Monday, December 8, 2014

Korean Steamed Egg (계란찜)

The last few weeks have been quite intense. I've been doing loads of online shopping (hello, Black Friday & Cyber Monday) and my bank account is only just starting to recover. My family has never been huge on gift giving, mostly because as kids, my parents couldn't afford extravagant gifts. So, we've always been more of a thoughtful gift family but now that I'm making money, I do like to treat my loved ones. I'm grateful for my upbringing because I think it's made me more appreciative of what I have now and it prevents me from taking things for granted.

Which is just an okay segue into today's post. This Korean steamed egg dish is the easiest, cheapest side dish but it's so loved by my family. It's crazy cheap but it's homey and delicious. I don't really have any memories of my mom making 계란찜 (gaeran jjim) from my childhood. I just remember eating it when we'd dine out at Korean restaurants. The staff didn't always bring it out; it only happened once in a while but I always got so excited and happy. It was like a treat, even though it was just glorified scrambled eggs.

So, I didn't learn this recipe from my mum. However, I'd say this is somewhat authentic. I learned this recipe from eavesdropping while at a Korean restaurant. A woman at the table next to us asked the waitress how the restaurant made gaeran jjim and I listened and then I went home and gave it a go. The result: success.
Ingredients:
2 eggs
equal volume of chicken stock (about 1/4 cup)
½ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
+ scallions
+ hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)

It's nice to use a stone pot because of the way it holds onto heat and evenly distributes it (which is important when you're cooking something as delicate as eggs). And if you're into cooking Korean food at home, I highly recommend getting one. This baby-sized one was about $6 at the Asian grocery store. However, if you're not invested in Korean food enough to venture to an Asian market and spend $6, you can use a nonstick saucepan instead. You will just have to be extra vigilant and watch the heat, because the eggs will definitely cook a lot quicker in a metal pan.
Start by cracking two eggs into the pot. And then, use the egg shells to measure the chicken stock. You'll need four half-shells full of chicken stock. Grate in some garlic and sprinkle in some salt.
Whisk up the ingredients until the yolks and whites are blended together well and then pop the pot onto a stove over a low heat.
Stir the pot constantly, so that the eggs cook evenly. Scrape the sides once in a while.
As the eggs thicken to a wet scrambled egg consistency, pop the lid on and turn off the heat. Leave like this for five minutes.
Meanwhile, get your garnishes ready. Chop up some scallions and get a little scoop of hot pepper flakes.
Top the steamed egg with scallions and hot pepper flakes and serve!
It's so easy, right? The eggs should be super fluffy and light - almost the texture of silken tofu. It's such a simple dish, but it's still really special. Or maybe that's just me.
Here's the recipe page:

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