A Bit of Omelet History
Although the French coined the term omelette in the sixteenth century, various incarnations of egg “pancakes” filled with meat or vegetables and seasonings have existed since ancient times. Furthermore, the dish ancient Persians feasted upon probably bore more resemblance to Egg Foo Yung (and Italian frittatas for that matter) than the classic French omelette, with its moist interior and modest amount of filling. Ancient Persian omelets were probably similar to modern-dayKookoo , made by mixing up “a generous amount of chopped herbs into beaten eggs, frying it in a round pan until it is firm and then (usually) cutting it into wedges for serving” (Source: The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson, 1999, p. 553).
Egg Foo Yung OriginsWhile Egg Foo Yung is a staple at Chinese-American restaurants, its inspiration comes from an authentic Chinese dish. Fu Yung Egg Slices is an elaborate Shanghai recipe made with beaten egg whites and minced ham, possibly named for the lotus flower. A northern Chinese version replaces the ham with minced chicken breast. From these dishes came the Egg Foo Yung many of us remember enjoying in Chinese-American restaurants throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s - a deep-fried pancake filled with eggs, vegetables and meat or seafood. Today, homemade Egg Foo Yung is normally pan-fried instead.
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