2016-02-27upper intermediate

Little Li's recipe: Stir-fried tomato eggs

Do you want to make authentic Chinese food but have trouble reading Chinese recipes? In this lesson we learn some words and classifiers which often appear in recipes, to start our journey on becoming Chinese food experts!

We will learn how to cook a simple Chinese dish called 西红柿炒鸡蛋 [xī hóng shì chǎo jī dàn] (stir-fried tomato eggs). Let’s start out by having a look at the 菜谱简介 [cài pǔ jiǎn jiè] (recipe summary).

Hover over any word to show translation
cài pǔ
菜谱
菜譜
recipe, menu (in restaurant)
jiǎn jiè
简介
簡介
summary, brief introduction
 
xī hóng shì
西红柿
西紅柿
tomato
chǎo
to sauté, to stir-fry
jī dàn
鸡蛋
雞蛋
chicken egg
shì
is, are
one, a
dào
classifier for courses in a meal
pǔ tōng
普通
普通
common, ordinary
de
(used after an attribute)
jiā cháng
家常
家常
the daily life of a family
cài
dish (type of food), cuisine
 
it
bú dàn
不但
不但
not only (... but also...)
zuò fǎ
做法
做法
method for making, recipe
jiǎn dān
简单
簡單
simple, not complicated
 
ér qiě
而且
而且
(not only ...) but also, moreover
yíng yǎng
营养
營養
nutrition
fēng fù
丰富
豐富
rich, plentiful
 
suǒ yǐ
所以
所以
therefore, so
fēi cháng
非常
非常
extraordinary, very
shòu dào
受到
受到
to receive
dà jiā
大家
大家
everyone
de
~'s (possessive particle)
xǐ ài
喜爱
喜愛
to like, to be fond of
 

Recipe summary: Stir-fried tomato eggs is a common household dish. It's not only easy to make but also rich in nutrition, which makes it loved by everyone.

Character set
Pinyin

不但……而且……Not only, ... But also....

This a commonly used pattern, roughly equivalent to the construction “not only ... but also ...” in English.

Hover over any word to show translation
she
bú dàn
不但
不但
huì
can, to be possible, to be able to, will, to be likely to, to be sure to, to assemble, to meet, to gather, to see, union, group, association, CL:個|个[ge4], a moment (Taiwan pr. for this sense is [hui3])
zuò
to do, to make, to produce, to write, to compose, to act as, to engage in, to hold (a party), to be, to become, to function (in some capacity), to serve as, to be used for, to form (a bond or relationship), to pretend, to feign, to act a part, to put on appearance
zhōng guó
中国
中國
China
cài
dish (type of food), vegetable, cuisine, CL:盤|盘[pan2],道[dao4], (coll.) (one's) type
 
ér qiě
而且
而且
(not only ...) but also, moreover, in addition, furthermore
huì
can, to be possible, to be able to, will, to be likely to, to be sure to, to assemble, to meet, to gather, to see, union, group, association, CL:個|个[ge4], a moment (Taiwan pr. for this sense is [hui3])
zuò
to do, to make, to produce, to write, to compose, to act as, to engage in, to hold (a party), to be, to become, to function (in some capacity), to serve as, to be used for, to form (a bond or relationship), to pretend, to feign, to act a part, to put on appearance
rì běn
日本
日本
Japan, Japanese
cài
dish (type of food), vegetable, cuisine, CL:盤|盘[pan2],道[dao4], (coll.) (one's) type
 

She can not only cook Chinese food, but Japanese food as well.

Character set
Pinyin

OK, let's return to the recipe. In order to cook, we have to prepare 材料 [cái liào] (ingredients).

Hover over any word to show translation
cái liào
材料
材料
ingredients, material
 
jī dàn
鸡蛋
雞蛋
chicken egg
sān
3
3
ge
classifier for people or objects in general
 
xī hóng shì
西红柿
西紅柿
tomato
èr
2
2
ge
classifier for people or objects in general
 
cōng
scallion
1
1
gēn
classifier for long slender objects, e.g. cigarettes, guitar strings
 
yán
salt
5
5
gram
 
shí yòng
食用
食用
to use as food, edible
yóu
oil, fat, grease
shí wǔ
15
15
háo shēng
毫升
毫升
milliliter
 
wèi jīng
味精
味精
monosodium glutamate (MSG)
sān
3
3
gram
 

Ingredients: 3 eggs, 2 tomatoes, 1 scallion, 5 grams of salt, 15 ml cooking oil, 3 grams of MSG.

Character set
Pinyin

个、根、克、毫升 classifiers

We saw a lot of different classifiers in the above example. Let's have a look at how they are used.

  • 个 [ge]— before nouns without special measure words of their own

    • 1个星期 [yí ge xīng qī] — one week
    • 5个苹果 [wǔ ge píng guǒ] — five apples
  • 根 [gēn]— for long, thin objects

    • 3根绳子 [sān gēn shéng zi] — three pieces of strings
    • 6根头发 [liù gēn tóu fà] — six strands of hair
  • 克 [kè]— gram(g.), 千克 [qiān kè] — kilogram(kg.)

    • 8克糖 [bā kè táng] — 8g sugar
    • 9千克米 [jiǔ qiān kè mǐ] — 9kg rice
  • 毫升 [háo shēng] — milliliter(ml.), 升 [shēng] — litre(l.)

    • 2毫升醋 [èr háo shēng cù] — 2ml vinegar
    • 10升水 [shí shēng shuǐ] — 10l water

Basic seasoning words

Seasoning is an important aspect of cooking, so let's have a look at how to say some of the most common types of seasoning in Chinese.

  • 盐 [yán] — salt
  • 酱油 [jiàng yóu] — soy sauce
  • 醋 [cù] — vinegar
  • 糖 [táng] — sugar
  • 辣椒 [là jiāo] — chili(red) pepper
  • 色拉油 [sè lā yóu] — salad oil
  • 花椒 [huā jiāo] — Sichuan pepper
  • 胡椒 [hú jiāo] — black pepper
  • 料酒 [liào jiǔ] — cooking wine
  • 蚝油 [háo yóu] — oyster sauce
  • 味精 [wèi jīng] — monosodium glutamate(MSG)

Now the ingredients are ready and you can start cooking. Let's learn some verbs that will come in handy.

  • 洗 [xǐ] — to wash (dishes, etc.)
  • 切 [qiē] — to cut
  • 加入 [jiā rù] — to add (ingredient, etc.)
  • 倒 [dào] — to pour
  • 烧 [shāo] — to roast
  • 炒 [chǎo] — to fry

Having learned these words, we can finally take a look at this recipe's 做法 [zuò fǎ] (instructions) !

Hover over any word to show translation
zuò fǎ
做法
做法
method for making, recipe
 
1
1
 
xī hóng shì
西红柿
西紅柿
tomato
to wash
gān jìng
干净
乾淨
clean
hòu
after
yòng
to use
kāi shuǐ
开水
開水
boiled water
tàng
to scald, to heat (sth) up in hot water
liǎng
two
fēn zhōng
分钟
分鐘
minute
hòu
after
to remove, to get rid of
skin
 
qiē piàn
切片
切片
to slice
 
èr
2
2
 
jī dàn
鸡蛋
雞蛋
chicken egg
to hit, to break
to enter, to go into
wǎn
bowl, cup
zhōng
in
 
jiā rù
加入
加入
to mix into, to add in
shǎo xǔ
少许
少許
a little, a few
yán
salt
and
wèi jīng
味精
味精
monosodium glutamate (MSG)
 
dǎ sǎn
打散
打散
to whisk
chéng
to become, to turn into
dàn yè
蛋液
蛋液
egg liquid, beaten egg
 
sān
3
3
 
cōng
scallion
to wash
gān jìng
干净
乾淨
clean
hòu
after
qiē
to cut, to slice
tip, end
 
4
4
 
guō
pot, pan
nèi
inside
dào
to pour
yóu
oil, fat, grease
shāo
to burn, to cook
zhì
to, until
wēi rè
微热
微熱
small heat, a little warm
 
dào
to pour
to enter, to go into
dàn yè
蛋液
蛋液
egg liquid, beaten egg
 
xiān
first
bié
do not, must not
fān dòng
翻动
翻動
to stir, to flip over
 
děng
to wait for
dàn yè
蛋液
蛋液
egg liquid, beaten egg
níng gù
凝固
凝固
to solidify, to congeal
yì xiē
一些
一些
some, a little
hòu
after
zài
then (after sth, and not until then)
fān dòng
翻动
翻動
to stir, to flip over
 
5
5
 
dào
to pour
to enter, to go into
xī hóng shì
西红柿
西紅柿
tomato
 
chǎo
to sauté, to stir-fry
zhì
to, until
jī dàn
鸡蛋
雞蛋
chicken egg
and
xī hóng shì
西红柿
西紅柿
tomato
biàn
to change, to become
ruǎn
soft
hòu
after
fàng
to put
to enter, to go into
shǎo xǔ
少许
少許
a little, a few
yán
salt
and
wèi jīng
味精
味精
monosodium glutamate (MSG)
 
zuì hòu
最后
最後
finally
dào
to pour
to enter, to go into
cōng
scallion
tip, end
jí kě
即可
即可
equivalent to 就可以, (do sth) and that will suffice
 

Instructions:
1. After washing the tomatoes clean, scald them using hot water for two minutes, then remove the skin and slice them.
2. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add some salt and MSG, then whisk until they become liquid.
3. Wash the scallions and cut off the tips.
4. Put some oil in a pan and heat until mildly warm. Pour in the beaten eggs. Don't stir at first; wait until the eggs solidify a bit and then stir.
5. Add the tomatoes and stir until the eggs and tomatoes become soft, then add a bit of salt and MSG. Finally add the scallion tips and that's it.

Character set
Pinyin

Congratulations, your delicious stir-fried tomato eggs are done! Please enjoy!
See you next time!