Ajitsuke Tamago - Japanese marinated soft boiled egg

Ajitsuke Tamago - Japanese marinated soft boiled egg

Eggs. Damn buggers get me every time. Soft boiling eggs is a process that has made me almost throw the whole pot against the wall. I am going to level with you - I always have enough soft boiled eggs when I serve the ramen but I don’t mention the two cartons it took to get there. They say the key is the to keep the water at a bare simmer and boil for about 6 minutes. Even though I do this every time at least half of mine are over cooked. I choose to believe this is the way the cooking gods choose to keep me humble. “Oh miss smarty pants all proud of yourself, think you have figured it all out?” “No way - can't even cook a simple egg - the shame.” It may be because eggs know my distaste for a runny egg. I know it’s cool to put an egg on it but the texture of the yolk just grates at me. It’s like someone just blew their nose all over my food. Don’t fear though if they come out hard boiled just make up a Japanese name and say you cooked them that style, “these are traditional Hardamatsu eggs, a very old rare recipe”.

If you have happened to make the Chamsu Pork then most of your recipe is already done. I use the marinade from that pork to marinate my eggs. Similar to the pork these eggs are great in ramen but can be eaten on their own or used in other recipes. 

Since the ingredients are so simple we will just move on to the process.

Combine the marinade ingredients and set aside.

The hardest part is the soft boiled egg. Bring a pot of water to a boil. While you are waiting for your water to boil prep your eggs. Poke a tiny hole in the fat end of each egg. I use a thumbtack. Be very gentle you just need a small prick, push too hard and scrambled eggs are in your near future. If this part freaks you out just skip it, it’s done to get rid of that air bubble at one end and to prevent them from cracking.

Carefully lower your eggs into your water and reduce the heat to bring the water to just a bare simmer.Cook for 6 minutes, not 4 not 5 6 minutes. Resist the urge to leave the kitchen. Set a timer that is on par with a blaring horn. These eggs are like trying to tell the I.R.S. why your taxes are late, they don’t care you will pay the price. After 6 minutes drain hot water and peel the eggs under cold running water. Be gentle the whites are very fragile.

Place your peeled eggs either in a Ziplock bag or a bowl. If you use a Ziplock make sure to squeeze all the air out so the eggs are completely covered. If using a bowl the eggs are buoyant and will pop up to the top. To prevent this there are two methods I use. I either use a plate that fits inside the bowl to weigh them down or a paper towel will work too.

Place the eggs in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Once done, drain and put in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. They should be good for around 3 days. I serve these with my ramen but my mistake ones get snatched up quickly when out on their own.


1 cup water

1 cup sake

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup mirin

1/2 cup sugar

6 eggs

Combine water, sake, soy, mirin, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Pierce fat end of each egg with a thumbtack to make a tiny hole (this prevents them from cracking and eliminates the air bubble at the end). Carefully lower eggs into water with a wire mesh spider or slotted spoon. Reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook for exactly 6 minutes. Drain hot water and carefully peel eggs under cold running water (the whites will be quite delicate).

Transfer eggs to a bowl that just barely fits them all. Pour marinade on top until eggs are covered or just floating. Place a double-layer of paper towels on top and press down until completely saturated in liquid to help keep eggs submerged and marinating evenly. Refrigerate and marinate at least four hours and up to 12. Discard marinade after 12 hours. Store eggs in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in ramen soup to serve.

All thanks go to Chef J.Kenji Lopez-Alt for introducing me to this recipe.

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