When faced with the difficult challenge of broadening the Meat-eating Military Man’s vegetable world so that we could have any hope of eating together, I knew I had to win him over with baby steps. Throwing raw kale in front of him was not going to go over well.

I took the same approach with Korean food, which he had never had before he met me. I threw the easiest bait I knew he would take–sweet, juicy meat. The first Korean food he ate was Korean BBQ Beef and from the look on his face, he should have said, “Korean BBQ Beef, you had me at first smell.”

Now that he knew Korean food had something to offer, I had to introduce other Korean foods, including sides, to him. Where to start? With a dish that worked for me as a young child: steamed egg (계란찜).

Steamed Egg

My grandmother was an amazing cook who brought the family together around the dinner table every Sunday. While I loved everything she made, the steamed egg (계란찜) she made was my absolute favorite. I called it “egg-in-a-bowl” when I was younger because every week, she would bring the bowl over to the table and then I would scoop my spoon in it to get delicious, soft, salty egg. It was so smooth and just melted in my mouth.

My grandmother made hers in a standard large soup bowl, but it customarily comes in a small, ceramic bowl like this.

This is a very simple, Korean side dish but I think that’s why I liked it so much as a child. I mean, it’s egg. The familiarity with a twist made me love it a lot.

Simply egg and water whisked together and then seasoned

I’m not sure the Meat-eating Military Man anticipates eating this as much as I do, but it opened up his Korean food world in a familiar, tasty way.

As far as the recipe, I wish I asked my grandmother how to make it while she was still with us. But I didn’t and my parents–though their recipes and techniques are usually fail proof–couldn’t tell me the right egg to water ratio. So I resorted to the internet and found a recipe at the blog, Korean American Mommy. (PS – I love her blog! Take a look!)


Korean Steamed Egg (계란찜):
(from Korean American Mommy)


  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 scallion, chopped
  • Roasted sesame seeds
  • Salt


  1. Whisk the eggs and add water and salt. Mix well. Pour egg mixture into heat proof bowl and place the bowl in a large pot filled with water, making sure the water level is no more than 3/4 up the heat proof bowl.
  2. Steam the egg covered for 15 minutes on medium heat. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and steam for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Check her site for a microwave alternative.

  2 Responses to “Korean Side: Steamed Egg (계란찜)”

  1. Ben used to HATE eggs, but slowly after nearly 3 years together I finally got him (occassionally) downing a scrambled egg and even, wait for it, a poached egg – which he totally loved. Now, I think these steamed eggs are in order! LOVE IT! ~Megan

    • Go you! Especially on the poached egg! Did he have a bad experience with eggs? This is good! You can eat with rice but it’s good on its own, too (I think. :) )

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