One of my family's favorite breakfast dishes, this recipe is quick to prepare and can be eaten with every meal. It melds the tangy earthiness of Chinese chives with the softness and fluffy texture of scrambled eggs. Chinese chives are recommended for this recipe, since they are larger and more flavorful. They are also hardier, making them better suited to the high heat of Chinese cooking. Chinese chives are available at almost all major Asian markets. Western chives may be substituted, although they are more expensive and prone to burning when stir-fried.
1 large wok or stainless steel skillet (A wok is recommended.)
1 stainless steel Chinese ladle or spatula (Your preference.)
2 lbs of Chinese chives
3 tbsp of vegetable oil (I prefer rice bran oil.)
5 large chicken eggs (I like organic, but that's a rant for a different article.)
1 tsp of kosher salt (You can add more to suit your taste, but that's the amount I usually use.)
1/2 tsp of ground black pepper (You can add more to suit your taste, but that's the amount I usually use.)
1/2 tbsp of nam pla (This is my own distinct touch. I like the subtle sweetness and robust flavor it adds to the dish. Use your favorite brand. If fish sauce isn't your thing, substitute another 1/2 tsp of kosher salt in its place.)
Thoroughly wash the chives in cold, lightly salted water. I always lightly salt the water when washing greens. A number of the harmful the bacteria and other organisms found on greens are destroyed by contact with salt molecules. Make sure that no dirt or grit remains on the plants. Drain the plants and pat them dry with some paper towels. Trim off the ends (where the chives were cut when harvested) and chop them into one inch long segments. Place in a large bowl or plate with a few paper towels on the bottom to sop up any excess moisture. Set aside.
Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl with the salt, pepper, and nam pla until the yolks are only partially incorporated with the whites. Do not fully incorporate the whites and the yolks or you'll lost structural integrity and the eggs will burn more easily. Set aside.
Heat your wok on high heat for several minutes. You want the metal as hot as your stove can make it. I wouldn't recommend anything with plastic handles or a Teflon coat for this style of cooking. Add 1 tbsp of oil and use the ladle to spread it around the bottom of your wok.
Once the oil starts smoking, add the chopped chives. stir the chives around in the wok using your ladle until each piece is coated with oil and the color has deepened to a rich, vibrant green. This should only take a few minutes. You want the chives to soften slightly but not become limp, since we'll be cooking them again with the eggs. Remove the chives and set aside.
Wipe your wok clean with a paper towel. Use chopstick, the ladle, or a pair of tongs to hold and move the towel. Be safe. We want stir-fried eggs, not stir-fried you in this dish.
Reheat the wok on high heat for several more minutes. Once again, you want the metal as hot as your stove can make it. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and use your ladle to thoroughly coat the inside of the wok with the oil. If your wok is both well-oiled and very hot, the eggs will not stick to it.
Add the egg mixture to the wok. Give it a roughly ten to fifteen seconds to set a little before using the ladle to pull the edges of the egg mixture away from the wok and stirring once. You want to let more of the egg mixture come in direct contact with the hot metal. Give it ten to fifteen more seconds to set, then stir again once. Repeat the process until the majority of the mixture has become semi-set. Do not stir the egg too quickly or too much or it will break apart into small curds and become egg mush. You want to give it a little time to set and cook between stirs. This way you'll get a fluffy texture.
Once the egg mixture is semi-firm, add the cooked chives back into the wok. Toss the chives and eggs a few times using the ladle to mix. Now you can stir a little more quickly. A five second set period is all that's needed between stirs. Cook for thirty more seconds in the wok to reheat the chives, then plate. Wait five minutes before serving. Don't worry if the eggs are still a little runny when you plate. The carryover heat will help them firm up during the five minute wait before serving.