You'll find eggs used in many ways in Japanese food, from the savory egg based okonomiyaki "pancakes" to the delicate chawan-mushi "egg custard". Egg dishes are eaten for dinner as well as breakfast and eggs are found in eveything from soups to stews, even pickled in miso!
OKONOMIYAKI (egg based Japanese style pancakes)
Okonomiyaki literally means "cook what you like," and so there is no set recipe for these egg based pancakes. You can choose whatever ingredients you prefer or even use left overs with which to make okonomiyaki. The pancakes are tasty, filling, simple to make as well as being inexpensive, so they're particularly popular with people on a tight budget. Feel free to alter the following recipe to include ingredients that you enjoy. I suggest trying shrimp, squid, natto, noodles, seaweeds, remember... cook what you like!
2 Eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon of flour (I like using whole wheat,
but white flour works just as well)
1 pinch of baking powder
3 tablespoons dash
i (see basics for preparation method)
1 tablespoon white miso
1 small handful of fresh bean sprouts
2 leaves of fresh cabbage (chopped fine)
2 shiitake mushrooms (stemmed and chopped fine)
4 snow peas (chopped fine)
1/2 small carrot (chopped or grated fine)
vegetable oil

Break the eggs into a bowl, add the dashi and miso, beat well. Add the flour and baking powder, beat well to blend all ingredients.

Heat a small frying pan, add a little bit of vegetable oil and fry the thicker vegetables first (cabbage, carrots, etc.). When these vegetables are limp and translucent add the more delicate vegetables (bean sprouts, etc.) and continue frying.

Pour the egg mixture over the frying vegetables and place a cover on the pan. Turn down the heat to low and allow to cook for two or three minutes. When the surface of the "omelet" has set, use a spatula to carefully flip the pancake over. Fry for another minute of so until cooked and then serve!

CHAWAN-MUSHI (steamed egg custard)
This delicious, silky custard can be served as a side dish with grilled and deep fried foods, or as a main dish all by itself. The secret to making this dish is in allowing it to steam until the egg just barely sets, giving the custard a silky, liquid quality.
4 Eggs
2 cups dashi (see
basics for preparation method)
3/4 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 tsp sake
1 1/4 tablespoon mirin
3 onces of fresh spinach leaves (parboiled)
4 small uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 shiitake mushrooms (stemmed and quartered)
8 snow peas (parboiled)

Break the eggs into a bowl, add the dashi, salt, shoyu, and mirin, beat well. Allow the mixture to stand for a few minutes and then strain through a fine strainer (the objective here is to remove all air bubbles and lumps from the egg mixture). In 4 individual heat proof custard cups with lids (or heat resistant coffee cups with saucers or foil for lids), place a shrimp, some snow peas and a shiitake mushroom.

Pour the egg mixture into each cup until two-thirds full and cover with the lid. Place the cups in a preheated steamer and steam over high heat. When the surface of the custard turns white (about three minutes), reduce the heat to low and steam for an additional 15 minutes.

Once you are able to stick a bamboo skewer into the custard and have the liquid flowing from the puncture run clear, the custard is ready to eat! The custard surface should be moist and slick, not cracked and parched). Carefully remove the hot cups from the steamer and serve.

The Japanese make beautiful ceramic cups with lids especially for steaming this type of custard, if possible pick up a set from a local merchant or Asian food store. Also, chawan-mushi is excellent when served chilled as a summer dish!

DASHIMAKI TAMAGO (rolled egg omelet)
The Japanese make special rectangular shaped pans called tamago yaki nabe that are used for skillet frying omelets. These are wonderful pans to own and if you're an omelet lover who wants to do things the Japanese way I highly recommend getting such a pan. If you're unable to find a Japanese skillet, a regular Western style frying pan will also work.
4 Eggs
1/4 cups dashi (see
basics for preparation method)
1/2 tablespoon shoyu
1/2 tablespoon mirin
1 sheet of nori, cut into strips
vegetable oil

Break the eggs into a bowl, add the dashi, shoyu, mirin, and beat well. Heat the square skillet or Western style frying pan and add a little vegetable oil using a swab of paper towel (the pan is ready when a test drop of egg sizzles). Pour in 1/3 of the egg mixture, tilting and rotating the pan so that the egg spreads across the pan's bottom in an even layer.

When the surface of the egg sets and it's dry around the edges, use a pair of chopsticks (or a spatula), to roll up the omelet to one side of the square pan. Wipe in some more vegetable oil on the empty part of the pan. Add another 1/3 of the egg mixture and tilt to cover the surface of the pan. Add the strips of nori. When the surface of the egg sets use the chopsticks to once again roll up the omelet... this time rolling the already cooked egg pushed to one side of the pan over the newly cooked egg. Cook the omelet for just a few more moments and then remove from the fire and allow to cool.
This site is owned & operated by The Black Moon All rights reserved. Illustrations and text by Mark Vallen.