It was likely a late-night YouTube rabbit hole that first led me to discover Korean street toast. Naturally, I was intrigued. Thick, buttery, toasted bread, slathered in ketchup and mayo which hug a warm egg and veggie patty. Really, what is there not to love? (They had me at thick and buttery.) However, the part of Korean street toast that I was most intrigued by was the use of sugar. As I scrolled video after video of the popular Korean street-food breakfast meal, I couldn’t get over the need for it in a sandwich. A part of me judged it. Especially, since some recipes called for as much as a tablespoon of white sugar per sandwich. Nonetheless, I forged ahead since most recipes call for a ridiculous amount of butter and absurdly thick slices of toast!
To start, you’ll need about two lightly-packed cups of either cabbage or kale. I mix the two, using one and a half cups of cabbage and a half cup of kale. But, whatever ratio of either should work just as long as they are sliced razor-thin. I used a vegetable peeler to thinly slice out enough cabbage. Though, a sharp knife could do the trick, as it does when I prepare the kale. I then add the vegetables to a bowl along with the salt, pepper, and cayenne. I work the salt into the cruciferous vegetables by mashing it together with tight, squeezing motions for about 15 seconds. This will help break down and soften the vegetables.
Next, I add the egg and mix it in, while I preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot enough, I plop in a fat pat of butter allowing it to sizzle just before adding the vegetable and egg mixture. I find using two spatulas helpful for the task of coaxing the vegetable and egg into a patty that matches the size of your toast by gently pushing in the sides and mashing down the top. The two spatulas also come in handy when its time to flip the patty.
At this point, I start frying my thickly sliced and buttered pieces of bread until they are golden on both sides. Once the patty is done and the bread is toasty and golden, I assemble the sandwich. I start by laying a slice of toast down and sprinkling onto it a half teaspoon of sugar. Yes, it is strange, but it makes a huge difference. It’s a nice balance to the bitterness of the cabbage and kale. Then, just like a bricklayer, I stack-up the rest of my sandwich with a slathering of mayonnaise, the vegetable patty, a zig-zag squeeze of ketchup, and lastly, the other slice of golden toast.
Bon appetit! Or better yet, 맛있게 모고 (Mashike mogo!)
Korean Street Toast
Makes one sandwich
2 very thick slices of white bread (Kastenbrot in Germany, cut at least 1½ – 2 cm thick
butter for toast, plus extra for cooking the veggie patty
2 cups, lightly packed; thinly sliced cabbage or kale
2 tablespoons onion, minced
½ teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for toast
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon sugar, more if you’re willing
2 -3 teaspoons mayonnaise
generous squeeze of ketchup
Start by preparing your bread. Butter both sides of both pieces liberally and sprinkle with salt.
Add the cabbage, kale, or mixture of both, along with the onion, sea salt, black pepper and cayenne to a bowl.
Using a clean hand (or hands) mash the vegetable along with the seasonings by crunching the veg with your closed fist (or fists). The salt will help to break down the vegetables and soften them. Next, add the egg as mix in using a fork or your hand.
Now, preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. A pan large enough to fit your patty and the bread is most helpful. Once the pan is hot enough, add a thick pat of butter to the pan, spreading the butter for maximum coverage. Then, add the vegetable mixture to the pan. Using a spatula (two spatulas are especially helpful), shape the vegetable a patty roughly the size of your bread. Any leakage of egg from the patty can be easily coaxed back into the vegetable. After 2 minutes, flip the patty —once again, a second spatula can be helpful.
Once your patty is almost cooked through, which takes about 2 minutes, begin toasting your bread in the pan until golden.
When the patty is cooked through and the bread has toasted, you can assemble your sandwich.
Sprinkle a piece of toast with one-half teaspoon of sugar (more if you dare). Then, slather onto the mayonnaise. Top the bottom toast with the still very warm patty. Top the patty with a generous squeeze of ketchup and crown your sandwich with the other slice of toast. Cut at a diagnal and enjoy!
The sandwich is best eaten warm.
Consider adding cheese and sliced ham.