish for breakfast.  It was exactly like the tomato and scallion scramble except they used onions and added jalapeño.  It was served with rice and black beans and was delicious.  Topped with some salsa verde and it became a gastronomical breakfast masterpiece.  I think I was most excited, second to just enjoying some delicious food, that it was so similar to the dish I grew up on.  There I was – sitting in a corner restaurant, hearing the 7 train above me, and enjoying a meal that I normally had at dinnertime.  It brought me a sense of comfort and new adventures at the same time.  That is why I love food so much.  It not only provides that emotion that I can only describe as the moment Anton Ego felt when he ate the ratatouille dish in Pixar’s Ratatouille and a sense of new explorations.

This dish is quick so prepare everything before you start.  Don’t cook the scallions too long or they will burn and don’t stir the eggs too much or they will turn into a messy clump.  Be patient but quick at the same time.  Like a Jedi Master.

By the way, the Encyclopedia story – the only articles that I remember now after my constant reading through the whole set when I was young is the article on the varieties of pig and cows.  Yeah, I loved food then too.


2 medium tomatoes cut in wedges

4 eggs, scrambled

1/4 cup scallion, minced

1tsp salt

1 tbs canola/vegetable oil


sauté scallions in oil on high until fragrant

add tomato and salt to pan and turn heat to medium and stir until tomatoes break down

pour eggs in pan and slowly stir to scramble eggs

season to taste

-serves 4 as side dish-


3 Responses to “tomato and scallion scramble”

  1. 1 tsuya
    January 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    thanks for posting this one, scott! i ate this all the time when i was living in china, it was a definite staple. i remember it being slightly on the sweet side, with most places adding sugar to it.

    • 2 scott
      January 14, 2010 at 11:11 pm

      tsuya: yeah, I noticed that when seeing other people’s version. There is some sweetness in the tomato, so sugar may not always be necessary. It depends on the ripeness and freshness of the tomatoes. But, it is all based on the flavors we grow up with right?

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