If I could only eat one cuisine for the rest of my life, I’m not sure what I would choose. I would think about choosing French for the bread, cheese, pastries, and sauces, or maybe American for the barbecue and homestyle desserts. But when it came down to it, I would probably pick Korean for the bold, explosive flavors and generally healthy fare. Let’s hope I never have to decide.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how as much as I love Korean food, I have no experience cooking it. My friend Sun of Hungry Gopher helped me out and recommended five recipes that I could make to learn more about Korean cooking. You can read about that here: 5 Must Try Korean Dishes.
I decided to start with the korean egg roll or gyeranmari. These egg rolls are a common Korean side dish and are often packed in school lunch boxes. Korean egg rolls are similar to a rolled omelet and are traditionally filled with carrot, onion, and green onion. They are made just like an omelet, except the egg mixture is added in stages, then rolled up several times and sliced into bite sized pieces. I know how to make an omelet so this seemed like a good place to start. I was a bit intimidated by the rolling process but I knew that I could get through it with the help of the video tutorial on Sun’s Korean cooking show.
This recipe is a great introduction to Korean cooking. The egg rolls are healthy and quick to make and the rolling process is really fun. I made a few small changes to Sun’s original recipe by adding more vegetables and giving them a quick sauté. Chances are you already have everything you need in your refrigerator. You can use any vegetables for the filling or even no vegetables at all. I never thought a Korean dish would be my new go-to meal when I’m too lazy to go to the grocery store but I’ve made these several times in the last few days. Give it a try and I bet it will become one of your new favorites too.
Korean Egg Roll – Gyeranmari
Before you begin cooking, the first thing you need to do is watch Sun’s tutorial video. This will give you everything you need to know and teach you how to roll the egg roll easily. When you’re done watching, continue reading the post below for more photos and cooking tips.
Start by getting your vegetables ready. It’s best to cut the vegetables into small pieces so they cook evenly and don’t tear the egg roll when rolling it.
Chop the carrots into small pieces and slice the asparagus thinly on the bias.
I finely diced the onion, thinly sliced the shitake mushrooms, and minced the green onion.
Once the vegetables are ready, it’s time to move on to the eggs.
You will need a whisk and a fine mesh strainer. The eggs are whisked together with the salt, pepper, milk and vinegar and then strained to remove the chalaza and any tough bits to ensure a perfectly smooth egg roll. The vinegar helps the eggs coagulate and makes the rolling process easier.
Whisk the eggs together thoroughly. If you have an immersion blender, this is a good time to use it.
Pour the eggs through the strainer slowly.
In culinary school I was taught to only use white pepper with eggs. I really hate white pepper though (I think it smells like a barnyard) so now I always use black pepper.
Once all of the eggs pass through, you can discard the chalaza left in the strainer.
You’ll notice I lost some of the black pepper when I strained the egg mixture. I use freshly ground pepper and some of the pieces were a little large. If you have the same problem, either add the pepper after straining the eggs or add more pepper if you lose some when you strain them.
Perfectly smooth and seasoned.
I decided to sauté the vegetables before making the omelet but this is optional (Sun does not sauté her filling). If you decide to sauté them, melt a teaspoon or so of coconut oil in a sauté pan. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the vegetables and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook until all of the vegetables are soft and tender. Taste them and check to make sure they are properly seasoned.
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Once the vegetables are soft, remove them from the stove and let them cool for a moment. Pour them into the egg mixture and whisk the mixture with a fork to combine everything.
Melt another teaspoon of coconut oil in your sauté pan and add 1/3 of the egg-veggie mixture.
You want to keep a relatively low heat or else your egg roll will cook too fast and become brown. However, it’s best to stand by the stove and monitor the heat. I found myself gently turning the flame up and down throughout the cooking process. There are many chefs that say they can determine the skills of another cook by the way he/she make an omelet. An omelet is very simple but you have to pay attention to details, control the heat of the pan, and finesse it a little bit. The same things hold true in this recipe.
As you can see in the bottom left of this photo, the egg mixture is starting to set up.
The rolling process can be a little intimidating. I’m here to tell you that you can’t mess it up. Just keep your heat low and go slowly but confidently. If it tears a little, it’s okay. Your first egg roll may not be as beautiful as Sun’s and that’s okay (mine definitely wasn’t).
When do you start rolling? Once the egg mixture has set up completely around the edges and there is just a tiny bit of liquid on top, you can start to roll. I recommend going very slowly and carefully at first. You can use a spatula or chopsticks but I found I needed to use both a spatula and my hands. Just be careful because it will be hot.
I started to roll it a little bit too early so I just let it cook a little more before continuing. Just use your instincts and you will be fine.
As you can see, mine tore a bit but I didn’t let it bother me and continued rolling. You have to be confident in this step! If your egg roll tears, don’t panic and just keep rolling. If it’s in the center of the egg roll, you won’t really notice it anyways.
I slowly continued rolling until it was about 75% rolled up. It’s not perfect but it works.
Once you get it rolled 75% of the way, slide it to the left side of the pan and 1/2 of the remaining of the egg-veggie mixture. Now, we repeat the above process.
Once you complete the second round of rolling it up 75% of the way, add the rest of the egg-veggie mixture. Cook it until the egg has set up and then roll it up all the way and remove the pan from the heat.
Before slicing the egg, you want to let it rest for a few minutes. If you slice it right out of the pan, it will fall apart and not look as nice. However, you could also just eat this whole and not even bother with slicing. It just depends if you are sharing or not.
You could make a few of these at once, slice them, and then leave them in your refrigerator to snack on for the next few days. In Korea, they are commonly packed in lunch boxes and sent to school with children to eat for lunch.
Be sure to find more easy Korean recipes from Sun at Hungry Gopher.