Tamagoyaki exemplifies the universal habits we have developed as a global civilization. Whether you wake up in Edinburgh, Nashville, Istanbul, Bogota, Chengdu or Tokyo: we eat eggs at breakfast. But there are subtle differences. These rolled omelettes represent Japanese diligence and attention to detail.

The art of making Tamagoyaki

Investing in a rectangular tamagoyaki pan would come in handy to make this dish. However, using a round skillet with anti-stick bottom is possible. Yet more of the food will go to waste.   These omelettes are rolled during the preparation and have a sweet and savory taste. In the west often milk is used to dilute the eggs, in Japan we use dashi. Dashi is a dried fish and kelp broth, used in many Japanese dishes.  We have listed the standard recipe for making dashi in the food base essentials category. It is easy to make it!

Special equipment

  • Tamagoyaki pan (by definition rectangular in shape).
  • Wooden chopsticks or wooden spatula (so the pan surface is not scratched).
Tamagoyaki photo: ©️Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Tamagoyaki, rolled omelet from Japan

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Course: Appetizer, Breakfast
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: bento box, breakfast, rolled omelet, Tamagoyaki
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3

Ingredients

Ingredients to make the omelet

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp usukuchi (light colored, Japanese soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp dashi (stock from katsuobushi and kelp)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

Instructions to make the omelet

  • Have the ingredients ready and beat the eggs with a whisk. There should not be any whole egg whites left. Proper beating will prevent this or use a medium mesh to filter the beaten eggs over and let any non-mixed egg whites behind.
  • Mix the beaten eggs with the sugar, the soy sauce and the dashi.
  • Place the tamagoyaki pan on medium fire and apply a thin layer of vegetable oil using a brush (or a piece of paper towel)
  • Pour about 3 tablespoons of omelet mixture on the pan surface and ensure it covers the whole bottom in a thin layer. Push down any egg stuck on the sides and prick with a spatula or chopstick any bubbles that may form. 
  • Let the egg mixture set in about 15-20 seconds
  • Then take the pan off the heat, tilt the handle down and fold the egg towards you using a wooden spatula or a pair of chopsticks
  • Place the pan back on the stove. Lightly brush the empty pan surface with oil, move the egg towards the end away from you and lightly brush the new open pan surface with some vegetable oil. 
  • Then pour in about 3 tablespoons of egg mixture and lift the cooked egg so the liquid can flow underneath. Cook until the egg has set, about 35-45 seconds.
    Tamagoyaki photo: ©️Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh
  • Then repeat steps 6, 7 and 8, until the omelette has reached sufficient size
  • Check if the omelet is golden brown on the sides, if not cook each side for a minute or two more.
    Tamagoyaki photo: ©️Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh
  • Let cool slightly and slice with a sharp knife in 3/4 inch thick slices. Serve warm, unless it will be part of the bento box!
  • Repeat this procedure until the remaining egg mixture is finished. The above amounts of ingredients make 2 omelettes in total, serving three.

Notes

Method: pan frying
Food allergy & intolerance information: fish (when using katsuobushi for the dashi), egg, soy

Remarks

  1. You can add other ingredients to this omelet as well. Add cooked spinach, shredded cheese, cooked and sliced mushrooms on each layer.
  2. The omelet keeps well for 2 days in the fridge when wrapped in plastic to prevent drying out. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
  3. For the vegetarian version use only kelp broth and a drop more soy sauce.
  4. Another reference for making tamagoyaki: Morimoto, The art of Japanese home cooking

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