Asian cuisine is known for its fusion of colors and flavors, but their complexity can often be daunting for the eager chef who wants to recreate their favorite Chinese or Korean dishes at home. But if there’s one recipe that’s easy to follow, with ingredients you probably already have to hand, it’s the Korean rice dish Gyeran Bap (pronounced “geh-ran bap”). Comprised of just eggs, soy sauce, cooked rice infused with sesame oil, and – of course – eggs, this dish has a warm, savory, and slightly salty flavor. Famed for its great taste and easy assembly, here’s all you need to know about how to cook Gyeran Bap.
Think of this dish as a mixture of scrambled eggs with warm rice and some added toppings – it’s a straightforward and cost-effective way to diversify your meal plans with Asian cooking. Translated directly from Korean as “egg rice,” this dich is technically a variant of bibimbap (meaning “mixed rice”) as it involves a mixture of cooked rice and a variety of cooked toppings.
But Gyeran Bap is a much faster and easier dish to prepare than traditional bibimbap, on account of how few ingredients you need.
- 2 or 3 cups of short-grain rice (depending on how hungry you are)
- 2 eggs
- Sesame oil
And that’s it! What makes Gyeran Bap so popular is the limited number of ingredients, and once you get the hang of making this dish you’ll soon be able to whip up a portion with barely two glances at the recipe.
Cooking the rice
A good way to get thick, sticky rice is to use a small amount of water when you’re making it. Add the 2 or 3 cups of short-grain rice into a saucepan and then fill it with hot water so that the rice is buried by about one-and-a-half inches of water.
Bring the water to boil and put a lid over the saucepan; leave to cook for about 15 or 20 minutes, until the water has been absorbed by the rice. This easy method gives you fat, fluffy rice that will work as an excellent base for the other ingredients of Gyeran Bap.
Frying the eggs
While your rice is cooking, lightly coat a pan over medium heat with oil and crack two eggs in there - we have a great selection of free range and organic eggs. Season them with a little bit of salt and pepper, or even a sprinkling of chili flakes for some extra heat, and fry for a few minutes until they’re just about undercooked. This keeps the yolks nice and runny, and creamy enough to compliment the plumpness of the rice you’ve just finished by now.
Customize with different flavors and toppings
Serve the rice in a bowl and transfer the eggs to a chopping board. Dice the cooked egg up into small chunks and scrape that onto the rice. Now drizzle about 1 or 2 teaspoons each of soy sauce and sesame oil; experiment with how much you want to add. If you find the soy sauce to be a little too salty, opt for a little more sesame oil next time round.
Once you’ve gently mixed the rice, egg, and sauces, this is really your chance to customize. As the rice has such an agreeable texture, you'll find it works well with all kinds of soft or crunchy ingredients.
One great topping would be that staple of Korean cooking, kimchi, a flavorsome side dish of fermented vegetables such as napa cabbage or Korean radish. This tangy topping adds a unique mixture of crunch and spice, and any Korean rice dish would be amiss without it. Try pairing this with strips of seaweed for some added saltiness, while its sticky texture should help bunch up the rice once it has been mixed together, making it easier to scoop up for those unaccustomed to using chopsticks.
A good source of omega-3 fats - which reduce inflammation in your blood vessels - seaweed also contains all sorts of nutrients such as folate, sodium, calcium, and a handful of vitamins such as A, C, and K. If you aren’t quite sure what that means, you can expect a little added seaweed in your diet to assist the functioning of your immune system, convert carbohydrates into energy, strengthen your bones, increase joint mobility, and - thanks to the sodium - help your muscles contract and relax properly to aid movement.
Meanwhile, for an added hit of sweetness, a few sugar snap peas will do the trick. As well as delicious, these bite-sized vegetables are a terrific source of vitamin K, which helps process calcium in order to strengthen your bone cells and reduce the risks of osteoporosis.
For a final flourish, top your rice with half an avocado; the softness of this nutrient-laden fruit perfectly suits the fluffiness of the rice and the smooth texture of the egg. As one of the few fruits to contain unsaturated fats, the avocado health benefits are seemingly endless – with nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals in them, the avocado’s high levels of folate, vitamin C, and potassium assist in lowering the risk of everything from joint inflammation, high blood pressure, and even depression.
Whether you’re cooking to a budget or pressed for time, Gyeran Bap is beloved by busy parents, cash-strapped students, or those on the hunt for a taste of Asian cuisine in their own kitchen. With just a few ingredients, this cooked rice dish is an easy way to diversify your diet and goes with all manner of healthy, organic toppings and condiments.
Remember, Gyeran Bap is totally open to experimentation so take a look through your spice cabinet, grab some new ingredients from the vegetable aisle of your local store, and see what unique flavor combinations you can come up with. There are no wrong answers here.