Introduction: Tamagoyaki? Daisuki!

Making tamagoyaki using the usual pan

It has been said that when going to a sushi-ya, the first thing to try is a tamago nigiri. It looks like a pillow of rice topped with a rectangle of cooked rolled eggs (tamagoyaki) bound together in the middle with a length of nori paper strips. The eggs are cooked using a rectangular pan – tamagoyaki pan.

I have two sizes of non-stick circular pans – they are 8 and 10 inches in diameter. No one said that tamagoyaki OUGHT TO be cooked using a tamagoyaki pan ONLY – at least no one whose opinions matter….

This I have tried several times successfully on the 8-inch pan. I suppose if the recipe is doubled, the 10-inch pan would be raising its handle at this moment (well, if Mrs. Potts can dance, my pan earns certain animations too in my kitchen…).

Step 1: Ingredients, Plus Notes...

5 large eggs
2 tablespoons agave nectar
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 tablespoons mirin
1 and ½ tablespoons canola oil

2 cups of fresh steaming rice
2 tablespoons mirin
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh-milled black pepper (takes about 8 turns of the mill)

Nori strips from nori sheets (I like nori, so mine are one-inch wide and I use the complete length of it. Also, if I put a sheet up to a light, I can see lines from the manufacturer’s press.)

- You can use sugar to substitute for agave nectar. I always have agave nectar in my pantry because I like experimenting in the kitchen with all that I cook and bake.
- Perhaps you would not want to season the rice, but I do. I like that there is balanced flavors.
- I use a good rice cooker when making sushi and I prefer short-grain rice. I have been cooking rice that way all my life without using any liquid measuring cup - my index finger and the line marking the first distal joint is my faithful guide. That said, I don't care how YOU cook rice in YOUR kitchen.
- I am not endorsing the godliness of kosher salt. It's what I stock my pantry with.
- Fresh-milled pepper is a personal preference. I fill the mill with tellicherry peppercorns.
- Neutral-flavor oils can be used to substitute for canola oil ( think of corn oil, vegetable oil, lighter olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc.)
- I never tested using egg substitute, so please don't ask me how to in that section. You may write your own instructable for that purpose.

Step 2: Let's Work on It!

- Beat all tamagoyaki ingredients together with a fork, EXCEPT oil, until blended.
- Heat pan on low medium heat. Add oil, swirl by tilting the pan, and let it heat up for one minute.
- Pour approximately ¼ cup of egg mixture and watch the edge changing color towards the center. When this is not completely solid, start coaxing the edge loose from the pan and roll it: 1/3-1/3-1/3 or tighter as you practice.
- Slide that roll to the starting side and pour another amount of egg mixture to fill the continuance of that roll. Tilt the pan so that the liquid part attaches to the more solid roll. When it changes color and still is not completely solid, repeat rolling.
- Repeat this until all the egg mixture is used.

A spatula or a spoonula is especially helpful to accomplish this task.

Imagine you are rolling pieces of pastry sheets into a brick shape. You start by rolling your first piece to closer to the end of that first piece and introduce the next piece by interweaving it inside the roll overlapping the first piece. You roll it again and repeat this process until you are out of pastry sheets.

Step 3: Continue....

To make sure all the sides – top, bottom, left, right, front, and back – are nicely cooked, be sure to stand tamagoyaki on all sides for a short time. When you are used to cooking and touching warm cooking stuff, the fingers can help.

Step 4: Halfway There...

Line a sushi mat with a sheet of wax paper and position tamagoyaki on the center. Carefully roll the paper around tamagoyaki and roll the sushi mat around. Tie the outside to keep a tightly rolled brick shape. Refrigerate for at least one hour up to eight hours.

Step 5: Let's See...

Open the roll and set the drum roll! Pick a good knife. Slice so that the rolled layers are displayed. This recipe should yield 12 slices. (Slice into halves, then into quarters, then slice each quarter into three)

Step 6: Sushi! When It's Bite-size, Think Nigiri!

Fold rice gently to mix with the rest of the sushi ingredients. With warm moist hands or a moist nigiri mold, shape into twelve two-bite size nigiri (not exactly a rice ball, but more a rice rugby or a rice mini brick/pillow – compact but not mushed. A nigiri mold as pictured may be used. Otherwise, clean hands kept moist with warm water will do.

Top with a slice of tamagoyaki (cut side down) and bind in the middle with a nori strip. Take one grain of rice and mash that grain onto the end of the strip to ‘glue’ that end. With practice, you can learn to 'hide' the end on the bottom of the nigiri.

Arrange on a presenting plate.

If you insist, you may add condiments such as pickled ginger blossom and wasabi dollops on one corner of the plate. As I have said in the beginning, I aim for balanced flavors. Condiments are condiments are condiments --- they are the extras, not even the lower-paid supporting actors...don't turn them into the stars! People who dip sushi in gray mixture of wasabi and soy sauce in industrial proportion simply disgust me.

1. Practice makes perfect. This is not written for starter cooks or people who do not know how to control the stove.
2. Cooking is a joy and cleanliness is next to godliness (super-cleanliness, that's different - that's freakiness!)
3. Good food is better when shared with good friends.

Scanpan Family Recipes Challenge

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