Tamagoyaki is the sweet omelette in the shape of a brick that you find on a Sushi platter. At home you can serve it as an amuse-bouche or a side dish. Tamagoyaki only requires a few simple ingredients but the typical method of making them can be technically demanding, requiring the rolling of multiple omelettes into a square Swiss roll on a hot pan before they fully cook. This takes lots of practice to get right as you have to work deftly. Fortunately there is an easier way for the novice that results in a perfect Tamagoyaki the first time and every time, the Stacking Method.
- Eggs (4)
- Hon Dashi
- Nori (Dried Seaweed Sheet) – optional
see notes below for alternatives to
Hon Dashi and Mirin
- In a large bowl, dissolve 1T of sugar and 1 flat t of Hon Dashi granules in 1/4 cup of warm water.
- Add 4 eggs and 2T of Mirin to the bowl and beat the mixture until it becomes a fairly uniform yellow colour.
- Use a small pan, a pan that has a flat bottom. Place it on very low heat. Add a few drops of oil and spread it around the pan.
- Ladle into the pan enough egg mixture to cover the whole pan without you having to tilt it. If the egg bubbles, splutters or gets cooked instantly, then pan is too hot. When the egg is almost cooked, flip the slice over to cook the other side. Next, flip the omelette sheet onto a plate and leave the pan off the fire for the time being. The omelette should be of the same thickness throughout, which is why the pan needs to be flat.
- Add a new ladle of egg mixture to the pan and put it back atop the flame. When the egg is almost fully cooked and only a thin film of raw egg is left on top, remove the pan from the fire. Using the back of a spoon spread the remaining raw egg evenly over the entire surface of the omelette sheet.
- Stack the first omelette sheet onto the one in the pan and return the pan to the fire. Press down with a flat spatula to ensure the raw egg is evenly distributed and after about ten seconds when the two sheets have fused into one, flip them back onto the plate.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 adding more layers until almost all the raw egg mixture is used up and you end up with a block of Tamagoyaki as shown here. During the whole process add oil as required.
- Cut the block exactly into two halves. Smear a thin film of the remaining raw egg mixture on the top of one half-block and place the other half-block back in the pan, again on low heat. Next, position the hot block onto the other block with the cut ends on the same side and press down firmly. The idea is to let the hot egg cook the film of raw egg to cement the two blocks together.
- Allow the new tall block to cool and then wrap it in cling film. Sandwich it between two plates in the fridge. When the Tamagoyaki is cold, pad it dry with some kitchen towels, trim away the uneven bits at the edges and then cut the block into mini-bricks.
- Wrap each brick with a strip of dried Nori seaweed. The Nori should overlap at the bottom and a dab of water will suffice to join the two ends. This allows your guests to eat their Tamagoyaki with their bare hands if they wish.
- Ideally you should use a Makiyakinabe pan. This is a pan that has three vertical sides and is rectangular in shape, as shown here. Modern ones are now made of non-stick material. Your next best alternative is one of those small pans for frying one egg at a time.
- You definitely want to avoid burning the egg. A slightly browned patches are ok, but no more than that. You can notice in the top picture there is a brown line running along my Tamagoyaki, which is what will happen if your fire is too strong. Using a low flame may not be enough. Move the pan away from the fire often and make frequent use of the residual heat to cook the egg. Also, only pour in the raw egg mixture after removing the pan from the fire. Patience wins the day.
- You also want to cook the egg evenly. To do this move the pan around so the fire is not concentrated on one spot for too long. This also prevents the egg from getting burnt.
- You can skip step 8 depending on how big your pan is, how many Tamagoyaki bricks you want to end up with and how tall you’d like them to be.
- If you have no Hon Dashi, you can substitute in 1/4 cup of any kind of (salted) stock you fancy.
- If you have no Mirin you can boil 4T Sake with a dab of maple syrup down to 2T to make your own substitute.
- If you are into Japanese egg recipes, two others I have on this site are: Steamed Chawanmushi and Runny Yolk Eggs for Ramen.