Grandma’s staple dishes

Stir-fried tomatoes and eggs: a classic Chinese dish no matter where in China you are, or no matter what Chinese household you are in. It’s a simple dish that requires just tomatoes, eggs, salt, pepper, oil, and maybe some scallions or fresh garlic if you’re feeling fancy, but at its core, it’s a simple, humble, easy dish that sings with the right amount of salt and pepper to season it. When I was growing up, my grandma did a lot of cooking, both simple and complex, and tomatoes and eggs or tomatoes with beef stir fried were always one of our simplest but favorite dishes. A lot of people would never guess this was a classic Chinese dish, but ask anyone who grew up in a Chinese household with Chinese home cooking, and this is considered simple comfort food.

When I moved out and started living on my own after college, many nights I’d come home from work with few things ready to eat, so I’d quickly stir fry some tomatoes and eggs, toss them over rice, and call it my dinner. Fast food wasn’t much of a thing unless it was a treat at my house growing up, and so we always valued home cooking above all else — not just because it’s relatively inexpensive, but it’s frankly just healthier.

It’s not a sexy dish. It’s also not a dish who someone who is not Chinese would normally get excited about. But for me, it’s comfort food in all its simplicity, and it reminds me of all the fond memories I have of my grandma cooking and preparing nutritious food for me and my brother.

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