Our February issue's Top Pick in Cookbooks imparts tips, tricks and guidance to help you "become an accomplished creator of Chinese home cooking." Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice helps make a daunting cuisine "definitely doable."

Fresh Oyster Omelette
Dan Jian Sheng Hao


Oysters are a favorite ingredient in southern Fujian and Guangdong provinces. This is one of the most delightful ways to eat them, with the plump, succulent mollusks cradled in golden egg and sprinkled with the vivid green of spring onions.

The only tricky bit, if you’re not used to it, is shucking the oysters, for which it’s best to use a special oyster knife. To shuck, hold each oyster in a wet kitchen towel, with the hinge end poking out of the cloth. Ease the knife gently into the hinge to find the sweet spot of least resistance, then force it in. Twist the knife to force the two shells apart, then run it around the inside of the top part of the shell to allow you to remove the lid. It’s best to ask someone to show you how to do this if you haven’t tried it before.

If you make this dish with good oysters and free-range eggs, it’ll be better than any oyster omelette you’ll taste in a restaurant. Make it for a special brunch for someone you love, or serve it with rice as part of a Chinese meal.



  • Salt

  • 6–8 oysters, freshly shucked

  • 3 eggs

  • 11/2 tsp potato flour mixed with 1 tsp cold water

  • Ground white pepper

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

  • 4 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens


Add 3/4 tsp salt to the oysters, mix gently, then place in a fine-mesh colander and rinse under the tap, taking care to wash away any fragments of shell. Bring a small panful of water to a boil, add the oysters and blanch for just a few seconds. Drain. (These two steps give the oysters an amazing purity of flavor.)

Beat the eggs, then beat in the flour mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the oil to a seasoned wok over a high flame and swirl it around. Pour in the eggs and swirl the mixture around the base of the wok. Scatter the oysters evenly over the egg mixture and reduce the heat to medium. Tip the wok and use a wok scoop or ladle to allow some of the liquid egg that pools in the center to escape towards the hot metal surface.

When the omelette is golden underneath, scatter with the spring onion greens, then flip to cook the other side. When this side, too, is golden, transfer to a plate and serve.

Reprinted from Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop. Copyright © 2012 by Fuchsia Dunlop. Photographs copyright © 2012 by Chris Terry. With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company. Read our review of this book.

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