The name of this dish, after all, is “Shampoo Eggs” in Chinese (). One story is that next to the docks there lived a number of Tank– i.e. ‘boat people’, people that lived on junks off the coast in Guangdong and Fujian (sometimes derisively referred to as “sea gypsies” by the Brits).
Apparently, back in the day, one common street snack around the docks was the Tank’s legendary fried eggs. They’d heat up lard until very hot, pour it in a large porcelain pot, quickly deep-fry some thoroughly whisked eggs, and let it drain.
And while nowadays people don’t necessarily follow the same method, the story goes that the dish adapted and the name of the original street snack lives on. According to JU Bilbao’s, the person who cooked Shampoo Eggs in the military school was a Tank named ‘Auntie An’.
She lived on a boat the Pearl River, and was known as a very good cook. Years later, in 1936 Chiang Kaiser returned to Guangzhou and revisited the old site of the Shampoo Military Academy.
He remembered Auntie An, and pined with emotion: “I wonder if we can find her, so that we can have one more taste of that Shampoo Egg from a decade back.” Chiang’s staff hurriedly searched around for her, and ended up finding Auntie An working in the field. Chiang was very happy to see Auntie An, took her into his house as an honored guest, and asked her how she’d been doing.
She still replied with a sense of dignity: “Life is still normal, and I'm still cooking on the boat.” Hearing that Chiang wanted to eat Shampoo eggs, she immediately went into the kitchen and made one for him.
Shrimp is a super common addition, ditto with beef. So below, I’ll also show how to add some very basic add-ins, in the form of Char Six BBQ pork and Chinese yellow chives.
Sometimes I like adding some smoked Sichuan-style Large (“Chinese Bacon”) in order to kind of mimic that American Breakfast taste. Quick note that more traditional than the 1 tsp toasted sesame oil would be to add melted lard in the mix.
You can definitely do that too, but I personally find it slightly redundant in the amount of lard I'm frying in. I also tested this with bacon grease, which is delicious, but definitely gives everything an 'American breakfast' flavor.
We’ll mix those back together later, so the question naturally follows of what the point of the exercise is. I find that the mixture tends to stay ‘bubbly’ longer if I separate the whites from the yolks.
I also have a hypothesis that, in a restaurant context, it might be useful because a head chef’d be able to put someone else on the job and quickly see if the eggs are beaten enough. For the above add-ins, that meant (1) toasting the Chinese yellow chives in a dry wok over a medium flame for ~2 minutes until fragrant and slightly wilted and (2) frying the Char Six BBQ pork for ~1 minute with a touch of peanut oil.
Let it heat up a touch, ~30 seconds or so or until you can see little bubbles forming around a pair of chopsticks when you put it in the lard (this equates to ~180C). Now with a spatula scoop the cooked bits and lay them up to the side over your egg like this.
This is the less cooked portion combining with the lard and forming a sort of ‘sauce’. Heat it up over a high flame til melted and bubbles form around a pair of chopsticks.
This produced an egg that’s very similar to the wok version but a bit more spread out. To mimic the vertically then, you can sort of ‘cut’ the egg in half with your spatula, and lay one side over the other.
Note on different types of Shampoo fried eggs: And I should also note that the heat control method that I employed there (i.e. on/off the flame) is very… non-standard.
It gives the correct end result, I feel, but if it’s a bit different from how your Cantonese mum or chef friend does it… know that I’m the weird one. If you have a cast iron wok, you definitely don’t need to do the finicky on/off the flame bit that I did.
This is basically the Chinese equivalent of ‘stiff peaks’, and is employed in a handful of dishes. There could definitely be something we’re missing there, but because we’ve only seen that ‘chopstick story’ online and not in any of our books, we’re tentatively willing to write that one off as a potentially confused rumor.
Would your life be drastically improved if you owned a single pan that's versatile enough to be used for sunny-side-up eggs in the morning, fried chicken for lunch, beef stew for dinner, and a baked apple crisp for dessert? While the oldest-known cast-iron artifacts (tools, specifically) date all the way back to ancient China, the concept of cooking with cast iron emerged in the 18th century Europe, when pieces of the iron alloy were melted down and poured into sand molds for cauldrons and pots.
(Some skillets come “preseasoned” with a factory coating, meaning you can use them right out of the box, as opposed to “raw” cast iron that needs to have oil heat-bonded to its surface before you start cooking with it.) And since the goal is to preserve that patina, washing cast iron calls for very little soap, if any, and minimal scrubbing.
Personally speaking, I enjoy working with the cast iron skillet I ordered off Amazon a few years ago because it's arguably the most forgiving kitchen tool I own. Plenty of manufacturers have thrown their metaphorical hats into the ring throughout cast iron cookware's centuries-long history, although many would argue that a brand name is irrelevant for what's basically just a hunk of metal.
With that in mind, we figured that if anyone knows which skillets are worth buying and maintaining, it's the people who are so passionate about them that they wax poetic on forums. Note: All prices listed are for a medium-sized skillet measuring 10.25 inches across its upper rim (or as close to that number than possible), which can hold about two steaks or four eggs.
Unlike most cast-iron pans made nowadays, which typically aren't polished and have slightly rough, pebbled surfaces that need breaking in, these fancy, satin-smooth skillets won't even stick to fried eggs right out of the box. 8 is renowned for its effortless maneuverability, weighing just 4.5 pounds and sporting an ergonomic handle that offers a comfortable one-handed grip.
If you're going to go the enameled route, most of Reddit recommends picking up one of Le Crest's French-made Signature Skillets : they're dishwasher-safe, their wide loop handles are easy to grip, they're covered by a lifetime warranty, they come in more than a dozen fun colors, and their matte black interior enamel has been specially formulated to withstand relatively high temperatures. R/cast iron commenter cognomen owns one of Le Crest's enameled cast iron skillets, and they use it “for almost everything”: “It's definitely the most used item in my kitchen.
If you took Lodge's everyday cast iron skillet (above) and made its sides just a couple inches higher, you'd get Lodge's Cast Iron Deep Skillet, an incredibly versatile piece of cookware that upholds the brand's reputation for value and durability. It's true: At five quarts, there's enough room in this puppy for baking and deep-frying on top of all the usual things one does in a cast iron pan.
As with all cast iron cookware that bears Lodge's branding, this deep skillet's main drawback is the fact that it's not covered by a written warranty. Easy-grip handle • Easy to drain grease Not covered by a formal/written warranty • Difficult to clean and preseason You'll probably only use it for special occasions.
A versatile, no-frills, extra-tough pan that can hold up to an open flame and withstand some scrubbing to remove the resulting soot makes a much better trail buddy when you're roughing it in the woods. Editor MusaEnsete spoke very highly of the Lodge Combo Cooker in an r/cast iron thread: “That's my favorite piece of cookware.
The biggest difference between the two materials is their ability to retain heat: Since there's less mass in a thin, light carbon steel skillet, it doesn't do as good a job with long-cooked foods. As far as brands go, Reddit speaks highly of Matter Bourges, a family-owned French manufacturer that's been in the culinary biz for over 200 years.