Ajitsuke Tamago (Japanese Marinated Soft Boiled Egg)

Cooking is an art mostly based on "agar-ation" (slang for estimation)., which is why recipes blogged about here are seldom exacting. But this recipe for soft boiled ramen eggs is probably the most precise cooking I've ever done. Just about everything, from the timing to the marinade seasoning, is drawn right down to the wire.

The tip here is to start with regular, Goldilocks-sized eggs: not too small, not too big, not the atypical low cholesterol or high vitamin ones; they have to be just right. And, try not to use ultra fresh eggs. I find that the ones that are about 4-5 days old produce the best results.

One last tip: always overbudget your eggs, because there will be some that won't make it out of the deshelling. We started off with 10 eggs, and only 7 survived! 

Ingredients (feeds 4; estimate 1 egg per person):
4 eggs
1 cup water
1 cup sake
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup light soy
1/2 cup sugar

1) Put the water, sake, mirin, soy and sugar in a container and whisk till homogenous.

2) Heat water in a pot till a softly bubbling boil, and lower the eggs into it. The fire has to be at a consistent, softly bubbling heat, and not a rolling boil.

3) Remove eggs from heat at the 6-minute mark, and shock them in an ice-bath for about a minute or 2, until fully cooled.

4) Gingerly deshell them, taking great care while peeling because the eggs, with their soft centers, will be delicate and wobbly. The eggs should look like this on the inside.

5) Marinate them in a covered container for at least 4 hours but no more than 5 hours. You want the marinade to season outer lining of the eggs, but not soak all the way through and overwhelm the eggs. Because the eggs will float, place a small light lid over the eggs to sink them so the marinade covers the eggs entirely.

6) Remove from marinade, and store them in the fridge for use up to 3 days later.

Variation to make this Muslim-friendly (i.e. no cooking alcohol):
Swop out the mirin and sake with 2 tbsp oyster sauce and 1 tbsp thick black soy, heat the entire mixture to activate the flavours, and let cool before marinating eggs.


FoodieFC said...

I like these eggs too. Made them myself too. The hard part is peeling off shells as the egg is still so soft =D

Bern said...

yeah that's why, out of 10 eggs, only 7 survived the peeling! :(

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