Chai Poh Scramble: Easter, Singapore-Style

Breakfast in this household includes many of your standard brunchy dishes — eggs and bacon, egg-soaked casseroles, eggs a dozen ways and more.

What’s less typical is when I wake up craving Chinese porridge — and the eggy accoutrements that go with a hot bowl of the stuff that I get at my mother’s kitchen table in Singapore. The eggs she serves with porridge are large bowls of beaten eggs, steamed with minced pork and white pepper. Or, savory scrambles packed with ketchup, shallots and sometimes shrimp.

Of the egg dishes I love in Singapore — one remained untested in my own Brooklyn kitchen: Chai poh omelet, a scramble peppered with deliciously salty chunks of preserved radish.

The reason was simple — I’d simply never bought chai poh before. But when my chef friend Simpson recently gave me an extra packet he had in his larder, I decided to give it a shot. After all, Easter was around the corner and my Let’s Lunch bunch had decided to share egg dishes for April …

Now, if you’ve never heard of chai poh, much less seen it, it looks like this:

It’s usually sold in a clear packet — about the size of a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips — in Asian grocery stores. (Mine had Thai lettering on it — so, if you’re having problems finding it, look for a Thai grocery near you.)

The first chai poh omelet I made was simple — I simply stir-fried it in some vegetable oil until it was fragrant, then added beaten eggs to the mix. Very simple — and delicious.

But a recent craving for chwee kueh, a Singapore breakfast dish consisting of jelly-like steamed rice cakes topped with spicy preserved radishes, made me think — how much more amazing would a chai poh omelet be jazzed up with all the intense flavors of a chwee kueh topping?

A little research yielded a few recipes for chwee kueh toppings that looked fairly straightforward. One, by a homesick Singaporean in London, looked so tasty the screen had me salivating. So I took that, added minced shallots to the mix and used that for my chai poh omelet.

How was it? Mind-blowing, if I do say so myself. The salty, sweet and spicy mixture packed an intense burst of flavor in each bite — and was a lovely addition to plain porridge. And I adored the taste of it so much I immediately began plotting using the chai poh mixture with minced pork or chicken in stir-fries, paired with rice.

Is this your usual Easter brunch dish? Not in most households, probably. But after you’ve tasted this, perhaps you’ll agree that it should be.


Don’t forget to check out the Let’s Lunchers’ egg dishes below! And if you’d like to join Let’s Lunch, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #Letslunch — or, post a comment below.

Ana‘s Breakfast Pizza at In Foodie Fashion

Charissa‘s Gluten-Free Leek, Ham & Pecorino Souffles at Zest Bakery

Denise‘s Beet Dye & Pink Deviled Eggs at Chez Us

Eleanor‘s Medley of Eggs at Wok Star

Emma‘s Eggs In A Hole at Dreaming of Pots & Pans

Felicia‘s Perfect Sandwich at Burnt-Out Baker

Grace‘s Scrambled Eggs & Tomatoes at HapaMama

Joe‘s Kim-Chi Deviled Eggs at Joe Yonan

Karen‘s Molecular Gastronomy “Eggs” at GeoFooding

Leigh‘s Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls at Leigh Nannini

– Linda‘s Home-made Cadbury Eggs (Maple Chocolate Eggs) at Free Range Cookies

Linda‘s Taiwanese Tomato Eggs at Spicebox Travels

Lisa‘s Legendary Egg & Onion at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Lucy‘s Old-Fashioned Boiled Dressing (& Chicken Salad) at A Cook And Her Books

Nancie‘s Son-In-Law Eggs at Nancie McDermott

Rashda‘s Bombay Toasts (Spicy French Toasts) at Hot Curries And Cold Beer

Rebecca‘s Mini Meringue Buttons at Grongar Blog

Vivian‘s Oeuf Chaud Froid at Vivian Pei


Cheryl’s Chai Poh (Preserved Radish) Scramble

75 grams chai poh (the sweet — not salty — kind)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon chilli sauce (garlic-chili sauce or Sriracha)
1/2 tablespoon kecap manis (a sweet, thick Indonesian soy sauce)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 heaping tablespoons minced shallots
4 to 5 eggs
Splash of milk

Beat eggs with milk in a medium bowl with a whisk until frothy. (Add a very small pinch of salt if you’d like. Not much more as the chai poh is very salty.) Mix together sugar, kecap manis. chili sauce and fish sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add garlic and stir-fry very vigorously for about 30 seconds (until fragrant) then add shallots. Stir-fry until shallots have softened and mixture is fragrant. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.)

Add chai poh and mix well, stir-frying until the mixture looks a little drier, is fragrant and has turned a darker shade of brown. Then, add the sugar/kecap manis/fish sauce/chili sauce mixture to the wok and stir-fry, mixing well.

Once that is well mixed, reduce heat to medium and remove most of the mixture and set aside, leaving two to three tablespoons of it in the wok. (You can leave a larger amount of the mixture in the wok if you’d like — bear in mind that it’s rather salty so a little bit of it goes a long way.)

Pour beaten-egg mixture over the remaining chai poh mixture in the wok and let it set. After a little while, flip it over if you can. Or, you can cook this like a scramble. Once the eggs look cooked, serve immediately with porridge and chili sauce on the side, if desired.

Reserve the remaining chai poh mixture for other possible stir-fries.

28 thoughts on “Chai Poh Scramble: Easter, Singapore-Style

  1. I love it! This is a variation of one of the simple egg dishes I was thinking about for this month’s Let’s Lunch. My mom made scrambled eggs with pickled turnips and green onions on a regular basis in my childhood. I remember that salty crunch. But I didn’t have a chance to run to the Chinese market this week, so I went a different route.

    • Love the route that you took though — my mum makes tomato scrambles too! We eat it with porridge or rice. Pure comfort food…

  2. Pingback: Scrambled Eggs and Tomatoes: Real Homestyle Chinese Food | HapaMama

  3. Pingback: Homemade Cadbury Eggs « Free Range Cookies Blog

  4. Pingback: Zest Bakery & Deli » Blog Archive gluten-free leek, ham, and pecorino souffles

  5. Pingback: Beet Dye and Pink Deviled Eggs » Chez Us

  6. Pingback: Which Came First, the Egg or the Chicken? | spicebox travels

  7. Pingback: Son-In-Law Eggs for My First #LetsLunch « Nancie McDermott

  8. What a feast! I am thrilled to be at this table. Abundant fascinating and making me so hungry. How wonderful to learn about this omelet with chai po. Thais use this ingredient and it goes by the same name. Definitely going to request a packet of chai po from the Easter bunny, for my Easter basket.

    • So glad you joined the party! Love yours… I’ve not cooked much Thai but now you have me intrigued. I have half a bag more of chai poh and would love to use it up well. Welcome to the Let’s Lunch bunch!

  9. Pingback: An egg and a French legend….

  10. What an intriguing set of flavors! Now you’ve made me even more resentful than usual about the limited availability of Asian ingredients in my area — will have to try this the next time I make it back to civilization!

  11. Interesting combo chai poh in a scramble egg, I’ll have to try that, I have a packet lying around. Is this a unique S’porean dish? My Chinese is so bad, I can’t even think what radish is? Happy Easter, Cheryl.

    • I think it’s a very Singaporean/Malaysian dish. Very simple! Let me know if you give this a shot…happy Easter to you too!

  12. Pingback: Mini Meringue Buttons « GrongarBlog

  13. Cheryl, this is why I love being part of Let’s Lunch — the opportunity to learn about something completely new to me. I’ve gotta get my hands on some chai poh, obviously — or maybe learn to make it… Thanks for sharing! — Joe

  14. I LOVE POHCHAI!!!! Over Chinese new year in Hong Kong, white radish cake was all over and I made my own black char dao kueh, only that I couldn’t find Poh chai!!! This omelette is a great idea!! thanks for sharing :)

    • Wow, now you have me wanting to make chai dow kueh at home! Say, would you like to join Let’s Lunch? We don’t have any Hong Kong bloggers in the group yet!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>