Why just a little different matters.   Recently updated !

Egg fu yung is an american chinese takeout dish made with eggs, bitter greens and mushrooms.
Photography by Juliet Glass of the Maryland Farmers Market Association

Last Saturday at the 32nd Street Farmers Market in Baltimore I made a recipe that was just a little different. It was a pan of egg fu yung, that American Chinese takeout favorite (said no-one ever), an omelette made with mushrooms and bean sprouts that we all like better when made with potatoes and called Spanish tortilla de patatas, but I digress.

MAitake and Lions Mane mushrooms for american chinese takeout egg fu yung
Photography by Juliet Glass for the Maryland Farmers Market Association

I’ve made egg fu yung at markets many times before, filled with whatever fresh, seasonal ingredients are readily available. The recipe in my Seasons to Taste cookbook calls for Shitake mushrooms and cabbage. This past weekend, however, I made it with lots of Lacinato kale and a mix of Maitake and Lion’s Mane mushrooms. The gravy, a mix of soy sauce, rice vinegar, chicken stock and cornstarch was made richer and more complex with dark soy sauce. None of this was a deep departure from the original, but those small differences matter.

Lacinato kale bitter greens for american chinese takeout egg fu yung at the farmers market
Photography by Juliet Glass for the Maryland Farmers Market Association

See, it got me thinking about whether this was a new recipe or just a variation and I realized that the question itself represented an important way of thinking about how we cook. 20 years ago I would have unflinchingly called it a new recipe in the same way that lobster mac and cheese is clearly different and deserving of its own post or page in a book from traditional mac and cheese.

Today, however, egg fu yung feels more like a formula for mushrooms, greens with some substance and meat if you really want it, folded into lightly beaten eggs seasoned with toasted sesame oil, salt and white pepper and cooked in a pan with a savory, brown gravy over the top. The ingredients can be as chimeric as the seasonal offerings of the farm market and, just like every trip to the market, always delicious.

Whether variation or recipe, here it is. Fresh and delicious, Creamy and textured, pairing rich eggs, bitter greens and plenty of funky umami from mushrooms and soy sauce. Whatever you make it with may it fill your plate with farm-fresh joy.

Kale and Mushroom Egg Fu Yung

Serves 6-8

A French omelet folds filling into cooked eggs. A frittata pours egg over ingredients that have been cooked in a skillet. Egg fu yung, like Spanish tortilla, mixes together the filling and the egg and pours it all into a skillet to cook.

farm market samples of kale and mushroom egg fu yung
Photography by Juliet Glass for the Maryland Farmers Market Association

For Sauce:

  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • 3 tbs dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbs Apple Cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1  1/2 cups vegetable stock

For Omelet:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 4 tbs peanut or vegetable oil
  • 4-6 cups kale, thinly sliced (make it as green-filled as you would like!)
  • 1 1/2 cups Maitake and Lion’s Mane mushrooms, sliced thin – if you can’t find these use Shitakes and Criminis
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


  • Mix together sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer until thickened. Keep warm.
  • Whisk together eggs and sesame oil in a large bowl.
  • On med heat, warm 1 tbs peanut oil in a 12” skillet. Sauté kale until wilted but not mush. Add to egg mixture.
  • Return skillet to heat, add 1 tbs peanut oil and Shitake mushrooms, sauté until softened and browning on edges. Add garlic and cook for 30 sec more. Stir into egg mixture.
  • Heat 2 tbs oil in skillet over med-low heat. Pour in eggs, cover and cook. When top is set, serve with gravy.

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