Tamagoyaki is a favorite Japanese lunch box item, often found in purchased bento boxes or made by a home cook for school lunches. Dashi flavored thin, delicate layers of cooked egg are rolled together to make a large fluffy omelet. It’s deeply savory from the dashi and all kinds of yummy things can be added just like in the omelets you may be more familiar with. Because it can be served warm, cold, or room temperature, tamagoyaki is a versatile side dish that can be served at any meal or just enjoyed as a quick snack.
And while I love its umami rich goodness, it can be a little labor intensive for my regular meal rotation. Although the prepping of ingredients is quick and simple, the cooking technique is not. A square pan, which I’m sure you all have, is heated and oiled, and then a small amount of the egg mixture is poured into the pan. The thin egg crepe is rolled and then the process is repeated over and over again until you’ve created a thick egg omelette about the size of a brick. It’s delicious and impressive, but it’s completely hands on and requires a lot of delicate work. And thus my Tamagoyaki Frittata was born. All the flavor I love with a straightforward process that lets me enjoy it far more often. Brunch, supper, leftovers for lunch…this does it all, so let’s get into it.
Making Tamagoyaki Frittata
If you’ve made any type of frittata before, the process will be very familiar. What may be new is the addition of super savory ingredients like dashi stock, mirin, and soy sauce that give it a decidedly Japanese twist. You can make my homemade dashi and use it for this, or you can use dashi powder. I like to add crabsticks and scallions too.
Have you ever had a frittata and it’s a thin and rubbery dissapointment? The trick is to use the correct number of eggs for the pan and not to overcook it. I also use a moderately hot oven, which protects the eggs a bit; eggs cook better at lower temperatures. So a good rule of thumb is to use the same number of eggs as the size of the pan. Today, I’m using an 8 inch skillet so I will be using 8 eggs. Once you pour the mixture into the pan, you might be a little scared that it will overflow, but fear not. This is the correct amount, and you will get a nice fluffy, thick Tamagoyaki Frittata that’s insta-worthy.
Another tip, take care not to overbeat the eggs; too much air whipped into the eggs will result in a dry and spongy texture instead of the fluffy delight we’re going for.
Bake in the center of the oven until it’s puffed up and the center is set, 15-20 minutes.
Use a spatula to loosen the edges and turn it out onto a cutting board or serving plate.
The beauty of this Tamagoyaki Frittata is that it’s insanely delicious right out of the oven, or at room temperature, or cold right out of the fridge! It’s perfect for a family dinner or hosting a brunch. Serve it alongside Korean Cucumber Salad for an easy meal everyone will love.
- 8 large eggs
- 8 Tablespoons (½ cup) dashi (I used katsuobushi and kombu combo but you can use another kind)
- 6 crabsticks
- 2 scallions, trimmed and minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon mirin
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- Preheat the oven to 375 and move the shelf to the middle rack of the oven.
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Add the dashi, salt, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to the bowl and stir well to combine. (If you are using a whip, try not to incorporate too much air into your eggs. You want to mix it, not beat it.)
- Cut the crab sticks in half and then pull them apart into shreds with your hands. Set it aside.
- Heat an 8” non stick or seasoned cast iron skillet over medium high heat for several minutes. Add the neutral oil and swirl it around the pan to coat the surface.
- Sprinkle the crab and scallion evenly over the skillet and then pour the eggs into the skillet.
- Put the skillet into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the center is just set (it’s fine if it’s still slightly jiggly but you do not want it to be liquidy) and the egg has puffed up kind of like a souffle.
- Run a thin spatula around the edges of the frittata to free any sticky bits and then turn it out onto a cutting board.
- Cut the frittata into 8 wedges and serve immediately.
*Tamagoyaki frittata is good warm, room temperature, or cold
* You can also use 1 teaspoon of dashi powder mixed with ½ cup of water or use a dashi packet and simmer it with 1 ½ cups of water (using only ½ cup for the recipe)
Keywords: brunch, eggs, tamagoyaki, japanese