Posted on June 25, 2009 at 1:55 AM

There are so many ways to cook an omelet. What I often make at home is a Japanese style omelet called tamago or tamago-yaki. This is a good recipe when you want to use up your eggs. I've got lots of eggs in the fridge. If I don't cook them before I leave town, noone else will so I better get on with it. I use five to make one tamago-yaki.


You have probably ordered tamago at a sushi bar. The -yaki from tamago-yaki is dropped and is simply called by its principle ingredient: tamago which means egg. I take the quality of tamago at a sushi bar as seriously as a piece of tuna. It is one of the few things that the sushi chef serves cooked. The secret of a good tamago is in the ingredients, which are eggs, dashi broth, sugar and light soysauce. Some sushi bars buy ready made tamago from a tamago-maker; they can be horribly sweet and dry. A good sushi chef will make his own tamago . Fresh everyday. If you are lucky, it may be sitting on the counter top still cooling off. The chef will slice you a fluffy hot piece, which you will have to blow at while eating it. It's so good.

I often make tamago-yaki to serve with noodles or put in the bento box. Or sometimes as an appetizer. I stuff tamago-yaki with herbs and vegetables such as Mitsuba, tomato, scallions, mushrooms, etc. Also, meat and seafood. I made one with cut pieces of grilled eel the other day. It was great. I will have to blog about that recipe.

This is my everyday non-stick pan, which I use for making tamago.

Since I made a big batch of somen and soba noodle dipping sauce, I decided to serve noodles and make tamago-yaki as a side dish. I haven't made tamago-yaki in awhile. My tamago making skills will be a bit rusty. I can make it in a rectangle tamago pan or a round non-stick pan. I will make it in a pan that everyone recognizes and probably owns - the round non-stick pan. Most Japanese home cooks don't bother to invest in a rectangle tamago pans. The shape of the tamago can be molded with a bamboo mat while the tamago is warm. My grandmother made hers from a round pan. She would serve it right out of the pan on a small cutting board and slice the hot tamago-yaki right at the table. It was one of the last beautiful dishes she made for me when she was 100 years old and still living on her own in Kamakura. I remember eating tamago with sashimi. She cooked rice on the wood burning stove and seasoned it to make sushi rice. Grandmother always tried to make the occasion of our visit, the best onel ever. It always was.



Pop the air bubbles with a fork or chopstick before folding the tamago into three.

TAMAGO - Japanese style omelet

Serves 4



  • 6 eggs
  • 6 Tbls Dashi ((link to Basic Dashi stock recipe)
  • 4 tsp sugar 
  • 3 tsp light color soy sauce (Usukuchi-syoyu)
  • Vegetable oil for frying, about 3 tbls (to be used for basting the pan)
  • 1/2 cup grated daikon radish to serve on the side
  • Soysauce- on the table to taste
  1. Make dashi broth. (here is the link).
  2. Bring the eggs, sugar, soy sauce and dashi and mix gently. Do not beat the eggs.  
  3. Put the egg mixture through a strainer.  Any big egg while lumps remaining in the strainer should be discarded.  
  4. Heat the non-stick pan over medium heat.  Add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Spread the oil around the pan evenly. Wipe away excess oil.  Keep the remaining oil in a little cup.  Have a paper towel ready to baste/rebaste the frying pan with oil.
  5. Drop a little egg in the frying pan to test the heat. If the egg sizzles and starts to cook right away, the pan is ready for cooking.   You want the pan on the hot side but be careful not to burn the egg.  Add about 1/6 of the egg mixture to the pan and distribute it quickly and evenly around the pan, tilting it up and down. When the egg starts to bubble, use the tip of the chopsticks or something pointy to break the air bubbles. Tilt the pan and fill the holes with egg batter in the pan.  
  6. When the eggs are half way cooked,  move it away from the heat for a moment and with a non-stick spatula quickly take the far end of the omelet and fold it towards you in three, as if you were folding a napkin. Push the tamago to the far end of the pan again and reheat the pan over medium high heat.
  7. Put a little oil in the empty spaces and remove any egg parts stuck to the pan. Now pour another 1/6 of the egg mixture and again, wait for it to cook. Pop the bubbles if you see any. Fold the egg over the first egg roll.Repeat three or four more times. Be careful not to burn the egg. Some sushi chefs make tamago that remains yellow and soft. This is a matter of preference.  I like it a little bit on the brown side but I still want the tamago to come out fluffy and taste the dashi. When you have used up all the egg, brown both sides to give the Tamago some color. 
  8. Bring out the bamboo sushi mat. Put the tamago on the bamboo mat surface. Wrap the tamago and let it taken on a rounder shape. Don't wrap it too tightly. Let tamago rest for a couple of minutes. Slice the tamago crosswise into 1 inch pieces and serve it with grated daikon radish and soy sauce. You can also serve tamago at room temperature.  

Menu suggestions: Tamago, Soba noodles with dipping sauce, Satsuma-age


Roll it up in the mat and let the tamago rest for a few minutes or long


The ends are for nibbling



Categories: Appetizers, Egg and Tofu

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1 Comment

Reply Lillian
3:54 AM on August 8, 2009 
Thank you for the recipe! It looks delicious!