Recipe - Japanese Ramen Egg (Ajitsuke Tamago)

I only felt that this was the appropriate day to post this recipe since it is right before the famed egg holiday (also known as Easter) but the post is more than a yolk...I mean, joke. It is part of the glorious dish we all known and love as ramen. You see, this marinated soft boiled egg known as ajitsuke tamago has a droolworthy combination of several character traits - there is a salty, savory flavor on the outside, a perfectly cooked egg white, and a half runny, half salted yolk. I love having this egg with my ramen so I just had to make some for my friends for our Japanese themed dinner. To clarify, I also made the rest of the ramen dish too including chashu pork and the miso ramen broth itself. Since this was my first go at it, I consulted several recipes but spent quite a lot of time checking out this one here because it also took note of the science behind the dish. My thanks to the collective internet for its collective wisdom and guidance!

I actually thought that this was quite the difficult recipe to prepare, mainly because of the peeling of soft boiled eggs. I kept breaking the egg whites so what started as 10 eggs became just 6 usable ones. Keep this in mind before you get started! Also, the marinating will take at minimum four hours' time so do ahead if you can. If you previously made chashu pork, use the remaining liquid you kept to use as the marinade instead of the recipe for a marinade below.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 6-10 eggs)

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 10-12 large eggs

Step 2: Boiling the eggs
Boiling eggs can become tricky - in the case of this dish, you want the white to set but the yolk to be nice and runny. This involves not letting the boiling water get to a certain temperature that would usually overcook the whites. To accomplish this, bring water to a boil (about half a gallon) before adding in straight-from-the-fridge eggs; reduce water to a simmer. The cold eggs will lower the temperature below boiling and not cause the whites to overcook. Cook in this simmer for six to six and a half minutes.

Step 3: Prepping and marinating the eggs
The egg whites will be extremely delicate at this point but peel them quickly under cold running water after you've drained out the hot water. I lost a few eggs during this process because the egg whites would collapse on me. For the marinating, I had used my chashu pork leftover liquids (removed the top layer of fat that had collected) but if you are using the recipe above, whisk all of it together into a bowl. Place peeled eggs into the marinade and cover with a paper towel to ensure even coating of marinade.

Step 4: Finishing
Marinate at minimum four hours and at maximum, twelve hours. Enjoy with your ramen or any other dish requiring a delectable marinated, soft boiled egg!

Photography by Duc Duong.