5 Ingredients or Fewer

Soft-Scrambled Tamago

by:
May 25, 2021
23 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
Author Notes

My tamagoyaki-inspired scrambled eggs are, as ever, the clumsy home cook's take on those French soft-scrambled eggs where you have to start from a cold pan with cubes of butter and stir, low and slow, risotto-style—except mine are much faster and taste like tamago nigiri. You know the one? That sweet omelet with the rice underneath, wrapped around the middle with nori like a Band-Aid?

Tamagoyaki—Japanese rolled omelet—requires quite a bit of practice to master the rolling technique, as well as a special square or rectangular non-stick pan to pull off its distinctive tight spiral, and a bamboo mat to mold its corners. It’s a staple of sushi menus and bento boxes alike, and slices easily into compact, sturdy slabs for sandwiches. Tamagoyaki recipes frequently call for a small amount of dashi, which imparts added savory richness. This soft-scrambled tamago recipe delivers all the flavor without the need for specialized equipment, extra ingredients, or countless attempts to “get it right,” and can be on the table in less than 10 minutes.

While adding sugar to scrambled eggs may give you pause, it won’t take away any of the creamy savoriness or add an unwelcome texture. In fact, a touch of sweetness helps to balance the sharpness of the salt and soy sauce in the mix, accentuates the nuttiness of the toasted sesame oil, and highlights the umami flavor that made you crave scrambled eggs in the first place.

Plate the eggs over a bed of steamed short-grain rice, top with shredded nori (or furikake if you like), and eat for any meal of the day. Sesame seeds, sliced scallions, pickled vegetables or kimchi, and the hot sauce of your choice would all be welcome additions, as well. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Why My Japanese-Style Scrambled Eggs Are the Softest & Dreamiest. —The Editors

  • Prep time 1 minute
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 1
Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs, preferably organic
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 portion white rice, to serve
  • 1/2 packet roasted seaweed snack, crushed with your hands or snipped into strips, to serve (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Whisk together the eggs, garlic, soy sauce, and sugar.
  2. Starting from a cold pan over medium-low heat, add the sesame oil, then the egg mixture. Stir very occasionally with a rubber spatula so you end up with large curds, but DO stir so that the eggs cook slowly and evenly. Just be sure to slightly undercook them, as they'll continue to cook once you take them off the heat. This step will likely take around 2 to 3 minutes, depending on your stove.
  3. Season the eggs with salt and pepper to taste, plate over rice, and top with shredded nori (if desired).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Susan Johnson
    Susan Johnson
  • erinrae
    erinrae
  • Jennifer Uzumcu
    Jennifer Uzumcu
  • Linda Rosette Pierre
    Linda Rosette Pierre
  • Carol Valentine
    Carol Valentine
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

35 Reviews

valerieohm March 22, 2021
What does ‘Unoccasionally’ mean? Not sure if that means often or not often(re: how to stir the eggs) Halpppp 🤪
 
Susan J. April 20, 2020
I miss my mom's Korean eggs, which is like a souffle. But I don't think I can have eggs any other way now! These were so soft and tasty over my fresh hot rice. Had a mug of English breakfast tea. My tummy is happy. I was mm-ing and ah-ing through my entire meal.
 
erinrae March 9, 2020
New favorite go-to easy dinner/lunch, great with avocado too!
 
Rosemary October 16, 2019
When you list sesame oil, do you use toasted or untoasted sesame oil?
 
Author Comment
Eric K. October 16, 2019
Toasted!
 
Jennifer U. September 9, 2019
These eggs kept me going this past week. I had an oral surgery with strict orders for soft foods only and these eggs had great flavor without feeling like I was on a medical diet! I'll be making these even after I feel better!
 
kccheng May 26, 2019
lovely texture- added a tiny dash of white vinegar to the eggs too... not sure how kosher that is but yum!
 
RecipeCat March 28, 2019
Eric - As a previous comment notes, tamago means egg. You are softly (like a good French omelette) hurting my Japanese heart by calling them egg-eggs. Could we compromise and call them "tamagoyaki-esque" eggs? The "esque" brings in the French as a nod to their style of omelette too. Just saying. :)
And yes, many a times I have eaten this incarnation of tamagoyaki. It's what happens when I screw up the rolling process or get too impatient between egg pours. I stand silently in that special kind of Japanese shame in my kitchen. haha
Anyway - hope this doesn't come across as negative. I feel nothing but love for your very relate-able recipe posts.
 
Author Comment
Eric K. August 21, 2019
Noted. :)
 
Linda R. January 31, 2019
Did you just save me from ordering bad chinese tonight? I think you did.
 
Carol V. January 12, 2019
Quick, easy, inexpensive, and so much flavor! Will definitely be adding this to my repertoire. Thanks!
 
Masa January 9, 2019
Interesting. Having grown up on tamagoyaki (and enjoyed in stick form at tsukiji RIP), I think I prefer it in the rolled form, rather than scrambled.
 
Yaroslava December 11, 2018
I love it! Only I cut sugar in half & added coco aminos, yum!
 
alex M. November 28, 2018
Every bit as good as promised. Definitely take the time to make rice for it!
 
Frankie November 25, 2018
It’s pure comfort food for me! It reminds me of the breakfasts that I had as a little girl.
 
Manuel M. October 6, 2018
I really don't understand cooking times. This recipe says it will take 2-3 minutes to cook the eggs starting from a cold pan?? No...
 
Austin B. August 14, 2018
Nice, simple and tasty. Forgot to put my gnudi in the fridge to thaw, so I ended up throwing this together on the fly. No complaints.
 
Author Comment
Eric K. September 2, 2018
Did you eat the gnudi eventually?
 
Austin B. December 11, 2018
They dissolved in the water :(
 
Author Comment
Eric K. December 11, 2018
Ha! Love the update.
 
Faten R. July 29, 2018
I love Japanese style soft scrambled eggs over white rice too, and I always season with some Shichimi Togarashi, the Japanese 7 Spice seasoning which really makes the meal.
 
Author Comment
Eric K. September 2, 2018
Sounds just perfect.
 
kim G. July 24, 2018
I made this and it was great. I gave my teen a bite of mine and had to make a new batch. Maybe it's simple for some cooks, but this was a new way to enjoy eggs for me-and my teen.
 
Author Comment
Eric K. July 25, 2018
Simple but different: my approach to food. Glad it worked for you, Kim.
 
Christine C. July 21, 2018
So delicious!!!
 
Author Comment
Eric K. July 21, 2018
Glad you liked it :)
 
Molly July 18, 2018
Just made these for lunch, can’t believe it never occurred to me before. I mixed my tamagotchi recipe with yours though. Added a tablespoon dashi per egg and 1 teaspoon of mirin. Loved the addition of sesame oil.
 
Author Comment
Eric K. July 18, 2018
Oh man, Molly, that sounds heavenly.
 
JinAh July 18, 2018
Love this recipe. I brought back a rectangular tamagoyaki pan from tokyo and am obsessed with making the little rolled omelets, which are also delicious cold and at room temp! I flavor mine with mirin and soy sauce :)
 
Author Comment
Eric K. July 18, 2018
Delicious.