The simple perfection of fried eggs and white rice

Many cultures have some variation of egg rice. It’s one of those dishes that we don’t really talk about because it’s so basic: fried egg...


Many cultures have some variation of egg rice. It’s one of those dishes that we don’t really talk about because it’s so basic: fried eggs, white rice and something for seasoning. In South Korea, it’s called gyéran bap, which translates to “egg rice,” with soy sauce, sesame oil and often a touch of butter. In Japan, it is tamago kake gohan (“egg on rice”), but in this version, the egg is crushed raw in a bowl of warm, fresh white rice, then puffed up with chopsticks into a creamy, comforting wonder. An Indonesian variant, nasi telur ceplok (“Fried egg served on rice”), uses kecap manis, a thick, sweet soy sauce with molasses. Puerto Rican Arroz un caballo (“Rice on horseback”) often includes corned beef. Rice with eggs is a lot like ordering coffee; everyone does it a little differently. Some say they overcome theirs with furikake, shallots or crispy chili. Novelist Alexander Chee told me that his father made him egg rice with the fried egg on the bottom and the fresh rice, straight out of the rice cooker, above. “It was the only thing he could cook,” Chee said. That and fried Vienna sausages.

Patrick Faloon, a scientist from Cambridge, Mass., Cooks two eggs easily and eats them with Kokuho Rose sushi rice sprinkled with bagel seasoning. “As a bachelor, I always had leftover rice, and cooking a few eggs was quick for a weeknight meal,” he said. The inclusion of the seasoning happened naturally: “I thought it contained sesame seeds so that should work, but the dried onion and salt definitely added more flavor than what.” I expected. Also, adding it at the last minute gave it some texture. About five years ago, Faloon discovered the combo, slowly growing richer over time, depending on what he had in his pantry and refrigerator. These days, it piles up on kimchi and roasted vegetables.

My mom would fry the eggs in vegetable oil, break the yolk and turn the egg over so that everything was cooked. Sparkling white on dull yellow, our house fried eggs were always accompanied by rice. But egg rice is one of those dishes that grows with you. As I got older and started making it on my own, I found that frying the eggs upside down in a little bit of butter meant that the butter had a chance to brown, adding that characteristic nutty, and the yolks remained rich. and flowing, which I prefer now. I later learned that a drizzle of soy sauce added directly to the pot gave the sauce a chance to bubble and caramelize, creating a salty pool in which the eggs could cook, the whites swelling and smearing on their sides. edges. You can fry eggs in almost anything, like sesame oil, ghee, and even cream, but butter and soy sauce are a divine combination. One last shower of gim – roasted seaweed – amplifies umami with every bite. A single five gram packet will do.

When Dang was pregnant, her doctor told her that she should stop eating runny egg yolks. It was harder for her than giving up the caffeine or even carrying the baby, who is now 5 months old. “I thought about it every day,” she says. “It was the first thing I did to myself when I got home from the hospital. I was like, ‘I need a runny yellow, and I need it now.’ “

Recipe: Gyeran Bap (rice with eggs)

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