Lily Bulb Tamagotoji is an easy and comforting dish where the lily bulbs and eggs are simmered in light dashi broth. It can be served on its own, over steamed rice, or on udon noodles! Don’t live close to a Japanese grocery store? You can substitute lily bulbs with other easy-to-source ingredients.
A lot of Japanese home-cooked dishes are not so well-known outside of Japan. This is why I feel that I have a long list of recipes that I can share with you. Many of these homey foods are simple, pantry-friendly, seasonal, and ready in less than 30 minutes. Just like today’s recipe, Lily Bulb Tamagotoji (百合根の卵とじ).
What is Tamagotoji?
Tamago (卵, たまご) means ‘egg’ in Japanese and toji comes from the Japanese verb tojiru, which means ‘close’ or ‘seal’.
Tamagotoji is a cooking style where you pour the beaten egg into a simmered dish and close the top surface with the egg. The beaten egg quickly binds the ingredients and broth, which is easier to transfer over steamed rice and soba or udon noodle soup. The key is to make the egg fluffy and not overcook it.
You may already know some of the dishes that apply Tamagotoji cooking style:
Just to be clear, Kakitamajiru (Japanese Egg Drop Soup) is not considered “Tamagotoji” although we drizzle egg into the broth. Kakitamajiru is just a clear soup with fluffy egg as an ingredient.
Tamagotoji with Lily Bulb (Yurine)
I’m pretty sure you’ve been patiently waiting for me to explain about lily bulbs. Are they edible? Yes! Just like a fennel bulb!
Lily bulbs are called yurine (百合根, ゆりね) in Japanese and they are the edible bulb of the lily plant cultivated for food in Asia especially in China, Korea, and Japan (read more about it here). It can be eaten raw, stir-fried, deep-fried (like tempura), simmered, or added into sweets, or soups.
Lily bulbs consist of tightly layered flat scales or petals, connected at the stem base, similar to garlic. The raw petals are crisp and crunchy and have a mild, refreshing flavor, similar to water chestnuts. Cooked lily bulbs taste sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste, similar to turnips and potatoes. They also have a crunchy, starchy texture.
Where to Find Lily Bulb
Your local Japanese grocery stores may carry it during the winter months, and I bought mine from Nijiya Market. Lily bulbs are often sold with sawdust to prevent them from drying and getting damaged. When you purchase one, keep it covered with sawdust until you’re ready to use it.
Lily bulbs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month if you keep them well. If you purchase lily bulbs without sawdust, use them soon.
Lily Bulb Substitutions & Variations
I am aware that lily bulbs might not be the easiest ingredient to source. So here are equally perfect ingredient suggestions for this dish. We’ll add one green veggie on top of the egg, so try to look for non-green veggies here.
- Bamboo shoot
- Bean sprout
- Tofu (medium-firm tofu or fried tofu)
Basic Ingredients You’ll Need
- Lily bulbs (or turnips, potatoes, onion, mushrooms, or anything!)
- One kind of green veggie (I used mizuna today, but it can be green peas, spinach, snow peas, arugula, etc)
- Dashi (Japanese soup stock)
- Condiments – soy sauce, mirin, and sugar
Besides lily bulbs, all the ingredients are pantry ingredients for Japanese cooking.
How to Make Lily Bulb Tamagotoji
- Gently simmer lily bulbs in dashi-soy-based broth until tender.
- Drizzle the beaten egg and add leafy veggies on top.
- Cover to let the egg set and serve immediately!
Tips on Making Tamagotoji
- Besides eggs, keep the ingredients simple and minimal: just two ingredients are perfect.
- I recommend using a frying pan so it’s easy to transfer over to a serving dish or over steamed rice/noodle soup.
- I use usukuchi (light-colored) soy sauce so the broth doesn’t get too dark. However, it’s not necessary if you don’t have it.
- DO NOT overcook the egg. It is so important to make the fluffy egg in this dish. Please carefully read my tips in the recipe instructions.
Volume Up: How to Serve Tamagotoji
As I mentioned quickly earlier, Tamagotoji can be served on its own like how I presented today. However, I must mention that it’s a fantastic way to volume up the dish by adding carb if you want to make it into a one-dish meal.
- Over steamed rice – Tamagotoji Don (Donburi) (卵とじ丼)
- Over soba noodle soup – Tamagotoji Soba (卵とじそば)
- Over udon noodle soup – Tamagotoji Udon (卵とじうどん)
Looking for a healthier version? How about serving on top of the warm silken tofu or healthy grain?
Lily Bulb Tamagotoji
- 1 lily bulb (5.4 oz, 154 g; can substitute it with turnip, onion, potato, and more. Read the blog post.)
- 1 cup dashi (Japanese soup stock; click to learn more) (use kombu dashi for vegan/vegetarian)
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp usukuchi (light-colored) soy sauce (you can use regular soy sauce)
- 2 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- ¼ cup mizuna (Japanese mustard green) (chopped to small pieces; can substitute it with green peas, spinach, snow peas, etc. Read the blog post.)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Rinse the lily bulb to remove any sawdust. Start peeling off the petals, like removing garlic clove.
- When you can't easily remove the petals from the bulb, make an incision on the bottom of the petal with a knife so petals will separate easily.
- Using the knife, remove any brown blemishes. Rinse the petals under running water again to remove any leftover sawdust.
- In a medium frying pan, add dashi, mirin, and sugar.
- Add soy sauce and turn on the heat to medium. Once simmering, lower the heat to medium-low and add the lily bulb. Make sure the lily bulb petals are in a single layer.
- Simmer the lily bulb in the broth until tender, but still crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl (I used the same measuring cup that I used for dashi).
- While gently simmering (small bubbles around the edges), slowly pour the beaten egg over the lily bulb in circling motion starting from the center spiraling outward (don't pour in the same area). Place your cooking chopstick at the edge of the bowl/measuring cup, so the egg will drizzle down the chopstick in a thin stream.
- Add the mizuna (or any green veggie) and cover with the lid. Let the egg settle for 20-25 seconds.
- When the egg is set to your liking, remove the pan from the heat to prevent overcooking. Transfer the dish to a serving plate, or over steamed rice or noodle soup. Because of the broth, the egg should be easy to transfer. If some parts of the egg are stuck around the edges of the pan, loosen up with a spatula or by shaking the pan. Enjoy!