Japanese Tamago(yaki)… rolled egg omelette. My husband and I love sushi. I think our favorite has got to be the nigiri style sushi… though I’ll be honest, we will enjoy any type of sushi really:). Sushi has become our little treat from time to time…. more like a few times a year(when we travel). But dining out on sushi can get to be quite expensive, so we don’t do it often. I’ve managed over the years to really enjoy making sushi at home… however amateurish it may turn out:).
Living in Montana has limited our access to fresh fish… but we’ve been able to find some great ahi tuna every once in a while. And we’ve had the most amazing fish flown in and delivered to our doorstep on dry ice…. courtesy of my brother as a surprise for my birthday:). Super fresh fish! But these options can be quite expensive, so I like to change the sushi platter a bit by improvising and using what’s readily available to me…. making vegetarian avocado rolls, shrimp rolls, and even some tamagoyaki. When I really want to “stretch” the platter, I include a couple of Japanese onigri snack “cakes”.
While the tamago can vary from recipe to recipe, the usual ingredients include, eggs, sugar, and mirin. Sometimes soy sauce is added to the tamago as well. There are lots of variations. Tamago has a slight sweet flavor, and for me it can even pass for dessert. But in Japan, the tamago is usually served as part of the sushi meal. You will find lots of uses for tamago, and depending on the chef, it can vary quite a bit in flavor, texture, and the way it’s used. But a great tamago is always fluffy and moist, almost souffle-like…
Making tamago at home gives you the flexibility to adjust flavors according to personal taste. This is what I did with my tamago. I ‘ll be honest, I like the sugar to be minimal in my tamago, so I reduced the sugar amount. I also substituted coconut aminos for the soy sauce, added some rice vinegar as I had no mirin on hand, and used a bit of water instead of dashi. Because I had some chives, I added a tiny bit to the beaten eggs, just to boost the flavor. You can definitely make the traditional tamago, with traditional ingredients… but the substitutions work remarkably well.
Normally a tamago rectangular pan is used when making tamago, but a small 6 inch round non-stick skillet works just as well. And while I used only 2 eggs for my recipe, 4 eggs will be better, especially if you want a taller tamago. You can just double the recipe.
I’ve posted a simple recipe, but you can be quite creative when it comes to making tamago. You can fill it with all sorts of fillings, onion, mushrooms, fish, etc…. it then becomes more like a rolled omelette. If you like, you can also make a bicolor tamago that looks like a real egg, which is super cute… like this.
But if you’ve ever wanted to try something different with eggs, you might want to try the tamago. It’s fun to make(though it takes a bit of practice)… and it’s delicious! It’s great as an appetizer, an addition to a sushi platter, served over rice, or even eaten as a snack… gluten-free, too. Hope you enjoy…
Note: When cooking the tamago, it is important to control the temperature of the pan. If the heat is too weak, the egg will stick to the frying pan, making it quite frustrating to roll. If too hot, the egg will burn and cook to quickly. I found it best to work with a medium/low heat on my electric stovetop… and lifting the frying pan off the heat, rather than adjusting the stove heat.
You will need: can easily double, especially if you want a taller and thicker tamago.
2 ex large eggs
1/2 – 1 tsp sugar, or to taste
1 tsp rice vinegar (or mirin)
1 tsp soy sauce (I used coconut aminos)
2 tsps dashi stock (or even water)
pinch of salt
Totally optional: but tasty
2 tsps minced chives
oil, as needed
sushi rice, nori, soy sauce (coconut aminos)
1. Crack eggs in a bowl. You can lightly mix if you want.
2. Add the sugar, vinegar (or mirin), soy sauce (or coconut aminos), dashi stock (or water) and season with a pinch of salt. Stir in chopped chives (if using)… or even bonito flakes for additional flavor.
3. Whisk to combine… gently, so as not to incorporate too much air.
4. Heat a small (6 inch) non skillet pan (or tamago rectangular pan) on medium heat.
5. Add a bit of oil and test the heat of the pan by adding a bit of egg to see if it’s hot enough. If the pan is not hot enough, the egg will stick and make it quite difficult to roll.
You will need to adjust heat throughout the cooking process, so as not to over-brown the omelette. Mine was good throughout at a med/low heat. You can always lift the frying pan off the heat to cool it down if it gets too hot.
6. When the pan is ready, pour a thin layer of egg mixture in the pan. Tilt to cover the bottom of the pan, as you would be making crepes.
7. When the bottom of the egg has set (you still want it to be a bit moist on top), start rolling into a log shape from one side to the other. Leave the rolled omelette at the end.
8. You can apply a thin layer of oil to the pan (with a paper towel, as you would when making crepes).
9. Pour another thin layer of the egg mixture to cover the bottom of the pan again, lifting the previously rolled omelette… so a bit of the egg mixture spreads underneath.
10.When the new layer of egg has set and is still a bit moist on top, start rolling from the rolled omelette side to the other end. You are basically building up the rolled omelette.
11. Repeat until all egg mixture is used.
12. When you rolled the final round, you can slightly brown the omelette, if you want.
13. Remove tamago from pan.
14. Place the omelette on a sushi bamboo mat and wrap it up lightly. Shape the egg when it is still hot and let it rest for a bout 5-7 minutes (or so). Cut in 1/2- 1 inch pieces.
15. Serve with soy sauce, pickled ginger, etc… can wrap a thin strip of nori around each piece, or place atop sushi rice, etc.