This delicious Korean dish of soy sauce beef with jammy egg from Su Scott’s Rice Table: Korean Recipes & Stories To Feed The Soul is supreme comfort food. Tender beef in a salty, sweet sauce with marinated eggs, eaten with plain rice, this is the kind of food that I crave when feeling cold, tired or simply in need of a hug in a bowl.
Korean Soy Sauce Beef with Jammy Egg (Jangjorim)
My mother’s jangjorim was deliciously salty with a sweet sauce that made you want to scoop it right onto the hot steaming bowl of rice. The pale golden margarine melted slowly on top of the rice, binding everything together into a shiny beige mush. The whites of the hard-boiled eggs she had thrown in turned a deep woody brown. Their pearly white skin was almost bouncy, with a slight chew from the glazing, and tasted as good as the shredded meat, if not better. But it also came with the brutally sacrificed yolk that had the interesting-looking moss green ring around it from overcooking.
I remember everything smelling strangely nutty and feeling slippery on the tongue. It ate smoothly, with the occasional salty bite of tender beef pleasantly cutting through the fat. And it was all a real treat.Lean cuts of beef or pork are best for this dish as it is supposedly served at room temperature. Beef is first boiled with aromatics until tender, then torn into chunky strips before being braised in salty-sweet liquid seasoned with soy sauce and sugar.
Traditionally, the dish was made rather salty to ensure longer preservation of meat and was enjoyed in small quantities, like a condiment rather than a stew. It used to be said that properly made jangjorim would easily last for several weeks, though the eggs are best eaten sooner rather than later. Rather than hard-boiling, I like to marinate the soft-boiled egg here for the jammy yolk. Both meat and eggs continue to marinate in the sauce and the flavour improves by the day.
Don’t be tempted to braise the meat with the soy sauce right from the beginning, as the salty soy sauce will draw out the moisture from the meat if added too early, and make the meat tougher. As the dish cools down, the hardened fat can be skimmed off to yield a purer sauce.
- 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) beef brisket or bavette
- 100 g (3½ oz) leek, cut in half crossways
- 100 g (3½ oz) daikon radish, cut into chunks
- ½ onion, skin on
- 5 garlic cloves, left whole
- 2 tsp roughly sliced ginger root
- 1 5 × 7.5 cm (2 x 3 in) piece of dasima (dried kelp)
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 litre (34 fl oz / 4 cups) water
For the sauce
- 3 tbsp golden granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp English mustard
- 2 dried red chillies
For the eggs
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 6 eggs
- sprinkling of toasted white sesame seeds
Pat the beef dry with kitchen paper to remove any sitting blood. Cut the beef into chunky pieces measuring about 5cm (3/4in) square, ensuring the grain runs evenly lengthways. Place the beef, leek, daikon radish, onion, garlic, ginger, dasima and black peppercorns into a large saucepan. Fill with the water and bring to the boil. You will notice some scum rising to the surface as it reaches boiling point. Skim off the scum but don’t worry too much – it will all sort itself out as it simmers. Lower the heat immediately and maintain a low simmer with small bubbles rising intermittently. Cook for 11/2 hours with the lid ajar, or until tender. Remove the meat and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil for the eggs. Add the salt and vinegar to the pan, and carefully drop in the eggs. Stir briefly and cook for 6 minutes to yield soft-boiled eggs. Once done, drain. Roll or tap the eggs gently against the surface to crack the shells a little. Submerge the eggs in cold water to chill completely. When cooled down enough to handle, peel and set aside.
Carefully pass the meat cooking liquid through the fine sieve, reserving 600ml (20fl oz / 2½ cups) of stock. Discard the aromatics. Save any extra stock for another time to use in soups and stews.
When the meat has cooled down enough to handle, shred the pieces lengthways into fairly chunky pieces using two forks or your fingers. Set aside.
Pour the reserved stock into a saucepan. Add the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, mustard and dried red chillies. Whisk to combine. Add the meat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes over a low–medium heat. Stir occasionally. The sauce should have reduced significantly. Carefully stir in the eggs to warm briefly. Remove from the heat and leave it to cool before transferring to an airtight container. Ensure the mixture cools down completely before storing in the fridge; it will keep well for a good five days.
Though the dish is traditionally served cold or at room temperature, I like to serve it warm: just decant the desired amount and reheat gently but thoroughly, if you wish. Scatter with a pinch of toasted white sesame seeds before serving and eat with a bowl of plain steamed rice.
Made the recipe? Let us know how you got on in the comments.
You may also enjoy other Korean recipes and content here.
Kavey Eats received a review copy of Rice Table by Su Scott from publishers Quadrille. Book photography by Toby Scott. Home cooking photography by Kavita Favelle.