Oyster Omelet (蚵仔煎)

This is my husband’s favorite dish.

The first time I ate oyster, I could not understand, why would a person enjoy eating a soft, mushy, and sea smelling thing? Why would someone consider oyster as priced food? Certainly, eating oysters is an acquired taste.

I was reading about oyster on wikipedia and found out this interesting fact. There is no way of determining male oysters from females by examining their shells. While oysters have separate sexes, they may change sex one or more times during their life span.

Fresh oysters must be alive just before consumption. A simple rule: oysters must be tightly closed; oysters that are already open are dead and must be discarded. To confirm if an open oyster is dead, tap the shell. A live oyster will close and is safe to eat. Dead oysters can also be closed, but will make a distinct noise when tapped.

Enough introduction on oysters. Let me talk about Oyster Omelet, Oh-Ah-Chian 蚵仔煎. In Fujian or Hokkein language, Oh-Ah means oyster. Since this dish originated in Fujian, China, it is also popular in places with Fujian’s influences such as in Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan (where it is often sold in night markets).

In the US, Oyster Omelet can be found in very authentic Taiwanese restaurants. This dish has 4 major ingredients, oyster, powdered sweet potato starch, eggs and greens, topped with a little sweet chili sauce.

When my husband walked through the door tonight, he was immediately filled with excitement because he smelled something familiar. Throughout the dinner, he kept telling me how delicious it was. In the end, with a sigh, he said, I shouldn’t eat this last piece of oyster. I admit that this dish is full of cholesterol from the eggs as well as from the oyster, so I told him that I am not going to make this dish anymore, at least for a long time. He immediately gobbled up the last bite!


The following recipe is adapted from Passionate Eater.

Ingredients:
10 oz jar of refrigerated shucked oysters, drained
1/4 cup powdered sweet potato starch
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce as shown in the photo grid (or substitute 1 tbsp of sriracha mixed with 1 tbsp of ketchup)
3 large eggs, scrambled
1 tbsp of vegetable oil (divided)
1 cup of cooked garland chrysanthemum greens (Dang Oh), stir-fried with 2 cloves of chopped garlic (can substitute mustard greens or spinach for the chrysanthemum greens)

Method:

Combine the sweet potato starch, water, and oysters until thoroughly blended.

Swirl the scrambled egg mixture into the heated pan. Since I use a nonstick pan, I did not add any oil to the pan. Being careful not to break the egg omelet, heat it until it begins to set.

Pour the starch batter with oyster on top of the omelet. Cover with a lid, allow it to cook until it begins to turn translucent. Add the cooked greens. Flip the sweet potato starch pancake and cook until it becomes translucent throughout. The pancake should have a gluey texture, almost like mochi. Now, take the cooked pancake off the heat.

Spread the hot sauce on the surface of the scrambled omelet, and enjoy!

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24 Comments

Filed under Asian Snacks, Malaysian Food, Taiwanese Food

24 responses to “Oyster Omelet (蚵仔煎)

  1. Wah, I love this dish. They don’t have it in my town and the two shops I went to in Penang were closed.

    Those oysters look kind of huge. I recently heard from someone the oh chien in Malaysia is not really oysters but another kind of shellfish.

  2. Was writing about oyster omelet in one of my upcoming posts today, and what a coincidence to find oyster omelet here. Will post soon!
    In S’pore, we call it Orh-Chien or Orh-Luah (depending on Hokkien or Teochew) , I think?

  3. wmw

    Not a fan….I normally just take the omelette bits! 🙂 But your oyster omelette looks different from the usual ones I have eaten.

  4. Jonzz,
    You and my husband have same taste buds. The oysters are from Uwajimaya (local Japanese store).

    Dear Tigerfish,
    Good cooks think alike. I will check out your Orh-Chien or Orh-Luah.

    Dear WMW,
    Indeed, oyster is an acquired taste. For this dish, I started with omelet bits in the beginning, later progressed to oyster. Now, I can even eat raw oyster. My oyster omelet looks a little different from what you are used to. The reason is I did not integrate the omelet and the oyster. My kids do not like oysters.

  5. V

    Your oyster dish looks good with the added greens.

  6. Nice closeup of the dish!
    I’m a picky eater – I’m not big on oysters at all! My father-in-law who’s French, absolutely loves them. He even eats them fresh off the rocks (there are loads where he lives)!

  7. This is called “oh chien” in Hokkien right? The oyster we use here are smaller oysters. I have never tasted big oyster omelet before.

  8. alice

    The oysters are bigger compared to the ones back home. Over here I used to eat those big fresh ones raw with “ponzu” but since the gastroenteritis scare last year, I avoid it now. I like deep fried oyster (coated with breadcrumbs).

  9. I love ‘oh-chien’…..used to cook them a lot in Melbourne. Maybe it’s time for making oh-chien again. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Dear V,
    I agree, the oyster omelet looks good with the added greens. The color green is pleasing to the eyes.

    Dear Wokandspoon,
    Your Father-in-Law is French and he loves oysters, even fresh live ones? I think French are great cooks. There is a local French restaurant that sells delicious mussels.

    Dear Teckiee,
    So, in Malaysia, it is called “Oh Chien” in the Hokkein Language. I did not chop up my oysters. If the Malaysian hawkers’ serve big pieces of oysters, they may not be able to make any profit…

    Dear Alice,
    You made a good point. Not all oysters are safe to eat

    Dear Judy,
    You mentioned, “…used to cook them a lot in Melbourne”. Melbourne must have fresh Oyster, then?

  11. I love oyster omlette too, but haven’t had it in a LOOOONG time. I’m going to have to come over to your house so you can cook for me!

  12. My husband is weird because he won’t eat oyster in any other way except he loves “Oh chien”! Hmm…now you make me crave for it!

  13. yours looks like oyster with eggs not eggs with oysters!

  14. Your oyster looks yummy.
    I have eaten a few variation of simple oyster dish, oyster omelete – egg mix with potato flour and sitr fry with oyster, the other was mee suah top with oyster.

  15. I love oyster omelet!!! I was always wondering what kind of oyster they used. Until I see the pic on your blog. Can’t wait to try my hand on this!

  16. Dear SteamyKitchen,
    If you come over, I can cook Oyster Omelet with two conditions,
    1) My husband cannot be present. His cholesterol is high and he cannot resist the temptation.
    2) You make your delicious coconut frozen yogurt for me, served in a nice bowl.

    Dear Little Corner of Mine,
    Oh Chien was the first dish that helped me appreciate oyster. I hope you can get the necessary ingredients. The two major ingredients that was a challenge for me to obtain was the sweet potato flour and the fresh oyster itself.

    LotsofCravings,
    Good observation. My Oh Chien was filled with plump oysters.

    BigBoysOven,
    Oh-A-Mee-Sua is another one of my husband’s favorite hawker food.

    Dear Mandy,
    Not many Ang Moh (Americans) know Oyster Omelet. You never ceased to amaze me. I have a mental note to go back to your blog to retrieve the answer to my question, “how long can I keep whipping cream for (after it has expired)”.

  17. Dear Lee Ping, yes, Melbourne is a very livable state. Full of fresh seafood, all sorts of Asian groceries and any relatives visiting us from Malaysia would always gloat over all the variety of food available and Asian products that they can’t even get in Malaysia.
    Over here, I have to get frozen oysters to make oh-chien.

  18. Kenny Mah

    I love this dish! Going back to my hometown Malacca this weekend with newly wed Gosia & Manuel, and Nisa. Will take them to the best O Chien place in Malacca… oh, I’m drooling already…

    P.S. My Dad’s Cantonese but my Mom’s Hokkien, which makes me half-Hokkien even though I only speak Cantonese and Mandarin… may explain my love for O Chien… 😉

  19. Dear Judy,
    When I was in Australia, my Mom brought me to different Asian groceries that sells fresh seafood.
    So, where you live, you only get frozen oysters? I don’t know if frozen oysters would taste good in Oh Chien. Let me know.

    Kenny,
    I am half Hokkein as well. My Mom is Hokkein. I only speak fluent Mandarin. I can understand Cantonese and Hokkein but have difficulty speaking the language now because I don’t have the opportunity to speak it here.
    Have a great trip to Malacca with Nisa and the newly wed, Gosia and Manuel.

  20. I’m glad that the recipe worked out for you.

  21. Dear Passionate Eater,
    Thanks again for the recipe and the colorful photo which inspired me to attempt the oyster omelet.

  22. LeeYann

    hi there! i liked oyster omelette too! it is nice!! but i loved baked oyster with cheese more! =)

    and yes! i liked fresh oysters the best! with extra lemon juice and chilli, this is heavenly! hhe..

  23. LeeYann,
    Welcome to my blog.

    You mentioned your favorite in the following order:

    1)Fresh Oysters with extra lemon juice and chili
    2)Baked Oyster with Cheese
    3)Oyster Omelette

    After being married for 14 years, I know my husband’s all time favorite is Oyster Omelette.

    As for me, I can eat any three of the above, provided that it is fresh.

  24. Selina Q

    Oh Wow!!!
    this is awesome!
    i’ve been wondering what oh-ah-chien is and how to make it since i watched Corner with love. but being the “Oh Jiew” kid that i am (parents insist i am) i forgot. LOLS.
    Thanks for the recipe! i cant wait to mess up me mum’s kitchen for this xD.
    Btw, in Oz, we can get fresh oysters. we just have to go to the oyster farms out there. xD

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