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When I go to a korean restaurant and order BeBimBap, there is usually an egg placed on top that is done over-medium/over-soft. How do I know if the food I prepared is at the right temperature to do this?

I'd like to be able to do this to other foods, like steaks, or hash browns, not just make BeBimBap.

Note: I'm not concerned about safety. I'm interested in the texture of the half-cooked egg, and keeping the yolk fluid.

  • I’m going to do an experiment and post it in a bit as an answer, but I think the key is that the egg is dropped on top and is cooked in the oven or under the broiler. BeBimBap is traditionally served in a hot stone bowl, and when I have had it in restaurants it has stuck a little to the bowl (the rice anyway), which tells me that the whole bowl of food, including the egg, is heated. – Jolenealaska Aug 10 '15 at 18:09
  • There are many example of dishes (including bebimbap) where the egg (generally raw yolk) is the last addition...and the dish is not returned to the oven. Pasta carbonara comes to mind, as does ramem. While the egg will get heated, I am doubtful that there is any cooking (to the point of killing potential bacteria) going on. I think we mainly trust that the yolk will be safe to eat. – moscafj Aug 10 '15 at 18:14
  • I don't know if the OP is concerned about safety (a lot of people eat raw or extremely undercooked eggs), and I have often added a fried egg on the top of various dishes. If it's scrambled (as in for carbonara), just the fact that the pasta is hot is enough to thicken the egg. It won't make for an aesthetically pleasing egg to just put a whole egg on top of a warm dish. A whole egg either has to be cooked in advance or cooked on top of the dish. – Jolenealaska Aug 10 '15 at 18:42
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    @Jolenealaska FWIW, when I make carbonara, I separate white and yolk. The white is mixed with the cheese and black pepper and added to the pasta off the heat. Then, in my final plating, I place the raw yolk on top of the serving of pasta. – moscafj Aug 10 '15 at 20:05
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    @Catija I guess so. I thought it was pretty clear that cracking a raw egg over bibimbap wouldn't result in an over-medium egg placed on top, at any temperature. – Cascabel Aug 10 '15 at 22:12
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There is some slight confusion but there are two methods for this. You either cook the egg separately, which is how they make BiBimBop or you poach or bake the eggs if you cook the egg on top of your food. With the latter method, the eggs generally cook very quickly so it doesn't take a lot of time but you are still cooking the egg using a heat source, you are not relying on the food to cook the egg for you.

When you make BiBimBop using a whole egg, you fry the egg in a pan before you place it on top of the food. This is why the egg often has a bit of browning around the edges of the white.

Here's an image of a BiBimBop with a whole egg:

BiBimBop with whole egg

There is a "how to make BiBimBop" video here that shows (around 8:50 in) that you cook the egg separately and place it on top of the finished bowl.

The other option is to bake or poach the egg by placing them on top of the food (which is still on the stove) and then covering the pan (or putting it in the oven) to essentially steam the egg, which is often used for hash. This gives a different final product than frying the egg and placing it on top, as the steam will cook the top of the egg while the still-cooking food heats the bottom.

Here's a video of Venison Hash where they use this method at around 5:05.

And here's a recipe that uses the oven version of this method.

Image of hash with eggs

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The temperature of the food is mainly irrelevant, as you are not cooking the egg. It is not making the egg any safer to eat. You run the same risk whether you crack a raw egg into a glass and drink it, or top your steak with it.

If you like raw egg, find a source you trust and go for it.

If you are looking for a pasteurized or cooked egg, there are a number of ways to do that and add it to your food. In fact, you can pasteurize an egg (ensuring its safety) by cooking it in a water bath at 57 degrees Celsius for two hours. It will be safe, but look raw. You can, of course, get other consistencies (and safety) at other times and temperatures.

Using a low temperature water bath (sous vide) for you egg cookery, you can dial in on the exact texture you like...with the added benefit of no safety issues. Without dealing with your eggs as an independent ingredient, I think this would be difficult to gauge for something like a steak or hash browns. Having said that, see my comment about carbonara above, for example.

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    If it's not cooked, why does the white of the egg congeal, and become opaque? – Eris Aug 10 '15 at 18:10
  • From a food safety point of view, no it's not cooked ... but if the food's too cold you'll just have a raw egg sitting on top of the food, which is rarely the goal. You'd need at least 158°F ... but I have no idea what the ideal temp is (or how much it varies by what you're placing it on) – Joe Aug 10 '15 at 18:12
  • @eris egg yolk and egg white cook at very different temperatures. – moscafj Aug 10 '15 at 18:15

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