When I’m in the mood for something simple and comforting, I like to make my version of ggae-rahn jeem (Korean egg soufflé). “Egg soufflé” is redundant, I know, but inherent in the Korean language is a tendency for redundancy. For example, pork is called “dwae-jee go-ghee” which translates to “pig meat.” Unlike the French soufflés, the Korean soufflé doesn’t have any cream or custard in it, and one doesn’t need to whip up the whites and yolks separately.
My SIL says you can make ggae-rahn jeem using salted water, egg, green onions, and roe, but I like using my chicken broth instead of the salted water. (It has a lot more body and flavor since I make my chicken broth with garlic, ginger, onion, celery, and carrots). The water content (steam) is what makes it light and airy. The trick is to find the right balance of liquid to egg. If you have too much liquid, you’ll end up with egg drop soup instead of egg soufflé.
Traditionally to make ggae-rhan jeem, one should use the double-boiling method (have a bowl/pot within a pot of boiling water), but I like to save myself the fuss and just use the microwave. Some Korean grocers have a special ggae-rahn-jeeem ceramic bowl with a plastic lid that can vent out the steam (so it won’t explode in the microwave). They have personal size and family size. It’s one of my prized possessions. However, you can still make this in the microwave with a deep ceramic bowl.
HB can’t fathom why I like ggae-rahn jeem so much. I think it has to do with the fact that it’s so light and airy, comforting, and not greasy. Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m eating a piece of the moon.
Here’s the recipe in case you’d like to try it out:
Ggae-Rahn Jeem (Korean-style soufflé)
1 ½ cups water or broth (be sure to season with salt before mixing egg into it)
Finely chopped green onion (about 1 stalk or small handful)
Pepper (fresh ground)
1) Season water/broth with salt to your preferred salinity. Mix well. (Adding salt after the soufflé is cooked ruins the taste.)
2) In the bowl that you’ll use to microwave, beat eggs until very light and foamy. Make sure bowl is tall enough (at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches clearance from top of liquid to rim, if it’s not the special ggae-rahn jeem bowl) to handle the rise of the soufflé. You don’t want it to spill over. Add water/broth from step one and beat until the liquids seem evenly distributed. Sprinkle in the finely chopped green onion and/or other add-ins (see below).
3) Cover bowl with lid or microwave safe plastic wrap, and cook in microwave for 3 minutes. Uncover and mix slightly so the rest of the egg can cook. Cover bowl loosely and return to microwave to cook for another 2-3 minutes. (Time depends on strength of microwave.)
4) Serve immediately with rice and other panchan (side dishes).
SIL likes to add roe for a little texture. I like mine without. However, for those of you who aren’t so crazy about roe, but want to add some texture, you can add toasted sesame seeds.
You can also add finely grated cheese and/or broccoli to make it a meal. 😉
Here’s an omelette-inspired version with spinach, mushroom, shallots (image below).