Tamagoyaki makes me nostalgic. For picnics, instead of potato salad and barbecue chicken, my mom would make musubi and pack tamagoyaki and takuan pickles, each in separate aluminum foil packages. We’d eat without utensils and lick the takuan juices before they dribbled down our hands. We’d nibble at the rice that would stick to our fingers.
Tamagoyaki (or tamago) is also my sushi finisher. My strategy for ordering sushi is similar to reading a good novel: I start with the foundation (like maguro) and work my way towards the climactic peak (ikura, my favorite). Then I always, always end with tamago (no rice, just the tamago). It’s sweet and cold, so in my mind it’s the sushi equivalent for dessert.
They say you can judge a good sushi restaurant by how good their tamago is. Why? Because tamago can be second tier to fish and easily overlooked. But if your chef makes it right, you can assess the level of attention that’s going into the rest of the food.
They’re supposed to be in the shape of a brick, but look—mine are triangles. My layers might be uneven and my pan a little too hot, but it takes practice and I’m making this on my 10″ nonstick. I have a ways to go in honing my skills, but for what it’s worth, it tasted great—just like my mom’s.
Adapted from ぜひ覚えたいおかず
Makes 2 servings
3 Tbsp. dashi
2 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. shoyu
1/5 tsp. salt
1 tsp sake
Combine the dashi, sugar, shoyu, salt, and sake in a small bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Crack the eggs in a bowl and, using chopsticks, beat the eggs carefully so you don’t create air bubbles. It’s easy to do this if you keep the tips of your chopsticks touching the bottom of the bowl as you combine. Once thoroughly mixed, add the dashi mixture and stir, again being careful not to create bubbles.
Heat a tamagoyaki pan or a 10″ nonstick skillet over a medium flame. Once hot, add about a teaspoon of oil. Tilt it around and use a small section of a paper towel to spread the oil evenly and wipe excess. Too much oil is not good, but you want to be sure the egg will come off easily.
Pour about 1/5 or 1/6 of the egg mixture into the pan and tilt it around so there’s an even coat, like making a crepe. As it cooks, if air bubbles pop up, pierce them with your chopsticks. Moving quickly, loosen the edges of the egg and begin to fold over, starting at the far end and rolling towards you. When rolling, take time on each side so that the egg will stick as its cooked. Once you’ve rolled the egg, slide it to the opposite side of the pan farthest away from you.
Pour another 1/5 or 1/6 of the egg mixture and lift the previously cooked egg and tilt the pan so the egg mixture goes underneath it. Again, begin to roll the egg towards you. Once you roll all the way towards you, slide the entire cooked egg to the opposite side of the pan and repeat until you finish with all the egg mixture.
Wait to cool a little before cutting into 1-inch slices.