A brand new, and super delicious, way to look at tofu
Throughout my series, and thanks to my channel, I’ve been lucky enough to experience tons of dramatic, complicated, yet show-stopping dishes. However, every so often I get to discover a dish that is oh, so perfectly simple. Jia Chang Cai is definitely one of those dishes.
In one of my recent series, I’ve been working to learn how people from around the world cook with tomatoes. That’s exactly how I learned about Jia Chang Cai, which is a Chinese tomato and egg stir-fry. It was Vivian, who currently lives in Boston in the United States, who shared this dish as part of the series. Vivian left China almost 13 years ago, but for her Jia Chang Cai symbolizes the home cooking from her childhood. And she’s not alone.
According to Vivian, Jia Chang Cai is an incredibly common dish throughout China, especially for home cooked meals. The only catch is that no two Jia Chang Cais are exactly the same. Different Chinese regions have different versions and different families, of course, have different preferences. For Vivian, the flavors and textures of Jia Chang Cai even varied within her family, depending on which family member was cooking that night.
At its core, Jia Chang Cia is just a tomato and egg stir-fry. A few eggs are scrambled and placed to the side before work begins on the rest of the stir-fry. At least for Vivian’s version, diced tomatoes are sauteed together with some garlic, sesame oil, tomato paste, and a bit of sugar until things start to get saucy. At the very end, you’ll add the eggs back into the tomato mixture and top with some bright green onions. It really couldn’t be simpler.
Even though it’s simple, Jia Chang Cai manages to be a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and umami. Plus, Vivian points out that this stir-fry is incredibly versatile. You can spoon it over some rice or noodles or add in additional ingredients like tofu or mushrooms. It’s your Jia Chang Cai – you’re free to create your own specific variation. So even though this may be Chinese comfort food, I think almost anyone could find this dish comfortingly familiar.
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