Tired of bacon, eggs, and cereal every morning for breakfast?
Still need to get your daily dose of protein? Try some gyeran-mari!
Don’t worry, you have all of the ingredients already. It’s much simpler than you’d think!
Gyeran-mari (계란말이) is a popular banchan, a Korean side dish, often served with rice. It is a literal “egg-roll,” not what we think of when we go to a Chinese restaurant, but a rolled omelette. It’s a very popular side dish for lunch boxes because it is attractive, nutritious, and still delicious at room-temperature. It’s also an anju, a Korean term for “food consumed with alcohol,” frequently found at pojangmacha, street stalls or small tented spots.
You may recognize this side-dish from watching K-dramas. It’s often in characters’ lunch boxes or meals. In the popular K-drama Boys Over Flowers, the main character Geum Jan Di included gyeran-mari in the meal boxes she made for her love-interest Gu Jun-Pyo. Honestly, all of the meals were my favourite part of the series! I always wanted to eat them.
Gyeran-mari is a popular dish because it is so versatile. It makes for a nutritious meal at anytime, especially breakfast. You can also prepare it ahead of time, pack it, and take it to work or school for later! It travels well and tastes yummy at any temperature.
If you are familiar with making omelettes or even sushi, preparation of this dish will come naturally to you. It can also be compared to tamagoyaki, the Japanese omelette, but usually gyeran-mari contains more ingredients. You can add vegetables, cheese, meats, or seaweed!
Since I began learning how to cook Korean food, gyeran-mari has become one of my favourite Korean dishes to make. I like to eat it for breakfast, late-night snack, or anytime that suits my fancy! It’s such a versatile dish and you can make it as simple or flavourful as you desire.
Let’s learn how to make it!
Gyeran-mari requires egg and several finely diced ingredients, and usually gim (seaweed).
- 3-4 large eggs
- Any diced/shredded vegetables of your choice (onions, carrots, Korean zucchini, scallions, peppers, etc.)-- I’ve even added kimchi before which gave a lot of good texture and spice to it!
- Diced protein/meat (imitation crab meat, ham and bacon are popular choices, but this is not required)
- pinch of salt and pepper (and any other additional seasonings such as spices or sugar)
- (optional) cheese -- I really like adding this! If you grew up eating American omelettes, you’ll enjoy this.
- (recommended) Gim-- I always add this; this is my personal preference!
- (optional) Ketchup or sriracha for dipping
- Prepare your ingredients.
- Crack your eggs into a bowl. Add any seasoning you wish, such as pinch of salt and pepper.
- Whisk the eggs.
- Add ingredients to the eggs, then whisk again to mix well with the eggs.
- Heat and oil pan (non-stick or square pan is especially helpful!)
- Pour only about ¼ of the mixture into the pan until there is a nice thin and even layer in the pan.
- Add the gim when it is half-cooked.
- When it appears almost cooked, begin rolling the egg. Two spatulas or chopsticks will be helpful.
- When it is rolled halfway, move the egg-roll to the right side of the pan and pour another thin layer of the egg mixture on the left side of the pan. Make sure that the additional mixture is attaching to the already existing egg-roll.
- After the additional egg-mixture has had a chance to cook for a bit and it is about halfway-cooked, begin rolling again.
- You may repeat this process again until you have used all of your egg-mixture.
- Try to square up your egg-roll into a rectangular box with spatula. Flip it over and cook on each side.
- Once you have used all of your ingredients, turn off the heat and move your egg-roll carefully to a cutting board.
- If you have a rolling mat for sushi, wrap your egg-roll in that while it cools and it will help to maintain the shape of the egg-roll!
- Give 5-10 minutes to cool before cutting. If you begin cutting prematurely, it may fall apart.
- Once it is cool, use a sharp knife to cut into bite-sizes, about 2–3 centimetres (0.79–1.18 inches) pieces.
I hope you love gyeran-mari too!
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Written by Tiffany Simms