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“Tamagoyaki”: A Rolled Delight for Both the Eye and Palate

Food and Drink Culture

Fluffy and savory, tamagoyaki is a standard bentō side dish. This easy-to-make version is seasoned with only salt and sugar and can be made in a rectangular tamagoyaki skillet or regular frying pan. It may take a few attempts, but once you get the hang of it you will enjoy rolling out these treats on any occasion.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 pinches of salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Vegetable oil, as needed


  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the oil in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Heat skillet so it is hot enough that the egg mixture will not stick to the surface. When hot, coat the surface with a small amount of vegetable oil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium or low and pour in 1/4 of the egg mixture. (When using three eggs, adding the mixture in four parts will produce a well-shaped omelet.)
  4. When the egg has set, use chopsticks or a spatula to roll it from the front to the back of the skillet. Don’t get discouraged if the omelet loses its shape some.

It takes a little practice to get the desired shape. (©

  1. Move the rolled omelet to the front of the skillet and add another 1/4 of the egg mixture. Lift the omelet slightly to allow the mixture to spread underneath.

Lift the omelet slightly to let the egg mixture spread underneath. (©

  1. When the egg mixture has set, again roll the omelet from the front of the skillet. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the egg mixture is used up.

The tamagoyaki is almost done. (©

  1. Turn off the heat and carefully shape the omelet with chopsticks or a spatula. Transfer it to a plate and gently press it with a paper towel. Slice into bite-sized portions and serve.

Cooking Tips

  • Making rolled omelets is easier with a rectangular tamagoyaki skillet, but a round frying pan can be used. If you are ever in Japan, though, you can pick up a rectangular pan for around ¥1,000.
  • Adding water to the mixture makes the omelet cook up moist.
  • This recipe only calls for salt and sugar, but dashi stock, mirin sweet sake, regular sake, and soy sauce are also tasty ingredients that can be included to alter the flavor.
  • Tamagoyaki fits easily into lunch boxes and is standard bentō fare in Japan. Give it a try and make it part of your side-dish repertoire.

(Originally written in Japanese with editorial assistance by Usami Rika and published on December 25, 2017. Photos by Natori Kazuhisa, except where otherwise noted.)

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