I think it was because I read too many British books, but I loved sandwiches as a child.
Freaking loved them. Not just because they tasted good, but because they are…well, they’re sandwiches. They’re so…tea party British-like! I got mad when my mother refused to cut the dark crusts out into a perfect white triangular sandwich, but now I’m glad she didn’t indulge my whims because cutting out the crusts is such a waste!
I remember when I was in first grade, there would be this girl in the bus who always had a ham and “butter” sandwich—without the crust. It was just a simple white bread slathered with margarine (because butter was considered evil at the time) with two slices of pink processed pork.
I had dreams about that sandwich. That girl. She would eat the sandwich layer by layer, in such an elaborate ritual that I would just stare, half-drooling and stomach growling.
I asked my mom to make me ham sandwiches too, but it was just never the same. My mom didn’t use the fluffy, snowy-white breads; she used wholemeal ones and in the early 90s, commercial whole-grain bread just tasted like cardboard. Also, she refused to cut the crusts out. Sigh. It just wasn’t the same.
And then one day, the girl (I’m blanking out on her name, I think it was Claire) got tired of her sandwich, so she offered one piece to me.
It was the best thing I had ever eaten in my life—even better than my favorite lasagna at Milano’s or the ice cream cone at McDonald’s. But then the girl had to spoil it; she accused me of copying her way of eating by layers. She didn’t give me another sandwich since.
Poo to her. I can now make all the ham and butter sandwiches I want, with real white bread and real butter. Except I came across another grand sandwich in Korea that made me forget about the plain ham sandwich.
In Korea, there are these street carts selling egg toasts. There’ll be a giant umbrella shading the ahjumma who griddles these thick slices of bread in butter, which crisps up next to some egg mixture frying.
It smells AMAZING. You could have had a big breakfast, and your stomach will still wail for an egg toast and you pass those stands.
It’s not just a regular egg sandwich. It is THE Korean egg toast sandwich. It’s fabulous, and as part of this month’s challenge from Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger Program, I’m going to share with you the recipe to my childhood favorite food.
Okay, this is going to be a step-by-step process, even though this recipe is ridiculously easy and needs no recipe at all. Please don’t think I’m insulting your intelligence by showing you how to make this easy-peasy sandwich; I’m simply indulging myself and besides, pictures are fun, la la la.
Korean Egg Toast Sandwich
- salt & pepper
- white bread
- brown sugar
Before we proceed, a word on the ingredients. I used Hormel’s Natural Choice Smoked Ham:
And make sure you use real butter. It makes a difference!
You also don’t have to use carrots. You can use onions if you want, and maybe even a sprinkle of green onions.
Okay. Now. Let’s start cooking!
Chop up some cabbage very finely.
Chop up some carrots roughly.
Depending on how much cabbage and carrots you’ve chopped up, you’re going to have to adjust the amount of eggs you use. Whisk them in a bowl:
Add in the vegetables:
Mix and season with salt and pepper:
Cut up a chunk of butter. At least a tablespoon, there you have it.
Heat up a skillet with butter, wait till butter has melted into a golden puddle:
Then stick two slices of white bread in there:
Toast until golden brown on each sides.
Slide them out and place a slice of ham on each bread.
In the same skillet, add a bit more butter if necessary, and then pour the egg mixture in there:
This is so similar to another Korean dish called gaeran mari (rolled omelet). Once the bottom is nicely cooked and the topped semi-cooked, flip it over.
You might want to make a bigger sized omelet than needed. I did, with five eggs, and kept the leftover for dinner.
Anyway, take however much of egg you want, and plop it on one of the bread slices:
I like not letting the inside of the omelet to completely set, so that it’s even creamier and richer.
Top the other slice on top of the eggy slice, and slide the sandwich back into the pan, just to crisp up the bread a bit again. Dust each side with brown sugar, and let it caramelize.
Yes, my friend, brown sugar. That’s the secret. It transforms the humble egg sandwich to an extravagant french toast-like deliciousness.
Seriously. Trust me on this. You’ll worship me for this. Or worship the first genius ahjumma who thought this up. I love Korean ahjummas. They are so freaking wise.
And then, just like that, there you go. a hot, multi-decked egg toast sandwich.
I left the crusts, because I happen to like crusts now. It’s a textural thing.
You can eat it whole, or cut it into triangles. I like them in triangles just because it feels extra special in a way.
Isn’t it just gorgeous? Some people like mayo and ketchup in it too, but I think the mayo + butter combination is fat overkill. You don’t want to coat up all your palate with richness.
But I think ketchup is awesome with this. It brings a nice balance of tartness.
The vegetables in there really bring sort of a coleslaw-like crunch into the egg. It’s lovely. And hey, there’s vegetables in this sandwich, so it’s healthy!
I can’t believe I forgot about this sandwich for so long. I need to start digging more into my childhood memories, because for some reason, a lot of them have to do with food.
Question of the Day: What was your favorite childhood food?