My mother didn't make chai poh omelette (菜脯卵) very often, because chai poh wasn't a regular item in her pantry. So, I can't say I have a fabulous recipe which was passed on from my mother, and which I will pass on to my daughter. This is a recipe I came up with for friends who think that chai poh omelette is de rigueur when they come to my place for Teochew porridge.
My recipe combines the elements that I like in a French omelette – fluffy, creamy and not too oily – and a Chinese omelette – fragrant and aromatic because it's fried till golden brown, unlike its anemic French counterpart.
To make the omelette I like, I add one tablespoon of milk to each egg. The milk makes the omelette very forgiving, allowing it to be well browned whilst keeping the texture creamy and fluffy with minimal oil. The omelette must be fairly thick so that it doesn't dry out, and the heat mustn't be excessive. I start with high heat, reducing to medium, then low, as the omelette cooks. To keep the saltiness in check, I rinse the chai poh mince three times and add some sugar. Lastly, a little bit of garlic is always good.
Anything else . . . ? Oh yes, I use an 18-cm frying pan. Fried in a wok, the edge of the omelette is thinner than the middle. A pan, however, makes an omelette with even thickness that cooks evenly.
To me, a fluffy chai poh omelette with a bowl of steaming porridge is one of the greatest pleasures of life. I'd sooner give up all the shark's fin and abalones in the world than chai poh omelette! Am I mad?
15 September 2011 Update
You must watch this Mandarin video even if you don't understand Mandarin: