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Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Omelette) 玉子焼き

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  • Sweet yet savory, Tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelette), makes a delightful Japanese breakfast or side dish for your bento lunches.

    Tamagoyaki and grated daikon on a white plate.

    Tamagoyaki (卵焼き or 玉子焼き) is a sweetened Japanese rolled omelette that resemble mini bars of golden pillows. With a slightly sweet taste and custardy texture, tamagoyaki is well-loved amongst the Japanese children and adults alike. You’ve most likely tasted the rolled eggs as part of a Japanese style breakfast or as a side dish in a bento (Japanese lunch box) or atop of sushi.

    Because of the artful presentation, tamagoyaki does look deceivingly difficult to make. The technique involves some careful rolling of thin omelettes and folding into a layered log, which is then sliced. But it’s not an impossible task for home cooks like you and me. In fact, it is a staple in Japanese home cooking. We love the eggy goodness so much that we even invest in a special pan just for making tamagoyaki at home! My children adore tamagoyaki so I make it regularly for their bento box. Let me show you how today.

    Tamagoyaki and grated daikon on a black plate.

    What is Tamagoyaki, Atsuyaki Tamago, and Dashimaki Tamago?

    In Japanese, tamago means eggs and yaki means grill. There are actually a few versions of Tamagoyaki (卵焼き) or rolled eggs in Japanese cuisine, which can be confusing.

    In general, you can find Atsuyaki Tamago (厚焼き玉子) and Dashimaki Tamago (だし巻き卵). Each variation uses slightly different ingredients, varying ratios of seasonings and cooking methods, but sometimes the names are interchangeable.

    When Japanese people say Tamagoyaki, it typically refers to rolled egg or rolled omelette in a broad term. Atsuyaki Tamago (厚焼き玉子) refers to thick grilled egg, but we usually just call it Tamagoyaki. The texture of Astuyaki tamago is firm and dense, and it’s much easier to make.

    On the other hand, Dashimaki Tamago (出し巻き卵) refers to rolled egg which includes dashi (Japanese soup stock). In the Kanto region (Tokyo area), Dashimaki is also called the Tamagoyaki. However, in the Kansai region (Osaka area), these two rolled eggs are considered totally separate dishes. The main difference lies in the use of dashi, which resulting in a much more refined, juicy, silky, and flavorful rolled egg. At high-end sushi restaurants, they use an even higher amount of dashi and sugar and sometimes by mixing seafood into the egg mixture. You’d get a really flavorful and elegant egg dish which is served toward the end of a sushi course.

    Compared to Astuyaki Tamago, Dashimaki Tamago is a lot softer due to the higher liquid content in the egg mixture. You can easily tell both versions of tamagoyaki apart by the textures and flavors, but both are delicious in their own way.

    Tamagoyaki, Japanese rolled omelette with green onion and salmon flakes.
    Adding Salmon Flakes (recipe on the blog) and scallions.

    How to Make Tamagoyaki

    To make a basic tamagoyaki, you first beat the eggs just like you would with regular American-style omelette. Then season the whisked eggs with sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and a pinch of salt before pouring a thin layer of the egg mixture into a pan to cook. Once the bottom of the egg mixture is set, roll it up in multiple thin layers until the egg looks like a thick log. Finally, shape the egg and slice into thick pieces for serving.

    The great thing about making Japanese rolled omelette at home is that you have the flexibility to experiment and be creative with the shapes and fillings. You can also add other ingredients such as seaweed, cheese, veggies, Salmon Flakes (picture above), and meat into tamagoyaki to change up the flavors.

    The recipe that I am sharing today is called Dashimaki Tamago (だし巻き玉子) because of the addition of dashi. It’s fluffy, moist, and deeply flavorful. One bite you’d be very happy that you try it!

    Tamagoyaki and grated daikon on a black plate.

    Helpful Tips on Making the Best Tamagoyaki at Home

    Tamagokayi might require some practice to get right, but it’s something you will get better at each time you cook it. Here are a few helpful tips from me:

    1. The ratio of dashi to eggs – When we add dashi into the egg mixture, it enhances the overall flavor and texture, but the liquid does make the cooking trickier. I used 3 tablespoons of dashi to make it easier for everyone to try. As a rule of thumb, 1 tablespoon of dashi per egg is a good ratio, but you can definitely add more once you’re better at it.
    2. Do not worry about the first few rolls. The inner rolls do not need to be neat at all, as you will keep rolling more layers on top. The first few rolls are the center of the tamagoyaki, so even if the layers are not perfectly lined up, do not worry!
    3. Do not skip oiling the pan. I know you want to use less oil. Me too! However, make sure you coat the pan with oil very well. You don’t want your egg mixture to stick to the pan – even for a non-stick pan.
    4. Wait till the pan is completely heat up. Test the temperature of the pan with a small amount of the egg mixture. You need to see the egg sizzle to confirm the pan is hot enough.
    5. Don’t turn off the heat; instead, move the pan away from the heat source. Keep your heat at medium at all times. Thin omelette layer needs to be quickly rolled up before it’s completely cooked, so there is no time for you to adjust the heat. The best way to control the heat is to move the pan closer and away from the stove.

    It’s also important to find the right ratio of each seasoning, creating a balance between sweet and savory. If you like, adjust the amount of sugar and salt until it suits your taste.

    Tamagoyaki Pan

    Typical Japanese kitchen has one set of Tamagoyaki pan because tamagoyaki is commonly enjoyed for breakfast and bento. It’s either square or rectangular so the Tamagoyaki will turn into a rectangular shape easily.

    I used to use a non-stick T-fal Tamagoyaki pan (left on the picture below) but I switched to a 15 cm (roughly 6 inches) copper tamagoyaki pan (Silver Arrow/Endo Shoji brand) and I love it. Both of my Tamagoyaki pans were purchased at TokyuHands in Japan.

    I personally recommend the copper tamagoyaki pan (nickel coating inside). The copper transfers heat so easily, and my egg never sticks to the pan (you will still need to grease the pan). The pan is very light that you can move the pan easily while cooking.

    Tamagoyaki Pan | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Can I Use Round Frying Pan for Tamagoyaki?

    My answer is yes! You don’t need a special tamagoyaki pan as long as you are not aiming for the classic shape. A tamagoyaki pan definitely helps to make the rolled omelette into a nice thick rectangular log; but a round frying pan will work just fine. You will see both methods demonstrated in my cooking video and the step-by-step pictures in the recipe below.

    I recommend using a 9 or 10-inch non-stick frying pan for a thicker tamagoyaki. In the recipe below, I used my 12-inch pan which works as well.

    As you can see with the result, it will be flatter when your frying pan is bigger. If you only have a 12-inch pan, you can solve the issue by doubling the recipe. If you don’t mind the shape too much, then don’t worry about it.

    Now, if you’re concerned about non-stick coating, I recommend using a carbon steel pan that became non-stick. However, please remember that you will need to control the amount of heat by lifting the pan from the stove and a heavy skillet would be challenging.

    I’ve tried using stainless-steel or cast-iron frying pan for tamagoyaki, but without adding a lot of oil, I haven’t been successful. Since I don’t like my tamagoyaki too oily, I steer away from using stainless steel or cast iron. For most of my cooking, I refrain from using non-stick cookware, but it is easier to make Tamagoyaki with a non-stick pan.

    Cut each piece of tamagoyaki diagonally to create "heart" shape.
    Cut each piece of tamagoyaki diagonally to create “heart” shape.

    Easy Tamagoyaki for Beginners

    If you’re a beginner cook or prefer to take a short cut, you can try my Quick & Easy Tamagoyaki recipe which takes only 3 minutes to make! It’s perfect to make just one tamagoyaki for your meal or bento box. I hope you enjoy making Tamagoyaki.

    Tamagoyaki with nori seaweed in the middle served on a white plate.

    Watch How To Make Tamagoyaki

    Tamagoyaki is Japanese rolled omelette with dashi and soy sauce, enjoyed during Japanese breakfast or as a bento item.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.64 from 58 votes
    Tamagoyaki and grated daikon on a black plate.
    Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Omelette)
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    5 mins
    Total Time
    10 mins
     
    Sweet yet savory, Tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelette), makes a delightful Japanese breakfast or side dish for your bento lunches.
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: egg omelet, rolled omelet
    Servings: 2
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    • 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
    • 2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
    • 1 ½ sheet nori (seaweed) (optional; for omelette with nori in it)
    Seasonings
    Garnish
    • 1 inch daikon radish (2.5 cm) (green part is sweeter than white part)
    • soy sauce (Use GF soy sauce for gluten-free)
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Tamagoyaki Ingredients
    2. Gently whisk the eggs in a bowl. It's best to "cut" the eggs with chopsticks in a zig-zag motion and do not over mix.

      Tamagoyaki 2
    3. In another bowl, combine the seasonings and mix well.
      Tamagoyaki 1
    4. Pour the seasonings mixture into the egg mixture and whisk gently. Then pour the mixture into a measuring cup with spout and handle (so that it'll be easier to pour into the frying pan).

      Tamagoyaki 3
    Tamagoyaki Pan Method
    1. Heat the pan over medium heat, dip a folded paper towel in oil and apply to the pan. Put a little bit of egg mixture to see if the pan is hot.
      Tamagoyaki 5
    2. When you hear the sizzling sound, pour a thin layer of egg mixture in the pan, tilting to cover the bottom of the pan.
      Tamagoyaki 6
    3. Poke the air bubbles to release the air. After the bottom of the egg has set but still soft on top, start rolling into a log shape from one side to the other.
      Tamagoyaki 7
    4. Move the rolled omelette to the side where you started to roll, and apply oil to the pan with a paper towel, even under the omelette.
      Tamagoyaki 8
    5. Pour the egg mixture to cover the bottom of the pan again. Make sure to lift the omelette to spread the mixture underneath.
      Tamagoyaki 9
    6. When the new layer of egg has set and still soft on top, start rolling from one side to the other.
      Tamagoyaki 10
    7. Move the rolled omelette to the side where you started to roll, and apply oil to the pan with a paper towel, even under the omelette.
      Tamagoyaki 11
    8. Pour the egg mixture to cover the bottom of the pan again. Make sure to lift the omelette to spread the mixture underneath.
      Tamagoyaki 12
    9. When the new layer of egg has set and still soft on top, start rolling from one side to the other.
      Tamagoyaki 13
    10. Now this is 3rd round. Poke the air bubbles...
      Tamagoyaki 14
    11. The 4th round. Make sure to spread all over including under the rolled egg.
      Tamagoyaki 15
    12. Continue rolling into the log.
      Tamagoyaki 16
    13. This is the 5th round.

      Tamagoyaki 17
    14. This is the 6th round and the final...

      Tamagoyaki 18
    15. You can brown the omelette a little bit.
      Tamagoyaki 19
    16. Remove from the pan and place the omelette on the bamboo mat and wrap it up. Shape the egg when it is still hot. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
      Tamagoyaki 14
    Round Frying Pan Method
    1. Heat the pan over medium heat, dip a folded paper towel in oil and apply to the pan. Put a little bit of egg mixture to see if the pan is hot. When you hear the sizzling sound, pour a thin layer of egg mixture in the pan, tilting to cover the bottom of the pan.
      Tamagoyaki 17
    2. Poke the air bubbles to release the air. After the bottom of the egg has set but still soft on top, start rolling into a log shape from one side to the other. Here I put half sheet of nori and then rolled (optional).
      Tamagoyaki 18
    3. Move the rolled omelette to the side where you started to roll, and apply oil to the pan with a paper towel, even under the omelette. Pour the egg mixture to cover the bottom of the pan again. Make sure to lift the omelette to spread the mixture underneath.
      Tamagoyaki 20
    4. When the new layer of egg has set and still soft on top, start rolling from one side to the other. This is optional but I put another layer of nori sheet before rolling.
      Tamagoyaki 21
    5. Move the rolled omelette to the side where you started to roll, and apply oil to the pan with a paper towel, even under the omelette. Then pour the egg mixture to cover the bottom of the pan again. Make sure to lift the omelette to spread the mixture underneath.
      Tamagoyaki 23
    6. When the new layer of egg has set and still soft on top, start rolling from one side to the other. I put another sheet of nori here before rolling. Continue until all the egg mixture is finished.
      Tamagoyaki 24
    7. Remove from the pan and place the omelette on the bamboo mat and wrap it up. Shape the egg when it is still hot. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
      Tamagoyaki 25
    To serve
    1. Slice the omelette into 1/2" (1 cm) pieces.
      Tamagoyaki 16
    2. Peel and grate daikon. Gently squeeze water out. Serve Tamagoyaki with grated daikon and pour soy sauce over daikon.
      Tamagoyaki 15
    To Keep
    1. You can put tamagoyaki in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or microwave.

    Recipe Notes

    Control the temperature of the pan by lifting the frying pan rather than adjusting the stove heat. If the heat is too weak, the egg will stick to the frying pan so be careful.

     

    Equipment you will need:

     

    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.

     

    Hungry for More Tamago (Egg) Recipes?

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2012. The video and new photos were added in January 2016. The post content was updated in August 2019.

    Just One Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post may contain affiliate sales links, please see privacy policy for details.

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