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This recipe goes out to all those times that you've stooped at the open fridge door, hoping for a respectable dinner to show itself. And to all the 1PMs at your desk in a scramble for takeout, cursing yourself for not planning ahead. To all the salads that aren't quite filling enough, the sandwiches that lack heft, the toast that stops short of fueling you through the morning.
In the interest of being one step ahead of all of those moments, take a break on Sunday (or tonight!), and make soy sauce eggs, or shoyu tamago. Make as many as you can eat in a week, which—you'll soon realize—is a lot.
If you've ever lived in Japan or tackled making your own ramen, this simple fridge-enhancing trick won't be news to you. (But why didn't you tell us sooner?) For the rest of us, this recipe—Christina Tosi's version of Momofuku's standard—requires only four ingredients that you already have, and renders eggs that are virtually perfect in form. The yolks—just thickened, not yet pale and stiff—are centered in firm (but not too firm) whites. You'll submerge them in a soy sauce marinade that will penetrate only as much as you decide to let it.
The trick to these model eggs is cooking them exactly 6 minutes and 50 seconds, stirring gently for the first couple minutes to center the yolks via a whirlpool of centrifugal force. By immediately shuttling them to an ice bath, you do away with any variables that might allow them to continue cooking secretly.
Once the water feels temperate enough to swish your hands around in, you peel the eggs straight in it, to leave the whites smooth and glossy and not lose as many bits to the shell (some bits might go rogue anyway, but the eggs will still taste good).
After peeling the eggs, you move them to marinate in the fridge in a small vat of soy sauce, sherry vinegar, and sugar for a few hours. (I've left them overnight too, which I actually found to be extra salty and delicious.)
The soak isn't just about salting them, but a more rounded seasoning—a little sweet, a little tangy, but mostly a lot of umami. You can vary the marinade as you like—add sake, scallions, ginger, mirin, garlic, chiles, or rice wine vinegar. What's to stop you?
Since these will be your new weekly fridge companion, you'll have plenty of opportunity.
Adapted slightly from Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi
Makes 6 eggs
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Photos by James Ransom