Tamagoyaki - Soft and delicate rolled omelet and a classic Japanese dish

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Tamagoyaki - Soft and delicate rolled omelet and a classic Japanese dish

Tamago sushi was a common garnish found on them.

These slightly sweet, rich and creamy rolled eggs, sliced to reveal a beautiful swirl inside, were placed on a rectangular bed of sushi rice and wrapped with a strip of nori.

Tamagoyaki makes an easy breakfast or a great side for lunch or dinner.

Best of all, leftovers taste amazing right out of the fridge or microwaved. That's why I always do extra.

What is Tamagoyaki?

Tamagoyaki is a rolled egg omelet lightly sweetened with sugar and seasoned with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi. Tamago means "egg" and yaki means "grill" in Japanese.

There are many variations of tamagoyaki in Japan, depending on the region. Some simply season with salt, soy sauce, and sugar.

Others add mirin and dashi broth. Some add fillers like seaweed, salmon, or cheese.

This recipe is for a tamagoyaki dashimaki, which has mirin and dashi, an umami-rich broth made with kombu flakes and bonito.

I cheat and use an instant dashi powder called Hondashi. It's not as complex or deep flavored as traditional dashi broth, but it's fine for this recipe.

Find it at any Japanese supermarket, well-stocked Asian market, or online.

Do I need a special frying pan?

In Japan, tamagoyaki is made so often that a specific pan called kotobuki tamagoyaki is used.

It is a long rectangular casserole with curved sides, which makes it much easier to turn, roll, and slide the egg.

To be honest, you don't need a kotobuki tamagoyaki.

Any nonstick skillet will do. But if you fall in love with tamagoyaki and want to do it often, you can easily find one for $15-$20.

To brown or not to brown

For me, the ideal tamagoyaki is uniformly yellow, not golden, and smooth and creamy in texture.

Some people will brown slightly which accentuates the internal swirls.

Keep in mind that darkening creates a less delicate texture, but it's up to you!

In "Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking," acclaimed chef Masaharu Morimoto, Iron Chef himself, lightly browns his tamagoyaki.

It's hard to argue with Chef Morimoto!

Things I Learned About Making Tamagoyaki

Making tamagoyaki isn't difficult, but it does take some practice to roll it perfectly. The good news is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. Here are some things We learned:

  • Cook the egg slowly over medium-low to low heat so it doesn't get too dark and the texture is creamy. A little patience goes a long way.
  • Roll the still lightly cooked eggs on top. Start shooting too soon? They are very delicate and will tear. Too late and they will have browned and hardened.
  • Don't stress if the first roll tears, wrinkles, or twists strangely. It is difficult because there is not enough egg mass to flip. Just keep rolling - by the second or third coat it will come off.
  • Use a thin spatula for fish or pancakes. Traditionally Japanese cooks use chopsticks, of course they do! But if you're not quite as adept at using them (the sharp edges can tear or flip the eggs unevenly), start with a spatula and switch to chopsticks when you get more practice. Or not. The choice is yours.
  • The egg mass may seem too thin and delicate. Reduce the dashi broth to just 2-3 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup. The tamagoyaki will be less creamy, but that's okay. Once you get used to it, you can add up to 6 tablespoons of dashi stock for a creamier texture and more umami flavor.
  • It's not traditional, but I add salt and sugar as I beat the eggs to help mix them better.
  • When beating the eggs, create as few bubbles as possible so that the mixture is even and smooth; you don't want it to be fluffy or bubbly. I use a fork to move the mixture back and forth, not up and down. Pop any large bubbles with the fork.
  • Final Tip: For evenly yellow and fluffy tamagoyaki, pour the egg batter into the pan through a fine mesh strainer. It will take about a tablespoon of egg whites that you did not incorporate into the batter, which you can discard.


  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant dashi powder, such as Ajinomoto Hondashi
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • grated daikon, for serving (optional)


Make the dashi broth:

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup warm water and dashi powder. Mix with a fork until the granules dissolve.

Warm water just helps them dissolve, so don't worry if you use room temperature or cold water.

Beat the eggs:

In a medium bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and salt. Use a fork to beat the eggs until well blended. Try not to incorporate too many bubbles.

Season the eggs:

Add the dashi broth, soy sauce, and mirin. Mix until ingredients are incorporated.

Strain the eggs (optional):

For a silkier custard texture, strain the eggs through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a liquid measuring cup fitted with a spout; this will make it easier for the egg mixture to pour into the pan.

Grease and heat the pan:

Place the oil in a small bowl and dip a small, folded paper towel into it. Use the soaked paper towel to clean the inside of a kotobuki tamagoyaki or small nonstick skillet.

Heat skillet over medium heat, just enough to immediately start cooking the eggs when added, but not so much that they brown immediately, then reduce heat to medium-low.

Cook the first layer:

Pour a small amount of batter into the pan, just enough to completely cover the bottom. Cook until almost done, with the top still slightly runny.

Use chopsticks or a thin fish spatula to lift one end, twist, and roll to the other end of the pan. Don't worry if the first few folds are wrinkled or wrinkled. Just keep rolling with it.

Add two more layers:

Use the oil-saturated paper towel to wipe the pan with more oil, lifting the hard-boiled egg to get a little oil underneath.

Then pour in more egg batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Lift the hard-boiled egg up slightly and tilt the pan so that the egg batter is below.

Cook until almost done. Roll the eggs again in the opposite direction, forming layers, as if you were building a snowman.

Repeat this process one more time, greasing the pan, adding more beaten egg, and rolling to the other side. You will have used half of the egg mass at this point.

Slide the tamagoyaki onto a serving plate or cutting board.

Make a second tamagoyaki with the remaining dough following the same process.

Serve the tamagoyaki:

Cut the tamagoyaki into 1-inch slices to reveal the swirls inside. Serve with grated daikon radish on the side, if desired, or as part of a larger Japanese-inspired meal.

Leftovers can be refrigerated for 3-4 days. While you can serve it cold, I like to take it out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so to take the chill off.

You can also briefly microwave it in 15-second bursts until heated through.

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