Five ingredients are all you need to prepare Chinese preserved radish omelette (chai po neng) at home. Use vegetable stock for a vegetarian friendly dish.
Cai po neng (菜脯蛋), or Chinese preserved radish omelette, is one dish that I have enjoyed since childhood. Whenever we have porridge at home for breakfast, my Mom will definitely prepare this for us. A lot of time, we beg her to cook more so we can eat the leftover with rice for lunch and/or dinner. Lucky for me, this recipe only needs 5 ingredients and takes about 15-20 minutes from start to finish, so I can prepare this whenever I crave for this omelette.
What is 菜脯- Chinese preserved radish
The main ingredient for this omelette is the Chinese preserved radish (菜脯). There are two versions, sweet preserved radish, and salted preserved radish. My Mom always buy two kinds and use a 50:50 ratio whenever she prepares this, and that is why I continue sticking to the same ratio to this day. But there is nothing wrong with preparing this omelette with 100% salted preserved radish, or 100% sweet preserved radish. Luckily, in most Chinese/Asian grocery stores that I frequent over the years, the two versions of preserved radish are usually sitting side by side.
How to prepared 菜脯- Chinese preserved radish
Be sure to wash and rinse preserved radish under cold running water until the water runs clear. Also, be sure to pat dry the washed and rinsed preserved radish really dry with a kitchen towel. Since they will be stir-fried in oil, the preserved radish may splatter like crazy if they are not completely dry.
Make fluffy omelette by adding stock
Another trick that gets passed down to me is the addition of stock (chicken/vegetables), or water, to the beaten egg to get a much fluffier omelette. The guide is to add 1 tablespoon of stock/water to every egg. So since the recipe uses 4 eggs, we will add 4 tablespoons (1⁄4 cup) of stock/water. I think stock is better since it adds more savory taste to the omelette, but you can also add water if that’s all you have.
Chai Po Neng - Preserved Radish Omelette
- 50 gram sweet preserved radish (*)
- 50 gram salted preserved radish (*)
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock/water (or chicken stock for non-vegetarian version)
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- Wash and rinse preserved radish under cold running water until water runs clear. Pat dry with kitchen towel and set aside.
- Heat a 10" cast iron pan (or a non-stick pan) over medium heat.
- Add 2 tablespoon oil and sauté garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add preserved radish, stir fry for 2 minutes. Then spread into an even layer.
- Whisk together eggs, stock/water, and scallions. Pour into the pan over the radish. Cook until the egg is fully set.
- Remove omelette from pan and cut into 4-8 pieces. Serve immediately.
- (*) You can also simply use 100 gram of salted preserved radish, or 100 gram of sweet preserved radish. I simply prefer a 50:50 mixture of both kind of preserved radish.