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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tamago: My First Attempt

tamago

The Japanese seem to have an affinity for sweets with their savouries. Kare (curry) rice, teriyaki chicken and inari deep-fried tofu bags all have sugary sweet nuances. Tamago, or Japanese omelette is another favourite that appeals to my rampant sweet tooth. This layered omelette is flavoured with dashi stock and soy and sweetened with mirin rice wine and sugar. I often leave my tamago sushi till last in my obento box, thinking of it as my dessert sushi, allowing me to savour its light texture and sweet flavours.

Because tamago is often served as rectangular slices, a special rectangular or square tamago pan is required. I excitedly purchased one on my trip to Japan in 2004, but my trepidation at the pressure of rolling it neatly meant its inaugural outing only occured during last month's homemade sushi caper. Almost two years gathering dust in the kitchen cupboard!

I had watched animated chefs on Japanese pay TV rolling tamago with ease. It didn't look that hard, but it seemed there was a definite trick to it.

Tamago
5 medium eggs
4 tablespoons of dashi stock*
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
salt

* Dashi stock powder can be found in larger Asian groceries stocking Japanese lines.

1. Without creating any froth, beat the eggs until they are glossy and smooth. This is done by drawing the letter Z with a pair of chopsticks along the bottom of the bowl. Strain the eggs through a fine sieve to remove any white coagulations. I didn't do this, thinking they would somehow disappear. Of course they didn't, creating unsightly white patches which were somewhat rubbery. So do take the time to sieve.

2. Add the remaining ingredients to the egg and mix well, taking care not to beat any air into the mixture.

3. Heat your lightly oiled non-stick tamago pan and pour in about 1/4 of the mixture. Take care that the heat is moderate so the egg doesn't brown.

4. When the egg has almost cooked (about 85%), roll the crepe forward over itself until you have a flattened Swiss-roll-like object closest to you. I found these easiest way to do this was to use a spatula to lift the egg slightly, and chopsticks to help roll it over.

tamago

5. Push the roll to the back of the pan and grease lightly again, making sure that oil gets under the egg.

6. Pour in another quarter of the mixture, lifting the roll so the new mixture swirls underneath.

tamago

7. Repeat steps 4-6 until complete.

8. Remove tamago from pan and using a sushi mat, compress into a compact rectangular shape (watch the hot liquid which may run out).

9. Cool in the fridge until you are ready to slice and serve on rice or beds of nigiri sushi.

tamago nigiri

As you can see, there was some visible browning on my first attempt (I'm blaming that on when I paused to take photos-lol) but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Obviously practice makes perfect. Sushi anyone?

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Home-made sushi - Sushi spectacular, Jun 06
9 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 7/11/2006 11:50:00 pm


9 Comments:

  • At 7/12/2006 1:05 am, Blogger Swee San said…

    I love tamago. i've tried making it before and it really needs some practice to perfect it. hehe but urs looked great :)

     
  • At 7/12/2006 1:21 am, Blogger Mark Vicuna said…

    yes please!

    awesome for a first try helen. good stuff.

     
  • At 7/12/2006 2:28 am, Blogger nika said…

    Beautiful! I have always marveled at the tamago making on Iron Chef. Great that you made it! I tried it once and I just can not get into the cool sweetness of tamago. I have been conditioned to want hot savory eggs.

    Thanks for sharing these shots!

     
  • At 7/12/2006 2:37 am, Blogger Anne said…

    Your tamago looks beautiful- it certainly doesn't look like a first attempt. I've put off trying to make this out of fear, which is ridiuclous. You've inspired me to try. Now I just need to go out and get the pan.

     
  • At 7/12/2006 10:21 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Good job with progress photos.

    I was wary at first, you know how I feel about mixing sweets & savouries.

    But I must say that it was delicious. Very moorish.

     
  • At 7/13/2006 11:28 am, Blogger kimmeh said…

    i have been an avid reader of your blog some time now and have finally to pluck up the courage and ask you a question! Where did you get your Tamago pan from? Ive been looking high and low for one! Please dont say you got it on your trip to Tokyo =/

     
  • At 7/13/2006 4:27 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Swee - Thanks. Tamago is so yummy isn't it? The dashi stock makes it taste so different. And yes, I agree, practice makes perfect.

    Hi Mark - Why thank you. It was good stuff. Should've bought a bigger tamago pan!

    Hi Nika - Tamago is sweet but you could reduce the sweetness if you preferred.

    Hi Tokyoastrogirl - It wasn't as hard as I expected actually as the dashi stock makes it quite wet and pliable. You should definitely have a go!

    Hi Veruca Salt - Yes I was quite flabbergasted that you liked it! Action shots are always tricky when you're cooking on your own so there weren't as many as I probably would've liked.

    Hi Jackson - Good luck with making it, and I hope you do manage to find a tamago pan. Maybe from a kitchenware supplier that sells lots of Japanese goods?

    Hi Kimmeh - Your first comment! You don't need courage, I love getting comments of any kind!

    As I said in the post, I did purchase this on my trip to Japan. I bought it from the kitchen markets in Sen-nichimae Doguya Street, Osaka. I did see them in Tokyo too. Not sure about Australia though. Maybe Tokyo Mart in Northbridge might have it, or be able to source it for you?

     
  • At 7/14/2006 8:05 am, Blogger Reb said…

    That's so professional! Fantastic job! I am now officially on the look for a tamago pan. I wonder if Peters of Kensington stocks them?

     
  • At 7/14/2006 11:38 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Reb - Thanks =) Peter's is worth a try. I've just done a quick search online, and not much luck. Mrs Lin's Kitchen sells them but not sure if they ship internationally from the States. You might need to befriend a Japanese foodblogger!

     

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