Celebrate Japanese New Year with Datemaki or Japanese sweet rolled omelette! Made with egg and hanpen (fish cake), this sweet rolled omelette is a delicious complement to your osechi ryori menu. Baked in the oven and rolled into cylinder, this omelette is simple enough to make from scratch for the festive season.
Datemaki (伊達巻) is a sweet rolled omelette and a popular Japanese New Year’s foods (osechi ryori, 御節料理), typically served in a lacquered jubako (special square boxes similar to lunch box). This dish is by far my favorite dish among the new year foods and I look forward to eating it every year.
Although pre-made datemaki is readily available during this time of the year in Japanese supermarkets, it is easy to make and I hope you try making this dish from scratch.
Watch How to Make Datemaki (Sweet Rolled Omelette) 伊達巻の作り方
Sweet rolled omelette made of egg and hanpen, typically served as part of osechi ryori during Japanese New Years celebration.
Ingredients for Datemaki
Datemaki is similar to tamagoyaki. The main ingredients are eggs and sweet seasonings like mirin, honey and soy sauce, but the big difference is that datemaki includes a square white fish cake called hanpen. (はんぺん).
Hanpen is made from grated Japanese yam (yamaimo) and surimi (Alaska Pollock), salt, and kombu dashi and it adds an unique texture to the egg omelette, like a soft fish cake. If you cannot find hanpen, you can substitute with white fish, scallop, or shrimp.
Although many datemaki recipes require dashi, I find it not necessary as hanpen is made of kombu dashi and it already adds nice flavor to the omelette. Of course you can always add dashi if you like.
After blending all the ingredients for the egg mixture, it is then baked until firm and nicely brown on the outside.
I really miss my family in Japan as the year is close to the end and families are getting together to celebrate the New Years together.
When I was small, my family used to spend the winter breaks in my grandparents home in Osaka so that we can celebrate the New Year’s Day with all the family members. Grandma, aunties, my mom, and I – all the women in the family – would start preparing the new year foods a few days prior to the New Year Day. While we spend most of the days in the kitchen, men in the family do the cleaning inside and outside of the house and help run errands for any last minute shopping.
New Years celebration was my favorite holiday growing up. It’s the biggest celebration in Japan and I enjoyed family time and the feasting as well as receiving otoshidama (monetary gift) from all the adult family members and playing new year games. It’s one Japanese holiday that I wish to be in Japan to celebrate.
Thank you so much for reading! Next, I’ll be back with a really easy and quick dish that is perfect to serve as an hors d’oeuvre for the holiday table or as part of your osechi ryori to welcome the New Year.
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- 110 g Hanpen (fish cake) (See Notes)
- 4 large eggs
Gather all the ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 390F (200C). Line a 8" x 8" (20 x 20cm) baking dish with parchment paper.
- Cut hanpen into 1/2 inch cubes and whisk eggs in a small bowl.
- In a blender or food processor, put hanpen, Seasonings, and beaten egg and blend until smooth.
- Strain the egg mixture through a fine sieve twice and pour into the baking dish lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 390F (200C) for 20 minutes or until slightly brown on top. If not brown, broil for 2 minutes or until the surface is a nice even light brown color.
- [Note: We will need to roll the omelette while it’s hot.] Once the omelette is done, remove the omelette from the baking pan by lifting the parchment paper. Place the bamboo mat (flat side is facing up) over the omelette. Carefully flip the omelette, holding the parchment paper with one hand and bamboo mat with the other hand. Remove the parchment paper.
- Score 1/8 inch (3 mm) deep with a sharp knife every 1/2 inch so the omelette will roll up nicely without breaking.
- Roll omelette into a tight cylinder and secure with rubber brands. Wrap the bamboo roll with plastic wrap. Cool it standing up vertically to maintain a nice round shape. Put the plate underneath to catch liquid dripping.
- After 2-3 hours, carefully remove datemaki from bamboo mat. Cut into 3/4 inch wide pieces. Serve at room temperature. You can store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Hanpen: It is a white, square/triangle-shape surimi product with a soft mild taste. It’s made from surimi (Alaska Pollock), salt, and kombu dashi with grated Japanese mountain yam (yamaimo / nagaimo) as biding agent (as it's very slimy after grated). You can find Hanpen in the refrigerated or frozen section of a Japanese grocery store. If you cannot find hanpen, substitute with white fish (skinless/boneless), scallop or shrimp.
Equipment you will need:
- 8" x 8" (20 x 20cm) baking dish
- Parchment paper
- A bamboo mat*
To make nice bigger indentations to datemaki, use bamboo mat with thicker bamboo strips. In Japan we have a special bamboo mat for datemaki and it’s called Oni-Sudare, which gives big ridges.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.