Western-style scrambled eggs come in a variety of textures, from firm and fluffy to soft and creamy to moist and sauce-like, depending on how they are prepared. Recently, I’ve come to learn that wok-cooked egg dishes are, if anything, even more varied than their Western counterparts.

Eggs are often used to make dishes like Slippery Egg with Beef, which features strips of stir-fried beef served in a sauce that resembles a cross between a soup and a custard and is bound with ribbons of silky poached egg. This is an example of eggs in their softest, most extreme form. On the other side of the scale are browned, puffy scrambled egg dishes like the traditional egg foo young or the deep-fried Thai omelet khai jiao.

I haven’t seen a dish like this one in other cookbooks, but I have occasionally seen it on menus under different names.


How to Cantonese Slippery Eggs with Tofu and Peas

My version has simply organically developed over time, modified from my experiences creating other, comparable dishes that use eggs suspended in thickened broth, such as shrimp with lobster sauce, as there are no existing recipes to draw inspiration from.

To begin the dish, I quickly stir-fry ginger, scallions, and garlic in a hot wok to bring out their flavors. I then immediately add Shaoxing wine (white wine would also work) and stock to the pan (store-bought chicken stock is good, but I also really enjoy making this dish with dashi). The chicken stock and frozen peas are added together. You might be able to tell how quick this recipe is by the fact that I never cook frozen peas for more than a few minutes. I add a fairly large amount of cornstarch slurry and cubes of silken tofu after adding the liquid and peas. The objective is to make the sauce nearly custard-like and thick enough to coat a spoon, not just slightly thicken it.

Instead of vigorously churning or shaking, aim for a smooth folding motion with a wide spatula (wood is preferable over sharp-edged metal). This ensures that you do not break the tender tofu.

After the stock has simmered and I’ve added salt and pepper to taste, I trickle in the eggs that have been beaten with a little more cornstarch slurry (the starch prevents the egg proteins from adhering, making the scrambled curds more soft).

Just before serving, I like to season the food with extra salt, white pepper, and MSG, although you are of course free to eliminate any of the seasonings if you like. The eggs and tofu can be served over a bed of rice to sop up extra sauce, or you can eat them straight from the bowl with a garnish of cilantro, scallions, and (if you want) chili oil.




  • 3 tablespoons (28g) cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, dashi, or water, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • Ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut, rice bran, or other neutral oil, plus more for greasing wok
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 scallions, chopped, greens reserved separately
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, dry sherry, or sake
  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas (optional)
  • One block firm silken tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (see note)
  • Salt, to taste
  • White pepper, to taste
  • MSG, to taste (optional)
  • Small handful roughly chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  • Steamed rice, for serving



  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup (60ml) of the stock to dissolve the starch. Set aside the remaining stock.
  2. Mix the eggs, 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch slurry, a dash of salt, and some white pepper in a medium bowl.
  3. Rub a thin layer of oil into a wok with a paper towel and heat it over high heat until smoking. Swirl in the 1 tablespoon oil to coat. Allow the ginger to sizzle for 10 seconds. Stir in the scallion whites and garlic for about 15 seconds, or until fragrant.
  4. Cook for a few seconds, swirling the wine as it sizzles, before adding the reserved chicken stock and peas. To redistribute the cornstarch slurry, stir it into the stock. To avoid breaking the tofu, stir it in gently. Bring to a simmer, stirring gently, then reduce to a low heat and cook for 45 seconds, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt, pepper, and MSG to taste (if using).
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce and, being careful not to break the tofu pieces, stir it very slowly for about 30 seconds, or until the eggs form soft ribbons. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and the reserved scallion greens (if using). Serve the mixture right away after dividing it evenly among bowls of steamed rice.

By Elijah Hughes

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