Ok. That’s a pretty pathetic recreation of Spongebob. Gotta give me marks for trying though, right? I was away in Langkawi (an Island off the northwest coast of Malaysia) for a work engagement and came home with makiyakinabe or a Japanese rectangular omelette pan that is used to make Tamagoyaki or Tamago or Dashimaki.
Foreign as they sound, they all mean the same thing: grilled egg or a Japanese omelette that’s make by simply rolling layers of omelette into a rectagular “cake” like roll. It’s a popular feature in the Japanese bento (llunch) box and a sushi sushi neta (topping) too. I like it cos it’s pretty to look at and, well, cos I like all omelettes. If you’re not feeling like a Japanese meal, the Tamagoyaki can work as a side dish to any meal too.
There are sweet and savoury tamagoyaki, depending on your preferance. I prefer the savoury one which generally means you mix the eggs (about 3) with dashi (stock) and Japanese soy sauce and beat them well. I added pepper too and a dash of salt. If you want it sweetish, add some mirin and sugar — just a little, mind you.
Making the tamayogaki isn’t difficult but there is an art to rolling the layers of egg while the pan is still on the stove without browning it too much. Watch this video on how it’s supposed to be done. It’s pretty amazing.
This is the makiyakinabe. You can find it at some kitchen shops in KL but in langkawi, where there is no tax, it’s a lot cheaper. I got my Maxim pan for just Rm30.
Now, once you have beated the egg-dashi-spy sauce mixture, heat the makiyakinabe and grease it with some butter/oil. Have some melted butter reasy in a bowl for you have to keep brushing the pan. Watch the video link to get an idea of how this is done.
Once grease, pour a portion of the egg mixture into the pan and swirl it around so that the surface is equally covered with egg. You just want a think layer so be wary how much you pour. Let it set for a minute or tow and then using a pair of chopsticks (if you’re adept at it) or spatula/spoon, roll it inwards to form a rectangle at the far end of the pan. Brush the pan with butter again. Use a heat resistant brush or you may be in trouble.
Pour another layer of egg — make sure you gently lift the rolled egg cake so the liquid egg mixture flows under it. Turn the pan 180 C and start rolling the egg cake up again, till you get a thicker roll. Repeat till egg mixture finished.
To keep your tamagoyaki pale yellow, keep the fire low. Mine ended up a little brown as I wasnt watching the heat. You also would want to use light soy sauce to avoid darkening the egg batter too much.
You can, of course, add some tamagoyaki by adding finely chopped scallions to the egg batter. Or green chillies, onions, garlic, or you can slip in a thin sheet of nori seaweed. on the egg layer before rolling it upwards.
If you are like me and prefer your tamayogaki firm, you can slip it under the grill for a about 5 mins. Or you could it microwave it for a bit too. The egg roll/squares are usually eaten with soy sauce or grated radish. You could also make a dip with Japanese mayonnaise too.
1/4 cup dashi
pinch of salt and pepper
dash of soy sauce