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Mayak Eggs (Korean Marinated Eggs)

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Mayak eggs, also known as Korean marinated eggs, are eggs that are marinated in a blend of soy sauce, garlic, chili peppers, and sesame seeds. Sweet, savory, and utterly irresistible, these umami-packed gems will have you addicted, just as their name “drug eggs” suggests.

mayak eggs or korean marinated eggs in a bowl on top of steamed rice

Don’t these yolk look super sexy?!

Mayak eggs are Korean marinated eggs that are served as a banchan (Korean side dish). Have you tried them yet? They’re not your regular soft-boiled eggs; the outer layer of the eggs absorbs this heavenly marinade, making them taste fantastic. The fabulous sauce mixed with a bite of these jammy eggs is what makes them oh-so irresistible.

My favorite banchan of all time is traditional kimchi, as well as ojingeochae muchim (Korean spicy dried squid) and kongjang (soy-braised soybeans). But I love to vary my side dishes when eating at home, and the more banchan on the table, the better 🙂 Oh, and even better is enjoying my Korean mom’s banchan!

What are mayak eggs?

Mayak eggs (마약계란 – mayak gyeran) are soft-boiled eggs that are marinated in a savory and slightly sweet sauce made with soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, chili peppers, spring onions and sesame seeds.

The eggs are typically boiled (but not fully cooked, to achieve a luscious, glamorous yolk), then peeled and soaked in the flavorful marinade for several hours or overnight, allowing them to absorb the rich umami flavors.

For the story, the term “mayak” (마약) translates to “drug” in Korean, and it is believed that the name may have originated due to the addictive and irresistible nature of these marinated eggs, which are said to be as addictive as drugs.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE

  • Irresistible flavor. You won’t be able to resist their addictive taste. The combination of umami-rich ingredients creates a burst of deliciousness that can be incredibly satisfying.
  • Unique texture. The contrasting texture of the jammy yolk and the slightly firm white can be appealing to those who enjoy a variety of textures in their food.
  • Nutritious option. Eggs are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, making mayak eggs a nutritious option for a satisfying snack or meal addition.
  • Meal prep option. You can prepare them in advance and store them in the refrigerator, making it a convenient meal prep option. They can be packed as a protein-packed snack for on-the-go or used as a topping or side dish for meals throughout the week.

korean mayak eggs in a bowl with rice

Ingredients

  • eggs – I usually use large eggs but any size will do fine. Just remember to test the cooking time since smaller-sized eggs may take less time to cook. You can use both room temperature and refrigerated eggs. I used room temperature eggs however if you are using cold eggs, I’d suggest cooking them for 30 more seconds (so around 6 minutes 30 seconds).
  • ice cubes – prepare an ice bath to drop the eggs in after cooking. This will stop the cooking process and help peel the eggs.
  • sesame oil – drizzle a dash of sesame oil before enjoying mayak eggs.
  • white vinegar – adding vinegar and salt to the boiling water helps break down the eggshells and makes it easier to peel them later on since soft-boiled eggs are harder to peel.
  • salt – see above.

marinade

  • water
  • soy sauce – use regular soy sauce. Make sure not to use dark or sweet soy sauce.
  • rice vinegar – rice vinegar adds a subtle tanginess to the marinade without overpowering the other flavors.
  • sugar – sugar adds a touch of sweetness to the marinade. You can substitute it with honey but my preference goes for sugar for a neutral taste.
  • garlic – you can mince the garlic, but crushing it with a garlic press is even better to extract all the flavorful garlic juice.
  • toasted sesame seeds – toasting sesame seeds enhances their natural oils and releases their aroma, giving them a more intense flavor compared to untoasted sesame seeds. When added to the marinade, toasted sesame seeds contribute to the overall umami profile of the dish, complementing the other ingredients.
  • spring onions – spring onions (together with chilies) bring some aromatics to the marinade
  • green chili pepper – make sure you sure mild chili peppers (the big ones rather than the small ones)
  • red chili pepper – same as above.
mayak eggs ingredients

How To Make Mayak Eggs?

  1. Make the marinade – In a bowl, combine water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and garlic. Mix together. Then add in toasted sesame seeds, spring onion and chili peppers.
marinade of mayak eggs in a container
  1. Cook the eggs – In a pot, bring water to a boil with salt and vinegar over medium-high heat (enough water to cover all eggs). Place the eggs in and cook uncovered for 6 minutes.

TIP: adding salt and vinegar to the water before boiling helps to break the eggshells, making it easier to peel the eggs later. Soft-boiled eggs can sometimes be difficult to peel due to the shell sticking to the egg white. The addition of salt and vinegar to the boiling water facilitates the peeling process, making it much easier.

  1. Immediately, transfer them to an ice water bath to stop them from cooking. Allow the eggs to cool completely (10 minutes). Then peel them carefully.

TIP: once cooking time is up, immediately transfer the eggs to the ice bath so that they stop cooking. Transferring eggs to an ice bath after boiling them can also make it easier to peel the shells due to the temperature shock. The rapid cooling caused by the ice bath helps to contract the egg whites, creating a gap between the egg white and the shell.

  1. In an airtight container, pour the marinade and add the eggs so that they are completely submerged in the marinade.
eggs in the mayak eggs marinade
  1. Keep them in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to overnight.
mayak egg after marinating
  1. Serve – to serve, place the eggs on top of a bowl of warm rice, drizzle a teaspoon of sesame oil and pour some of the marinade sauce.

Additions and substitutions

  • Sesame oil – a small amount of sesame oil can add an additional layer of nutty flavor to the marinade, complementing the toasted sesame seeds.
  • Honey or brown sugar – for a slightly sweeter marinade, you can add honey or brown sugar to balance out the savory and spicy flavors.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – if you prefer a spicier version, you can add crushed red pepper flakes or gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) to the marinade for some extra heat.

How to serve mayak eggs?

  • Banchan (Korean side dish) – mayak eggs can be included as part of a traditional Korean meal, alongside other banchan.
  • Salad topping – sliced mayak eggs can be used as a topping for salads, adding a burst of flavor and protein to your greens. They can complement various types of salads, from simple green salads to hearty grain-based salads.
  • Rice or noodle bowl – mayak eggs can be sliced or halved and used as a topping for rice or noodle bowls. The savory, slightly sweet flavor of the eggs pairs well with the rice/noodles and other ingredients in the bowl, creating a delicious and satisfying meal.

Mayak eggs are usually served with a bowl of steamed rice however the eggs are eaten cold. So there is no need to reheat them after marinating.

How To Store

Place the eggs, along with the marinade, in an airtight container or a covered bowl then store it in the refrigerator, ensuring that it is tightly sealed to prevent any air from entering.

Mayak eggs can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days, but their flavor may intensify with time as they continue to absorb the marinade.

Emma’s Tips

  • Don’t forget to add salt and vinegar before boiling the water – not doing so may make it harder for you to peel the shells, eventually breaking the eggs – experience speaking 🙂
  • Test cooking time – depending on the type of stove you have and depending on the exact size of your eggs, the cooking time may vary in order to achieve the desired luscious yolk consistency. So, if that’s the first time you’re making mayak eggs, I’d suggest running a test with one egg first. Typically room temperature eggs take around 6 minutes, and refrigerated eggs around 6 minutes and 30 seconds.
  • Carefully peel the eggs – be gentle when you peel the eggshells. Since these are soft-boiled eggs, you can easily break the eggs or damage their surface.
  • Use fresh eggs – fresh eggs with firm whites and vibrant yolks will result in better-tasting mayak eggs.
  • Use toasted sesame seeds – toasted sesame seeds add a nutty and aromatic flavor to the marinade, so make sure you toast them.
  • Marinate for sufficient time – allow the eggs to marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight to ensure that they absorb the rich umami flavors. Do not shorten the marinating time.

RECIPE FAQ

6 hours or overnight.

Yes, you can use quail eggs to make mayak eggs. The basic process of boiling the eggs and marinating them can be applied to different types of eggs. However, keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the size and type of eggs you use. Quail eggs, for example, are smaller and may require less cooking time compared to chicken eggs.

Yes, you can adjust the recipe to make mayak eggs less sweet or spicy according to your taste preferences.

To make mayak eggs less sweet, you can reduce the amount of sugar or honey in the marinade. Start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste.

To make mayak eggs less spicy, you can reduce or omit the amount of chili pepper in the marinade.

It is not recommended to freeze mayak eggs, as the texture and flavor of the eggs may be adversely affected. Freezing and thawing can cause the eggs to become watery and lose their desired consistency. Mayak eggs are best enjoyed fresh, and any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days for optimal taste and quality.

mayak eggs

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mayak eggs - korean marinated eggs

Mayak Eggs – Korean Marinated Eggs (EASY!)

Mayak eggs, also known as Korean marinated eggs, are eggs that are marinated in a blend of soy sauce, garlic, chili peppers, and sesame seeds. Sweet, savoury, and utterly irresistible, these umami-packed gems will have you addicted, just as their name "drug eggs" suggests.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 21 minutes
Servings: 6 eggs
Calories per serving: 127kcal
Author: Emma Choi

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • ice cubes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil | for serving
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp salt

marinade

  • 120 ml water
  • 120 ml soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 45 g sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 spring onions , chopped
  • 1 mild green chili pepper , sliced or chopped
  • 1 mild red chili pepper , sliced or chopped

Instructions

  • Make the marinade – In a bowl, combine water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and garlic. Mix together. Then add in toasted sesame seeds, spring onion and chili peppers.
  • Cook the eggs – In a pot, bring water to a boil with salt and vinegar over medium-high heat (enough water to cover all eggs). Place the eggs in and cook uncovered for 6 minutes (Note 2).
  • Immediately, transfer them to an ice water bath to stop them from cooking. Allow the eggs to cool completely (10 minutes). Then peel them carefully.
  • In an airtight container, pour the marinade and add the eggs so that they are completely submerged in the marinade.
  • Keep them in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to overnight.
  • Serve – to serve, place the eggs on top of a bowl of warm rice, drizzle a teaspoon of sesame oil and pour some of the marinade sauce (Note 3).

Notes

1. Salt and vinegar help peel the eggshells more easily afterwards. When eggs aren’t fully cooked, it can be harder to peel the shell without slightly damaging its surface.
2. Cooking time – cooking time may slightly vary depending on the type and strength of your stove. In general cooking time should vary between 6 and 6 ½ minutes. If you like your eggs a little more cooked, try cooking the eggs for about 7 minutes.
3. Serving – serve the eggs with a bowl of steamed rice and drizzle some sesame oil on top. The eggs are eaten cold, they do not need to be reheated.
4. Chili peppers – use the big ones (in Korea, we use Cheongyang chili peppers) which are milder. The small and spicier chili peppers are not appropriate to make mayak eggs unless you want your marinade and sauce extremely spicy.

 

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 8gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 2365mgPotassium: 148mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 349IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg
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