You've had eggs boiled, fried, poached, and scrambled ... but how about steamed? Silky, savory Asian-style steamed eggs are a real treat at any meal. Different variations exist in China, Japan, and Korea, and today I'll share one method for making Korean-style steamed eggs, called gyeran jjim.
At its most basic, gyeran jjim (literally "steamed eggs") consists of eggs whisked with water and something salty, such as salt, brined shrimp, or fish sauce. Seasonings like green onions and sesame seeds, as well as vegetables and other ingredients, may be added. (Think of this like an omelette, where you have a basic technique and can change fillings and toppings as desired.)
When steamed in a hot water bath, the eggs set into the loveliest custard with the texture of silken tofu. The softness and saltiness are the perfect complements to steamed rice – though I have also been known to eat gyeran jjim straight out of the bowl, with no accompaniments. Give it a try for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Korean-Style Steamed Eggs (Gyeran Jjim)
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water, plus more for filling pot
1/2 scallion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Combine the eggs, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a heat-safe ceramic bowl, such as a ramekin or small ddukbaegi. Whisk until well combined and foamy.
Place the bowl in a pot. Fill the pot with hot (not boiling) water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover the pot, preferably with a clear glass lid so you can easily watch the water and eggs. Cook over low-medium heat for 12 minutes, making sure the water stays at a gentle simmer.
Sprinkle the scallions and sesame seeds on top of the eggs and continue to cook for about 3 minutes or until the eggs are set. They should be firm but jiggly.
Carefully lift the bowl from the pot and serve.
• Add chopped vegetables like red bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, or onions to the egg and water mixture
• Add gochugaru (red pepper) along with the scallions and sesame seeds
• Substitute brined baby shrimp, fish sauce, or soy sauce for salt
• Substitute stock for water
Related: Street Food for Dinner: Thai-Style Omelet (Kai Jeow)
(Image: Emily Ho)