Hands up who loves egg sandwiches? How about Japanese Tamagoyaki Egg Sandos? These perfect, deliciously soft sandwiches are filled with a soft, wobbly egg omelette and the softest white bread spread with kombu butter or mayonnaise and mustard (I added some freshly shaved truffle on top for a little flourish). If you miss Japan and these wonderful sandos, give this a go - even without the truffle it's absolutely delicious and easy to make! This tamagoyaki sando is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!
What is tamagoyaki? Literally tamagoyaki means egg (tamago) grilled (yaki) and it's a rolled egg omelette that you've probably seen it on your sushi atop a nigiri. The flavour of the omelette is a little bit sweet and a bit salty. Some recipes use sugar, soy, dashi, sake or mirin. Tamagoyaki is cooked in a square omelette pan called a makiyakinabe or tamagoyakiki where you layer and turn the egg omelette with chopsticks.
This quest for the perfect tamagoyaki omelette sando (Japanese for sandwich) came about because I had a couple of truffles in my fridge. The best accompaniment to truffle is eggs and I remembered back to last year when I tried a Truffle Egg Sando at Sandoitchi cafe. It was incredible - the egg was so soft and the truffle enhanced it perfectly. So simple but so perfect!
I was lucky enough to get some fresh black truffles from express posted from the Southern Forests in Manjimup, WA from Australian Truffle Traders. These treasures arrived all the way from Western Australia within 2 days and came with an adorable business card from the dog that found the truffle Charlie who was a rescue dog on his third home. The card also tells you when the truffle was picked and who it was packed by. It arrived in a glass jar on some wooden curls. They ship on Mondays and Tuesdays so that the truffle doesn't sit at the post office over the weekend. Truffles are priced at $2 per gram and $30 postage and truffle shavers are also available for sale. There are a couple of weeks left of truffle season so get in as soon as possible!
But back to this tamagoyaki sandwich! My problem was that I didn't have a tamagoyaki pan and don't have the room in my small kitchen for another tool. But where there's a will, there's a way. I didn't want to sacrifice flavour or texture but I wanted to devise a way to make it easy for anyone to make a tamagoyaki sandwich! Two dozen eggs and many sandos later I'm delighted to share how to make tamagoyaki sando that tastes like it comes straight from Japan!
8 Tips for making a Tamagoyaki without a Tamagoyaki pan!
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1 - Tamagoyaki is very simple and it is just egg with a bit of sweet and salt seasoning. Soy sauce can be used but this turns the cooked omelette a grey colour which isn't as visually appealing. You can also use white or invisible soy sauce but these can be difficult to source. I prefer to use dashi and salt instead. You can also get a vegetarian version of dashi made with kelp. If you can't source dashi, a mild flavoured fish or chicken broth will also do.
2- I recommend using a food processor to blend up your eggs. Whisking by hand doesn't quite break up the whites enough and you don't want any white patches in your omelette. You want your tamagoyaki to be a consistent, smooth yellow colour.
3 - Sieve your eggs to ensure that there are no whites. This also gets rid of most of the foam that results from blending in the food processor.
4 - Make sure to line your baking tin with parchment to make it easy to get the omelette out. First spray your tin with non stick oil first so that the parchment adheres well to the tin (you don't want the egg mixture sliding in under the parchment).
5 - My tamagoyaki cooks on low heat for a while because you want a gentle set custard. I've seen other recipes that cook it on a higher heat for a shorter period and these may work (I haven't tried these). However I don't want the egg to be rubbery (eggs can become rubbery at a higher temperature).
6 - I tried a microwave version of this and it was ok and super fast to make but not as amazing as the baked version. I also tried doing this in a frying pan but I just didn't love the texture and I felt that it was harder to achieve the result I wanted.
7 - I recommend spreading the bread with seaweed butter but you can also serve this with a mayonnaise and mustard mixture.
8 - You can make the omelette a day ahead of time and cover it and keep it in the fridge.
The day that I thought to make this I rushed to my fridge to see that I only had six eggs and that wouldn't be enough for tamagoyaki testing as well as Mr NQN's birthday cake. I try to avoid grocery shopping because well COVID, but there's an excellent small, independent supermarket that I tend to go to that somehow always has everything that I want to buy. Their prices are really reasonable and pretty much the same as a larger supermarket. A little aside: do you ever find some shops are like that? Like they have your taste covered no matter how random (and my food needs are very random!)?
I wanted to pick up some eggs and bread for this sando. I have this little routine at this shop where I stand outside and wait to see how many people are inside. Then when I see there aren't many people I check in and go in and buy things as quickly as I can and then get the hell outta there! I've gotten my average store visit time to between 1-2 minutes which makes Mr NQN chuckle because he and Teddy are usually waiting outside for me and he is holding his phone as a stopwatch!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a shop that you go to that always has what you want? Do you have any tactics or tips to get in and out of shops? And do you have any favourite ways to use truffle?
Truffle Tamagoyaki Sando
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 2 (makes 2 sandwiches)
2 teaspoons caster or superfine sugar
1/2 cup dashi
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 slices white bread
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard (I used Maille Dijon)
5g/0.18oz black truffle
You can make these truffle infused eggs too by storing eggs in a glass jar with a truffle for 2-3 days
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 80C/170F and spray a 19x11cms/7.5x4.3inch loaf tin with oil spray and then line with parchment 1.5 inches up the side.
Step 2 - Crack the eggs into a bowl and add to a food processor with the sugar, dashi and salt and blitz until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and then pour into the baking tin. Bake for 1 hour. Increase heat to 130C/266F and bake for 10 minutes or until the top is set and the mixture is no longer runny. Cool for 15 minutes in the tin. Cut the rectangle in half to make 2 squares.
Step 3 - Mix the mayonnaise and mustard together. Spread one slice of bread with the mayonnaise and then place the other piece of bread underneath it. Place the square of omelette on top and then cut the crusts around it. Spread the other slice of bread with the mayo mustard and cut the sandwich in half. Shave truffle on top.