Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tamago kakegohan (hot steamed rice topped with raw egg)

After repeatedly whining about my foodless posts these days, I finally had something post-able today that doesn`t include my scooter. But as you might already guess from the title, I must warn those of you who are not into eating raw eggs. I`m perfectly aware of how the sight of raw eggs eaten as they are can be quite challenging in some cultures. I myself did not grow up in "raw food" culture, except for some vegetables. First time I saw this raw egg served on a bowl of hot steamed rice called tamago kakegohan in Japanese was on TV during my first year in Japan and I kept saying, "Why? Why? Why???". Years passed by and I still couldn`t make myself have it despite how intriguing it looked to me. It was only recently that I finally challenged myself and later decided that this tamago kakegohan is certainly one of my comfort Japanese food next after (or before??) natto.
So, if you think you are not comfortable with this particular food, then you might be better stop scrolling down your mouse and browse my other recipes instead :)
And for those of you are curious and interested in trying, I need to say these few things loud and clear first. 
1. Only eat raw eggs when they are still fresh. As fresh as possible. In Japan, most of the eggs in the stores are stamped with the "use before" date, which usually also indicates the safe period for raw consumption. But please confirm the safety instruction on the pack if you`re not sure. For me, I usually only eat them raw within 3-4 days after I bought them and kept in the fridge. Longer than that, the eggs will be served as cooked dish or baked items.
2. If you are pregnant, sick, or are having problem with your immunity system, don`t eat the eggs raw unless you have consulted with your doctors. I`m not knowledgeable enough to tell you what`s good or bad, but generally speaking, one needs to be extra cautious about the food choice during such conditions.
3. If you live in Japan, it`s very likely that you won`t have any problem with finding "suitable" eggs for raw consumption. But if you don`t and you`re not sure about the food safety, pasteurized eggs seems to be a good option. I found this tips from Rachael of La Fuji Mama (thank you, Rachael!), so you might want to hop over her blog to see her version of tamago kakegohan too.

Now I`m finished with the cautions, are you ready for the adventure?
First thing to do is to stay away from your stove. Instead, go get a bowl of hot steamed rice, make a little well in the center, and crack in a fresh egg.
Sometimes I don`t bother to make the well and I just place the egg right on top of the rice.

The simplest way in making tamago kakegohan  is probably by drizzling soy sauce or sprinkle salt over.
But I never do that and I don`t know why. I always add something for topping. What I`m showing you here is sesame seeds and dried shrimps. If I had kimchi, I would have added it in too.

Then, I have to add ra-yu, or chili-infused sesame oil. Whatever topping I use, ra-yu is always in it.
I sprinkle a bit of salt too as this whole set would be quite bland without it. When I want the nuttiness from the sesame seed and sesame oil to stand out, I usually opt for salt rather than soy sauce.

On top of everything, I added shredded nori (seaweed) paper and sprinkled some more sesame seed.
Done! How long was that? 5 seconds??

Now here`s my most favorite part of the eating ritual.
Dig the chopsticks in to break the egg underneath, stir it in circular movement until the rice is gradually coated by the creamy egg. Then, hold your breath...

...and scoop the eggy rice now...yum yum yum!
This rich, creamy, and comforting bowl of rice despite of its simplicity is a real no-fuss food, which is also my go-to menu after a hectic or exhausting day. This dish seems to be popular as breakfast menu among Japanese, but I often make this for my express dinner. One thing I feel inside every time I have this bowl of tamago kakegohan in my hands is, "Ah, it`s good to be home".

Hope your adventure goes well too!

Serves 1 person

1 bowl of hot steamed rice
1 fresh whole egg
1 Tbs sesame seeds
1 Tbs dried shrimps
2 tsp Ra-yu (chili-infused sesame oil)
Shredded nori paper

1. Prepare a bowl of hot steamed rice (Optional: make a well in the center).
2. Crack a fresh egg in the center or on top of the rice.
3. Sprinkle sesame seeds, dried shrimps, and salt over.
4. Drizzle ra-yu (chili-infused sesame oil)over.
5. Sprinkle shredded nori paper and some more sesame seeds.


  1. Hello!!
    Thanks for commenting on my blog! I love finding other bloggers in Sendai, but I haven't found that many, despite searching yours didn't come up. And I'm especially happy to have found a food blog, since that's my best hobby too! And if that food blogger is from Indonesia and has lived in Malaysia, all the better since we love all Asian foods :D I actually just started a food blog but it's barely got going yet.
    I'll definitely be following your blog from now on :D

  2. Ps - I love tamagokake gohan, although I always cook mine in the microwave for 20seconds to take a little sloppiness out to the egg. I'm not squeamish about raw eggs, I just don't like the texture! Serving it with all those additions is a great idea :)

    1. Hi Susie! Thanks for visiting! The Asian food I cook are probably not good enough in term of authenticity due my lack of skill and (sometimes) ingredients. But I do hope my posts can inspire people to cook for fun and use whatever they have in their pantries :)

  3. This looks absolutely divine!!

  4. What an amazing idea to post this simple, but at the same time extraordinary recipe. It sounds sooooooo Japanese (I have never been in Japan but have understood the Japanese love raw yolks). As a European eating chocolate mousse (raw yolk+white), tiramisù (both) and steak tartare (it is not steak tartare if there is no yolk) and home-made mayonnaise (yolk), I am definitely not afraid of raw eggs. On the other hand, I have never heard about it and have never put raw yolk in rice (although even thinking about runny yolk from a fried egg mixed with rice makes me hungry!). I also love the dried shrimp, nori, I make now 1 liter jars of my own taberu rayu and am addicted to sesame seeds... In short, thank you for making a dish which sounds especially for me. I will certainly try it. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Hello Sissi, I too wasn`t afraid of raw eggs, but only if they are "processed" in such way (like the addition of sugar, cream, oil, and other ingredients) so that I don`t need to see the whole rawness before consuming them. I especially wasn`t big on the raw whites. That`s why it took me years to finally embrace this tamago kakegohan as my comfort meal :) "Eat first, then decide" is a real lesson for me here :D

  5. I have never been a big fan of raw eggs growing up simply because I don't like mushy texture that rice becomes (I prefer dry than wet rice - maybe that's why I don't like okayu either). But your pictures here look so good. You did a wonderful job explaining and introducing this simple dish. I can't trust American eggs unless I get it from a good source, so I avoid raw eggs in general, even for Sukiyaki! That was my only exception that I use raw eggs.... Really, delicious post!!!

    1. This is interesting! I`ve met some Japanese people who don`t like natto and umeboshi, and now I finally know a Japanese who doesn`t like this food :DDD But I`m glad that you still enjoy the visualization here :)

  6. that looks amazing! I really want to try that now, especially as it doesn't look too complicated at all!

    1. Hi じゅりあ! Hope you like it as much as I do!

  7. The first time I had Tamago kakegohan was after an all night Karaoke session with friends. The alcohol was wearing off and I was getting a hangover before hitting the sack. On the way back my Japanese friends insisted we stop off at a 24/7 restaurant and get something to eat. They ordered for me and to my surprise this raw egg arrived at my table. My immediate reaction was how the fuck would a raw egg stop me from vomiting at a time like this. Unless that was their plan. They convinced me it wasn't and that it would do me good, so I blocked my nose and scooped it down. To my surprise it was delicious and fantastic. I only ever ate it raw though, just rice, egg and some S&B Nanami. My mind was blown reading this blog at the though you could add other stuff to it... So I had some today with Kimchi and it was fantastic. Thanks again for posting.

    1. Hello, thanks for sharing your experience on eating raw egg! I had no idea that raw egg could help ease hangover, but I`m glad that it worked for you. Experimenting with different kinds of topping can be interesting too. Let me know if you have your favorite topping so I can try it too :)

  8. Hey there, realize this is an old blog but I just wanted to say thanks! Saw this on an anime I was watching called "Silver Spoon" and I wanted to Google/try it, your blog was top hit and seeing what you wrote about it i had to try it, just rice and soy and mixed it together (like in the anime heh) and loved it. I did what a comment above mentioned and nuked it for a bit to help with the texture of the whites. I dig it!! :D new easy breakfast at work :)

  9. And here I've been eating just egg and rice with no additions. Found this page by trying to show someone an example of what I was eating. Stumbling upon this made my snack today.