Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Hunan Province – Part Two - Dehang and Egg and Tomatoes

Not a lot happens in Dehang, and I think nothing should. The locals live a very simple life. It’s mostly an agricultural area with everything from rice to pumpkin are grown in the surrounding terraced fields that surround the village.
The tourists who visit rarely stay longer than it takes then to wander around this small village and to do some of the walks that this area is famed for.
The centre of the village is used for drying the rice as it is cut in the fields around. At night after the tourists have gone, some of the locals come out onto the streets and well do nothing. An odd mah-jong table gets set up and a few people play with some others standing around watching. But generally nothing happens.

This is one of the most peaceful minority villages we have ever been to.
The countryside around the town is where it’s at. There are several walks to some beautiful scenic spots and they are really beautiful.
Strolling through the rice fields, watching the young and old toiling together cutting the rice plants and thrashing them to get the rice kernels out so the old can put them out to dry on mats in the village center.

The walks are anything from an hour upwards depending on which one you do. They are all easy, unless you are amazingly unfit and suffer a lot under the scorching midday sun.
The food in Dehang was not brilliant, in fact it was pretty average, but our landlady (who only seemed to cook for us and watch TV all day) cooked the best egg and tomato I’ve ever had.

I’ve no idea what she did, as the dining room was out back overlooking the river, whilst the wok was at the front on the street, so we never got to see how she made it. But it was bloody brilliant. So good in fact that it was one of the highlights of this trip to China.
We had it for breakfast almost everyday in China there afterwards. Some were good, some were average. None were bad, and not one was as good as the one made by our landlady in Dehang.
This dish I first had a very long time ago in Chengyang cooked for us by a couple of fellow travellers we met from Guangzhou.
We were both staying at the same hostel overlooking the famous Wind and Rain bridge, but they were less than impressed with the cooking of the hostel, that they ended up cooking all their own meals and ours as well in the end.
This dish they cooked lovingly and with great care, making sure not to over whisk the eggs and making sure the tomatoes were of a certain size and cooked to the right tenderness.
I thought at the time as I was watching them take so much care and effort over such a simple dish did kinda baffle me, but now many years later, yeah they were right.
This dish is quick simple and I have it now at least once a week. It’s best served with leftover rice to soak up that lovely sauce.
It’s the simplest recipe ever. All you need is some tomatoes, eggs and some seasoning to get yourself going. From then onwards you can add whatever you like to it, I prefer a tad of Shaoxing rice wine just to give it a little bit more flavour.
Here are a few links to some other people’s recipes and thoughts on this simple but very very tasty dish. Tamarind and Thyme, Rasa Malaysia, Wandering Chopsticks, Appetite for China and Mijo Recipes. You can also watch the video below or go to the youtube page here
However you cook your tomato and eggs i hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you do have a particular favourite way of cooking them, please let me know.


Nava.K said...

I quite like the simple egg and tomatoes dish and its perfect to go with white rice. Though I have not travelled to China before, I am hoping to visit Beijing some time. However my hubby has travelled very widely to China, I think about 7 trips so far and he has shared on the amount of walking, esp to the hills.

Mzungu said...

Nava K - If you ever get the chance to visit China then jump at it. It's a fascinating and diverse country

Kay @ Chopstix2Steaknives said...

This is one of my favourite dishes...I really should start cooking it in the kitchen too. =)
Happy New Year!

Mzungu said...

Kay - It's amazing that for all those years I never thought about cooking it at home. Now I cannot stop.