Tamago-Yaki, it’s Sunshine on a Plate!


Tamago-yaki is a perfect way to ease in to a lazy sunday morning, and seems especially good when the sun is shining!  The name translates literally as “grilled” or “fried” egg, created by rolling thin layers of egg mixture flavoured with soy and sake, and sweetened with sugar and mirin. A special rectangular Tamago pan is often used, which helps create the neat sides of the finished omelette, although I’m sure a regular pan would still give good results.

Until fairly recently, I think my experience of Tamago-yaki has mainly been of the mass made, factory variety – almost toxic yellow in colour, processed texture and not fresh at all (used in the majority of sushi chains around London and even many restaurants). Freshly made home cooked Tamagoyaki, on the contrary is totally delicious and so quick to make.

Substantial enough to eat on its own or cooked plain for a topping to sushi rice, I’ve been trying lots of variations recently (to feed my slight addiction). My first attempt was guided by Reiko Hashimoto’s recipe in Hashi Cooking and contained good quality smoked ham and english chives (recipe below). However I’ve also had them plain, or with minced prawns and chinese chives, shiitake mushrooms, shredded nori, sliced spring onions etc. etc. – the options are endless and can be based on whatever you have left in the fridge. Serve with some grated daikon seasoned with a little soy, or cucumber if you can’t get hold of daikon for a little freshness. I sometimes top this with a dollop of salmon roe, another very tasty addition!

Here’s the recipe from Hashi Cooking….let the good times roll.

Ingredients (makes 2 rolls, serves 4)
6 Large eggs
3 tbsp finely chopped chives
60g finely chopped smoked ham
1 tspn instant dashi powder
1 tbsp mirin
2 tspn caster sugar
1 tspn soy sauce
pinch salt
veg oil for cooking
Garnish – grated daikon, shiso leaves, few drops of soy

Mix all the ingredients for the omelette in a large bowl or jug and stir well.

Heat the Tamago Pan over a medium heat and brush a little vegetable oil on the base and sides of the pan, coating evenly.

Pour about 10% of the egg mixture into the pan and tilt the pan to coat the base evenly. When the egg starts to set, lift up the edge on one side and roll upwards using chopsticks or a spatula – make sure you roll while the surface of the egg is still wet so the layers stick together. I found it helped to keep the heat very low on my first few attempts, buying more time to roll before the egg sets as it can be a bit fiddly the first couple of times.

Grease the empty part of the pan again, keeping the rolled omelette at the side of the pan furthest from you.  Then quickly pour another 10% of the mixture, tilting to cover the empty side of the pan, and lifting the roll up to allow the egg to run underneath. When it looks half set, roll the omelette backwards until you get to the other side.

And keep going – until you have used up about half the mixture.  Once it’s rolled, I let the outside colour just a little, then remove from the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes.  Make the second omelette with the remaining egg mix.

Once the omelette has rested for 5 minutes, slice into 2.5cm thick slices (or thinner if using as a sushi topping), and serve with the grated daikon and chopped shiso leaves, and a few drops of soy.


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