What Is Jjim?

H. Bliss

Jjim is a Korean method for preparing meat or eggs by boiling or steaming. The meat is generally marinated, and is steamed in broth or sauce. The preparation for this dish varies, depending on the type of meat the part of Korea that it comes from. Some types of jjim are marinated in broth and then steamed, and other types are cooked in broth until the broth reduces. Meats used in this dish can vary widely, but generally include beef, shellfish, or chicken, or a mixture of one or more types of meat. Marinated grilled pork is also sometimes used in this dish.

Jjim is a Korean method for preparing meat or eggs by boiling or steaming.
Jjim is a Korean method for preparing meat or eggs by boiling or steaming.

One of the most well-known varieties of this dish is galbi jjim, or Korean braised beef short ribs. This dish is common in Korea as well as in Korean restaurants outside of Korea. These short ribs are made by first creating a beef broth by simmering the short ribs and some stock vegetables in water. Once the water has turned to a hearty broth, it is drained, flavored with more vegetables, like garlic, onion, and ginger as well as fruits like kiwi and apple pear. Acidic fruit is added to this dish to tenderize the meat, but it is included sparingly to avoid over tenderizing the meat or changing the flavor of the dish.

Chicken jjim is called jjimdak. How jjimdak is prepared varies regionally, but it is almost always steamed chicken and vegetables in a broth flavored with soy sauce. Some varieties of this dish are exceptionally spicy, and some are served with seafood mixed in with the chicken.

The egg variety of jjim is called gyeran jjim or gyeranmalyee. A common side dish at many meals, it is made by whipping eggs in heated broth until it cooks and becomes fluffy. This dish can be somewhat difficult to make because it requires constant whipping and attention to achieve the desired texture.

Gyeran jjim is similar to an omelet, because the egg is scrambled and mixed with vegetables and flavorings, but it is whipped and steamed instead of pan-cooked. Vegetables in this dish typically include carrots and onions, can vary, depending on what the diner prefers. Flavorings in the eggs usually include seasonings like salt and pepper, sesame seeds, and sometimes fish sauce.

Egg jjim generally comes in single servings, but other types of jjim can be single-serving or family-style, depending on where it is served. The size of the vegetable pieces in this dish also depends on the preference of the cook. Some cooks cut them into bite-size pieces, while others leave the vegetables nearly whole when the dish is served.

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