Soy sauce eggs

Soy sauce eggs

They’re called shoyu tamago in Japanese; the simplest English translation of the Chinese name is braised soy sauce eggs. They are served as a snack, as a topping for congee or as one of the many dishes in a bento box.

The name might suggest that there’s nothing to making this delicacy but soaking boiled eggs in soy sauce but there’s a little bit more to it than that.

First of all, “boiled” doesn’t necessarily mean hard-boiled. The eggs can be a little less cooked so that the yolks are still runny. The egg white, however, must be sufficiently cooked so that it is firm enough that when the egg is shelled, it doesn’t break and expose the soft yolk.

Second, the soy sauce in which the eggs are soaked isn’t soy sauce alone. A few other things are added. Rice wine and rice vinegar are not uncommon but other seasonings such as black pepper or chilies can be added too.

Third, the eggs don’t benefit from a really long soaking time. Leave them in the soy sauce mixture for too long and the eggs will turn out too salty. Fifteen minutes or so are enough to allow the eggs to acquire a good color and to absorb the flavors in the sauce.

If, however, you are not in a hurry to serve the eggs, you can soak them in the fridge overnight BUT you will have to dilute the soy sauce mixture with water. I did not want to do that because I wanted the soy sauce mixture to be usable for seasoning other dishes in the future. [Read more...] Sukiyaki


Traditionally, sukiyaki is a hot pot dish. Each diner is given a bowl of raw egg; beef, tofu and vegetables are slow cooked in simmering sauce in a hot pot at the center of the table; then each diner picks from the hot pot and dips his food in beaten raw egg before eating.

The last time I had good sukiyaki was at Furusato (now closed). When ordering sukiyaki there, the diner was given an option on how he wanted his sukiyaki served: the traditional way or soup style? Soup style meant the ingredients were cooked on a side table, apportioned into individual bowls, topped with raw egg and the diner stirred everything together. The egg cooked in the very hot mixture of beef, vegetables and sauce, and no one had to worry about salmonella.

Missing Furusato very much, I have tried to recreate its sukiyaki at home. [Read more...] Bacon and egg mazemen

Bacon and egg mazemen

While most of us ramen lovers know the Japanese classic as a noodle soup, it turns out that there is such a thing as “dry ramen”. Abura soba, or “oil noodles” consists of ramen and the traditional toppings but, instead of soup, they are served with a soy-flavored oil. And then there’s hiyashi-ch?ka which is served cold and a summer favorite. Like abura soba, it consists of ramen and the usual toppings but, in lieu of the soy-based oil, it comes with a soy-vinegar dressing.

And then there’s mazemen, a contemporary incarnation of abura soba which is more fusion than anything else. Take the bacon and egg mazemen, for instance. The noodles are tossed in bacon fat, plated, topped with crisp bacon bits and bonito flakes, and a poached egg. The egg is cut to release the runny yolk, everything is tossed together so that the noodles are coated in a mixture of bacon fat and egg yolk. It’s almost like carbonara except that the egg is cooked. And it is a real show-stopper.

How did we learn about mazemen? Chef Lee Anne Wong has a new show on Cooking Channel. I haven’t seen a single episode in its entirety but Speedy is so hooked on the show. Food Crawl, I believe the title is. And it was in one of the show’s episodes where the bacon and egg mazemen was featured as the star of the menu of New York restaurant Yuji Ramen. [Read more...] Chicken Namban (Fried Chicken Marinated in Sweet Vinegar) with Tartar Sauce

Chicken Namban (Fried Chicken Marinated in Sweet Vinegar) with Tartar Sauce

There is a Japanese channel on satellite TV called NHK World where the shows are a mixture of news, cultural documentaries and cooking. Because no one in the family speaks Japanese, we rely on the subtitles. This dish is from a recipe in one of NHK World’s shows, Dining With The Chef. It was Speedy who saw it, he enumerated the ingredients and described the procedure, then suggested that the full recipe might be available on NHK World’s website. It is.

Chicken namban is a fried chicken dish. Fried chicken fillet, to be more precise. But unlike most fried chicken recipes that start with marinating, chicken namnban fillets are marinated after frying. Strange? Maybe, but the result is delicious. [Read more...] How to cook miso ramen with mushroom balls (meatless)

How to cook miso ramen with mushroom balls (meatless)

It’s meatless but not exactly vegetarian because dashi, the base for miso soup, is a stock cooked by simmering bonito flakes and kombu. Bonito flakes, or katsuobushi in Japanese, are shaved skipjack tuna that had been dried, fermented and smoked.

To make this dish, I first cooked the mushroom balls and vegetables in boiling water. After scooping them out, I made the miso soup in the same water where the mushroom balls, cabbage and carrot slices were cooked. That’s flavorful water, so, why not? Besides, if some of the nutrients from the vegetables went into the water during cooking, why let them go to waste? [Read more...]