The Korean Steamed Egg Dish You Should Know

Japchae. Bibimbap. Samgyetang. These are just a few notable staples of Korean cuisine. With the rise of Korean BBQ restaurants across the United States and a strong interest in Korean music and TV shows like BTS and Netflix's Squid Game, more people are becoming acquainted with the flavors of Korea, per Food Insititute.

According to Arirang Korean BBQ, Korea equates food to medicine and loves to use seasonal and healthy ingredients, such as tofu and beans. Rice is also a primary staple at the table — especially the short grain type that is full of starch and stickiness. If you've ever dined at a Korean BBQ restaurant, you'll notice a bowl of rice among a plethora of side dishes, which is known as "banchan." This helps to keep rice waste low and is the preferred course style among many Koreans, whereas Westerners love their meals one at a time.

And speaking of banchan, perhaps you've noticed a peculiar side dish that resembles yellow custard. Here's what that is and why you should know about it.

Known as gyeran jjim

According to Korean Bapsang, gyeranjjim, also known as Korean steamed eggs, is a savory egg custard that is steamed in a ttukbaegi, which is a type of Korean earthenware pot, per food fusion blog Carving a Journey. It can be eaten at any time of the day and is often topped with scallions, though carrots, onions, and zucchini are popular additions.

But what makes gyeranjjim so beloved by Koreans and Westerners alike? Bon Appétit explains that each spoonful is light, airy, and fluffy, like biting into a cloud. And even though the texture is the star, Korean steamed eggs also highlight other umami flavors, such as broth, salted shrimp, and sesame oil. But if you prefer the straightforward taste of eggs, you can make these using eggs, water, and a little bit of salt.

Flavors and textures aside, such a simple side dish also scores an A+ on the presentation scale. As the food blog The Subversive Table explains, gyeranjjim is usually the last side dish to be presented and is known for its soufflé-like aesthetic as it puffs up from its ttukbaegi. The bright yellow eggs also serve as a sharp color contrast to the black or brown pot it's presented in.

You'd be hard-pressed to find other egg dishes that resemble a puffy cloud, and gyeranjjim offers a small but umami-packed look into the traditional flavors of Korea.