The rain clouds crept up suddenly and dumped their buckets of sad water on the city and bad news on my head. Walking to the bus was a drag without an umbrella and without a hand to hold. My only thoughts involved getting to my apartment to eat and catching my flight to Los Angeles to be with my family. As difficult as the visit home will be in light of recent news-dumps, I’m going to take this week as an opportunity to write about my comfort foods, many of which are Korean dishes and my mother’s original recipes.
I was starving when I got to my apartment and was in a sleepy stumble to sort clothes, pack, clean my room, and eat. Those were the goals, and I scrambled through the chores but chose to slow down for the last task. There seemed to be nothing inspiring in the fridge– that was until I saw a half onion, the nearly full egg carton, and the pounds of tomatoes sitting in the veggie drawer.
This is technically one of my good friend’s comfort foods, but when we lived together and it was her turn to cook for the apartment, the other girls and I rubbed our tummies and sighed happily when fed tomato and eggs. Tomato and eggs meant sitting around the dinner table in our apartment, and after eating silently with focus and resolve, gossiping, laughing and poking fun at each other. Tomato and eggs is a very simple scramble with soupy tomatoes and Chinese flavors, and when served over rice, that bowl, hot from the stovetop and warm with happy shades of red and yellow, was all that mattered. It was food to be savored and to go back for seconds and thirds, but the best thing is that it is dangerously simple and easy to make.
Despite that fact, I had never attempted to make them for fear of falling short and ending up feeling unsatisfied and sadly nostalgic. I had the courage to try that day, and although I was right in that it didn’t turn out quite like my friend’s version, I was content. The tomatoes were soft but not as soupy, the eggs flavorful, and a pinch of red pepper flakes provided an exciting kick.
So here is my take on this wonderful comfort food.
Tomato and Eggs
A bit of vegetable oil
half of a small onion, chopped
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
A dash of salt
2 tomato, chopped
A pinch of sugar
3-4 tablespoons of chicken broth
Short grain rice for serving
Add the oil to the pan on medium heat. When the pan is hot, ad
d the chopped onion and red pepper flakes and sauté until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, add the Chinese rice wine, sesame oil and salt to the eggs and beat them. Add the eggs to the onions and stir to make the scramble. When the eggs are cooked, remove them from the pan onto a plate. Add the chopped tomato followed by the chicken broth and sugar. Stir occasionally until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs back to the pan and mix everything together for a minute. Serve over sticky Asian rice, and enjoy.