My first “Foodie” post will be something that seems simple, but is actually really tricky to get right: the Japanese Rolled Omelette. If done correctly, this should result in a mellow, slightly sweet & savoury flavour with an interesting texture from repeated thin layers of crispy, fluffy, and gooey eggy goodness. If done badly, you get fishy, overly sweet, burnt scrambled eggs.
It is something you often see in Japanese media, such as anime and manga. It’s a common sight to see a male character living in fear of a female character’s attempts to perfect this dish. Zac on Anime News Network Podcast often questions why is this a “thing”, how hard is it to cook eggs!?
…harder than you’d think!
The key ingredient is not something you are likely to have in your kitchen unfortunately: a small shallow rectangular tamagoyaki pan! I DID have one of these but someone broke the handle…then put it in the dishwasher…after which it rusted to pieces and made everything taste awful. Grr…arrgh! One of the joys of living with others… Anyway, I found that a small bread pan makes a good substitute, just make sure you have a good pair of oven gloves or something to hold the edge without burning your hands.
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon mirin (OR 1 teaspoon sugar dissolved in 1 teaspoon sake)
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 1/2 teaspoon fishy dashi stock (not the seaweed kind)
- Dissolve the dashi stock in the boiling water and sweet alcohol…it might not fully dissolve.
- Break your eggs into a bowl, add the hot dashi and sweet alcohol liquid.
- Mix gently (you are not making scrambled eggs) you want some sections of clear and yellow egg still visibly separate.
- Get your pan very hot, place 1 teaspoon of cooking oil into it to ensure it coats the pan with a thick film.
- Once hot, pour 1/3 of the egg mixture into it, and tilt the pan so it goes to all four corners and fills in the middle. It should float on the oil layer and bubble up around the edges after a few seconds.
- While still slightly liquidy on top, but with the edges starting to crisp, use chopsticks or a fork or something to fold the egg over and roll about three times along the pan.
- Add another 1/2 teaspoon of oil, then when hot add another 1/3 of the egg, making sure to lift up the existing piece of rolled omelette so it sits on top of this fresh egg layer.
- Again, once it starts to crisp underneath roll it up starting from the previously made rolled up piece.
- Keep doing this ’til you have no more eggs/room/patience.
- Place on a cutting board and chop into thick slices so you can see all the layers on the side.
Eat it as-is as a quick snack; accompanied with grilled fish, rice and miso soup for a traditional Japanese breakfast; slice thinly and chill to make tamagoyaki sushi with vinegared rice and nori seaweed strips later.
It took me at least 10 tries to get the hang of not having it stick/disintegrate/burn/whatever.
Enjoy and let me know if you try to make it and succeed.
Nerdy Crafty Foodie