hanjuku tamago

The Perfect Ramen Egg

If you are adulting for the first time, a starving student, or it’s a week til payday, the only thing worse than your crushing student debt or electric bill is the lingering hunger you always feel. Struggle food comes to the rescue, and for many this may include things like boxed mac and cheese, canned tuna, microwave hot dogs on white bread, or a simple rice bowl with a modest topping.

In our case, the rice bowl is the epitome of simplicity. It’s cheap, plentiful, and a blank canvas for whatever you want to put on top of it. Today, we are going to make the perfect hanjuku tamago or soft-cooked egg with the jammy yolk. It’s really the most complete and beautiful food, and on top of rice, the most complete and beautiful meal.

hanjuku tamago
Hanjuku tamago, ready for some hungry customers.

For the perfect ramen egg, you will need:

  • large eggs, however many you’d like to make but start with 3 – 6
  • boiling water

For the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • a splash of sake
  • 1/4 cup of water

Using an egg piercer or a safety pin, carefully poke a tiny hole on the blunt end of the eggs. The large end of the egg has a small air pocket and this hole will make the peeling of the egg much easier. Gently put the eggs into boiling water and boil for 6 1/2 to 7 minutes. As soon as the eggs are done, shock them in cold water to stop the cooking process.

In a bowl or storage container, mix the marinade ingredients together.

Peel the eggs by gently tapping the shell with the side of a chef’s knife all over. Starting at the end with the hole, gently peel off the shell as if taking off wrapping paper. If any shell is being stubborn, just run cold water over it to loosen. Using older eggs makes for an even easier peeling experience.

Put the eggs into the marinade and pop into the fridge. They will be good for up to a week. The longer they stay in the marinade, the more character the yolks develop. As they pick up flavours from the marinade, they get more complex and take on a fluid gel texture. They’re sublime. You’ll see…