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Monday, January 3, 2011

Tamagoyaki

One of the great things about Osechi-ryori is all of the little 'finger' foods that are prepared and consumed throughout the day on New Years.  One of these, and a favorite of mine, is tamagoyaki.  It is a rolled omelet of seasoned eggs fried in a special pan which allows a specific level of done-ness.  Here is the special pan, which has a particular shape and depth, to create the layers of the omelet.
The eggs mixture consists of four eggs per roll, you could do more if you want a special large roll, but, this really gets a little unwieldy unless you are trying to create some impression of over generosity.  We like to keep things at one or two bites at most.  So, four eggs, in this case from my sister's personal stash of chickens.  Wyandotte chicken eggs are particularly good, especially from the coop.
These were seasoned with a 3 to 4 tablespoons of katsuo dashi stock, or whatever stock you might have chosen to make.  We make our dashi from katsuoboshi (shaved bonito) and a little konbu (algae/seaweed).  We make a relatively strong stock, so 3T is more likely what we go with.  We also add a little sugar, the traditional amount is 2 to 3 tablespoons per four eggs.  We cut this amount by half now, as our taste has moved to a slightly more mild and less sweet profile.  In the past, we also added a small amount of shoyu (soy sauce).  No more than a tablespoon.  Since we have cut back on salt, and the dashi is quite strong this is often omitted or added in very small amounts.  The mixture is cooked in layers in the pan to create a concentric pattern of the brown edges and yellow centers.  The layers are thin and the roll is not removed until the whole omelet is competed.  Here it is in progress.
As you can see, each layer is connected to the previous layer by a small overlap during the cooking of the next layer.  It is worth noting that each layer is cooked until almost done. The omelet is rolled while the top of each layer us still a little moist, the ensures a tender and cohesive roll.  This shot represents the 4th of 5 layers I believe.  I could be wrong as I was busy fiddling with other stuff while the cooking was being done by my sister.  Once the omelet is completed, it has a particular shape that is not really round, and the desired shape is round.  So we wrap the roll in parchment lined sushi makisu mats and then tie (or rubber band) the rolls into a round shape and then cool the rolls.  Sadly I was busy eating and did not get a finished shot.  Trust me on this, they were round.
 Now, a similar recipe will result in the omelet used for making the tamago nigiri-style sushi often served to the fish-phobic at sushi bars.  I am one of the fish-phobic, which does not bother me as I particularly like this type or preparation.  If you wanted to use this for tamago sushi, you could use a rectangular mold or form the maki-su into a squarer shape to achieve the more familiar rectangle seen in nigiri-style sushi.

1 comment:

  1. I'm behind on blogging but catching up. This technique is something I have never seen before. Such a neat trick with the rolled omelet.

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