One of the things that has stuck with me over my years, is comfort. What foods provide me comfort? Why do they provide me comfort? What senses are intrigued by the food I am eating? And the ajitsuke tamago or the japanese soy sauce eggs are no different.
I didn’t become truly fascinated with ramen until my adult years. Watching documentaries on ramen noodles, the labor and love that is put into each noodle, the tare, every topping, is so graceful. I think this about a lot of Japanese cuisine because the pride and labor of love is so prevalent.
What is a ramen egg?
First, we must ask ourself what is a ramen egg? The ajitsuke tamago is known as the ramen egg because it often dons the top of a ramen bowl. The ramen egg sits along chashu pork, with a creamy, umami-rich yolk and a white that is marinated carefully (often overnight) in a bold soy sauce bath. They are nicknamed ajitama or nitamago. The best thing about these eggs is the versatility. You can include these in your bento box, your salad or enjoy with rice or as a snack! So before we dive in on how to cook a ramen egg, we need to talk eggs in general.
What’s the difference between hard and soft boiled eggs?
I’ve been on a quest to make the perfect ramen egg because hard boiled eggs seem to be my arch nemesis. The perfect soft boiled egg requires your attention for under 10 minutes (perfect for me) and precision for instant results.
There are three types of boiled eggs. The egg type varies based on it’s yolk texture. The more delicate the yolk, the more “soft” it is considered and hence the name. In my opinion each egg has it’s place in cuisine. I like each type based on the course cooked, and how it will impact the dish.
Soft boiled egg: A creamy delicate yolk that oozes slowly, like a turtle if you will. It will not run quickly akin to a fried egg that is “over easy” but more creamy thick in texture. The perfect soft boiled egg in my opinion is the 7-minute egg. And that’s what we will focus on when we cook our ramen egg recipe.
Medium boiled egg: A firm egg yolk it can be held in our hand and remains pliable but delicate. It will break easily so a soft touch is required. It can be chopped, diced, and holds a dark yellow color.
Hard boiled egg: My favorite for a deviled egg, egg salad or to be removed to only use the white of the egg. This egg is my arch nemesis, I cannot peel a hard boiled egg to save my life. 🤷 I have no explanation.
What are the ingredients you need?
There’s a few ingredients that I will use in my ramen egg. I leave a few out, most often because I don’t have them on hand so here’s my must haves:
- Soy Sauce
- Green Onion
Mirin: Mirin is a rice wine. It is similar to the popular sake but has a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. If you do not have this, sub it out with a rice vinegar but add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar for every 1 tablespoon of the rice vinegar.
Soy Sauce: If you can, buy a big bottle of soy sauce. It lasts for a long time and you’ll use. Kikkoman is a popular brand, and has a low sodium version if that’s your jam.
Ginger: I normally buy ginger paste. I don’t like the leftover ginger smell on my hands. But I’m trying to be a big kid these days and buy the ginger root. Mainly because I saw a TikTok hack about growing my own which has me intrigued.
Green onion: I love these things. But I can’t seem to keep them fresh in my fridge. Do you have a hack for me you can share? I’ll be growing these in my garden this year because I can’t stand being without them.
Sake: Sake is a rice wine, often used in cooking and very much used in drinking. I think this is a traditional ingredient for soy sauce eggs, but not something I keep in the house so I do without. If you are using the recipe measurements below, use about 1/2 cup sake (or 1/4 cup will do in a pinch)
Let’s make this ish already! How to Cook Ramen Egg!
Ok you thought I was getting to the recipe! But when you think I am gonna zig, I zag! The one and only thing I want to say is don’t skip these two steps.
- Poking a hole in the egg. Trust me.
- Swirling the eggs. Trust me.
- Ice bath. Trust me.
Shit that was three steps. Just, trust me.
Alright, now let’s cook already.
- Push pin or sharp knife
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 slices ginger
- 2 tops green onion
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- Bring a pot of water to a roaring boil
- Poke a hole in the large part of the egg (bottom of egg) using a knife or push pin, repeat for each egg.
- Place eggs carefully in the pot of boiling water. Careful!
- For the first 1 minute and 30 seconds, slowly stir the eggs in a clockwise motion so the eggs continue moving at a slow steady pace.
- At the 7 minute mark, remove the eggs and immediately place into ice bath. That's 7 minutes total. The first 1.5 minutes you were stirring the eggs.
- Once the ice bath is cool but not frigid, peel your eggs with patience. This is the hard part. It ideally should remove with little fight.
- Mix your soy sauce marinade in a container with a lid (preferably). If not, don't fret, a bowl will do.
- Submerge your peeled eggs in the marinade and cover with a paper towel or small plate to keep them in the sauce.
- Add the lid or plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours (24 hours ideally).
- When ready to serve, remove from the sauce and cut lengthwise. Add to your ramen or eat as you please!
- Keep eggs submerged up to 3 days, anything more will make your eggs very rubbery and not good.
- You can keep eggs in an airtight container up to 1 month. My eggs only last a day or two in my house, so I only know this from reading tips about eggs.
- Don’t stress if you’re missing an ingredient. The key is soy sauce, and water.
- Ideally you’ll marinade for up to 1 day, typically prepping the night before. If you are running behind, try to at least do 2 hours so it has time to soak up some of that yummy soy. The eggs pictured here soaked for 4 hours.
- You can reuse the soy sauce mixture for another batch, just be sure to keep it airtight in the refrigerator.