Cycle 4 – Item 198
22 (Mon) July 2013
Beef & Egg Jangjorim
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
Jangjorim (장조림) is a Korean dish. Cubes of meat – usually beef, often a lean cut, such as shoulder/flank – are immersed in a blend of soy sauce and water, seasoned with sugar and black pepper, maybe garlic and/or ginger, then braised over low heat for an hour or more until the flesh is tender and the seasonings have thoroughly penetrated all the way through. Eggs, boiled and peeled, are often tossed in at the last few minutes. After refrigerating, any residual fat coagulated on the surface of the braising liquid is skimmed and discarded. The meat, as well as the egg, may be served as is or sliced into thinner pieces, along with the braising liquid. Sweet and savory, it makes for an excellent side dish with steamed rice. And because it can be made in large batches and holds well for long periods, and doesn’t require reheating prior to eating, it’s convenient.
Every source that I consulted, from on-line websites to Mom and MIL, all differed in the ingredients and amounts involved, as well as methodologies. Because the concept is so simple, however, I’m sure that the final product would taste more or less the same, and always tasty, no matter what. In developing my recipe, I tried to simplify steps to the point where it can be replicated using widely available ingredients, without too much fuss.
- 500 grams beef brisket
- 1 liter water
- 10 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp peppercorns
- 1/2 cup (about 120 ml) soy sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 10 small eggs
- 1 tsp vinegar
TIP: Most recipes call for hongduggaesal (홍두깨살) (eye of round), a relatively lean cut, but I prefer brisket because the fat tends to keep the meat juicier, especially after it’s been chilled.
1. Cut the meat into large cubes, each about 4-cm to a side.
2. Combine the meat and water in a pot, such that the meat is completely submerged in the water, along with the garlic and peppercorns (additional aromatics, such as onion, scallion, radish, would be welcome here), and bring to a boil on high heat.
TIP: For these types of boiled preparations, Koreans typically soak the meat in water for several hours to extract the blood, which they believe imparts an off-odor. As seen above, the blood immediately begins to seep out once the meat is placed in the water. But I’m of the belief that the blood is largely what gives the beef its flavor, so I never do. In any case, the blood and other impurities come out during the boil, which can be skimmed off, as seen below.
3. Reduce the heat to low-medium, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming the foam on the surface.
4. Discard the aromatics, add the soy sauce and sugar, and simmer for 45 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cook the eggs along with the vinegar to a soft-boil, just enough so that the whites have set.
6. Peel the eggs and add them to the pot with the meat in the final minute of cooking.
TIP: The longer the eggs are cooked in the broth, the more soy flavor will infuse into the whites, but then the yolks will overcook. They’ll be served with the broth anyway, so the whites don’t really need much flavor, especially at the expense of creamy yolks.
7. Turn off the heat and allow the contents to cool down to room temperature.
8. Cut the meat against the grain into thin strips or tear with the grain into smaller strips.
9. Serve the jangjorim with steamed rice.
TIP: Leftovers may be refrigerated and eaten chilled (skim off coagulated fat floating on the surface of the sauce, if any).
TIP: After all the meat and eggs have been consumed, don’t throw away the sauce but use it make another batch of eggs; small pre-boiled baby potatoes also work great.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)