This Japanese rolled omelette recipe for tamagoyaki makes a soft, fluffy, rolled omelette that we love to eat between thick slices of Japanese bread to make a tamago sando or Japanese egg sandwich. Japanese rolled omelettes are eaten everywhere in Japan, from izakayas to high-end sushi restaurants, but home-cooked tamagoyaki has a special place in the hearts of Japanese.
Like many of you currently staying at home, we have been continuing to cook our way through the pandemic, using food to channel some of our favourite countries and cuisines. This week we’ve spent some time in Tokyo, Japan, recipe-testing this Japanese rolled omelette recipe and munching into tamago sandos, Japanese egg sandwiches made with the Japanese rolled omelette called tamagoyaki.
This Japanese rolled omelette recipe is the latest recipe in our series of Weekend Eggs dishes. If you haven’t dropped by in a while, we rejuvenated our Weekend Eggs series on quintessential breakfast eggs dishes from around the world that we launched with Grantourismo over a decade ago.
Recipes published in the rebooted series so far include scrambled eggs with sauteed mushrooms on sourdough, soft scrambled eggs with Chinese pork and chives, Indian egg bhurji, Chinese marbled tea eggs, corn fritter breakfast burgers, Russian devilled eggs, Turkish çılbır poached eggs and menemen scrambled eggs, Calabria’s ‘eggs in purgatory’ with ’nduja, Thai son-in-law eggs, Thai omelette kai jiaw, Cambodian steamed eggs, and Malaysia and Singapore’s half-boiled eggs with kaya jam and toast.
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Japanese Rolled Omelette Recipe for Tamagoyaki for Your Tamago Sando
There are two main types of Japanese rolled omelettes or tamagoyaki that the Japanese make, dashimaki tamago and atsuyaki tamago. Dashimaki tamago is the very refined version you find at a sushi restaurant. Many Westerners find it odd to see an omelette on a menu at an expensive sushi restaurant and don’t usually order it.
The first time we tried it, it was part of a set menu and we could not believe how light, fluffy and flavourful it was. This is due to the dashi stock that’s added to the eggs that adds flavour and complexity, as well as a high degree of difficulty in making the tamagoyaki perfect due to the viscosity of the egg mixture.
Atsuyaki tamago by contrast can be a very plain and dense rolled up omelette. Many home cooks will make a big batch in a large rectangular tamagoyaki pan and divide it up for bento box lunches. This type of tamagoyaki is usually flavoured with soy sauce and sugar.
While many home cooks will make their simple version of this Japanese rolled omelette using an ordinary frying pan, I prefer the traditional method of making tamagoyaki in a tamagoyaki pan, made especially for these rolled omelettes. Available in square or rectangular shapes, and with finishes from copper to cast iron, you can find other uses for these tamagoyaki pans, just like Lara and I did for her Cambodian climbing wattle frittata recipe.
Tips to Making this Japanese Rolled Omelette Recipe
I only have a few tips to making this Japanese rolled omelette recipe. My first piece of advice is if you’re just starting on your tamagoyaki adventure, we recommend buying a tamagoyaki pan. There are so many tamagoyaki pans out there that Amazon even has a dedicated page explaining the types of Tamagoyaki pans on the market.
We’re old-school and like the cast iron tamagoyaki pans with wooden handles. I found a small tamagoyaki pan in our Japanese recycle shop here in Siem Reap that’s perfect for a one-person omelette measuring 10 cm wide x 15 cm long. It’s still listed on the Amazon Japan shop, but, really, it’s too small for me, even though I continue to use it.
If you’re buying your first Japanese rolled omelette pan, I recommend buying a pan that is in an entire tamagoyaki kit with a brush for the oil for the pan and – most importantly – a silicone spatula with which to roll the omelette.
Traditionalists will be shaking their heads at this because ‘real’ Japanese chefs use a pair of cooking chopsticks – even to brush the oil on the pan with a wet kitchen towel.
Unless you’re regularly using cooking chopsticks, say, for deep frying chicken or pork tonkatsu or making normal omelettes, you will thank me when you buy the whole tamagoyaki kit with the silicone spatula. There really is an art to using chopsticks for cooking Japanese food.
While Japanese chefs appear to just wing it when it comes to the amount of egg for each layer of the Japanese rolled omelette, this obviously comes with years of experience.
I weigh the final egg mix and divide it by four to get the right amount of mix per layer. I can then use a ladle to weigh out how much mixture each layer of the Japanese omelette should have.
Japanese Rolled Omelette Recipe – How to Make Tamagoyaki
- 4 eggs whisked
- 1 pinch sugar granulated
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- Neutral vegetable oil for coating the pan
- The tamagoyaki pan will be used over medium-high heat for the whole process. If the egg mixture is cooking too fast take the pan off the heat.
- Prepare a bowl with the vegetable oil in it and a silicone pastry brush ready to go.
- Add the sugar and soy and mix well into the eggs.
- Place the pan over the heat and wipe with the oil. A non-stick pan will need less oil than a cast iron pan to stop sticking.
- Spread the first layer of egg mixture all over the pan. Don't be afraid to move it around to get full coverage. If it starts to bubble anywhere, break the bubble, we want a good even layer of egg.
- If you can lift the egg layer up with your spatula or chopsticks, it's ready to roll. Roll the egg layer away from the handle and roll tightly towards the curved end of the pan.
- Quickly spread some oil on the exposed pan and slide the egg roll back to the handle end. Once again spread some more oil in the pan before adding the second ladle of egg mixture.
- Lift the egg roll a little to allow some egg mixture to cook underneath the roll. This helps with the rolling of the egg down to the curved end of the pan.
- When the egg layer is cooked enough, repeat the same rolling process as the first time.
- Repeat with the 3rd and 4th layers and remove from the pan to a serving plate.
- You can serve it on its own or as a sandwich with Japanese Milk Bread like in our photo.
- Add extra seasoning and any sauce you wish.
Do let us know if you make this Japanese rolled omelette recipe for tamagoyaki as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.