By Mari Nameshida / Special to The Japan NewsI still recall flipping through a weekly magazine while waiting for my turn at a dentist few years ago, and reading part of an article by an American ramen blogger. What he said was so true! “Ramen is a full-course meal in a bowl,” he declared, because it includes a soup made from a fine broth, noodles, a main dish (normally braised pork), and side dishes (ramen egg, vegetables, seaweed and so on), with each of them prepared to perfection. You just happen to eat them all at the same time and enjoy the harmony of flavors. Today I would like to introduce what I can say is my favorite “side dish” — ramen eggs.
You can’t just think of them as seasoned boiled eggs: Ramen eggs are a distinct and unique dish, with a super creamy and smooth yolk, and full of flavor. The yolk is never fully cooked, and can have a custard-like texture. The recipe is no secret. It just involves cooking the eggs for less time than usual and then peeling them carefully and marinating them for several days. But it will feel ridiculously difficult to peel the eggs, as they are considerably more fragile than you might imagine, having been cooked for only five minutes. (The egg yolk is still very runny.) As such, please take time and peel them with care. After you marinate them, on the first day, they will be almost raw and runny inside, but they will gradually become firmer day by day. They “cook” by osmotic pressure rather than heat, and the saltiness (and flavor) gradually infuses the egg while the liquid leaves them, and thus the texture becomes creamy and firm.
I love these ramen eggs, also known as ajitama (flavored eggs), so I eat them even when I am not eating ramen. Sometimes I put them on cooked rice, or just have them with beer, or put them in my bento. You can even make fantastic sandwiches by mashing a ramen egg with butter and eating it on bread. With a few practice runs you’ll be able to adjust the cooking time to ensure easy peeling and make the perfect creamy egg of your dreams.
Mari’s recipe for ramen eggs
50cc soy sauce
3 pieces ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp sesame oil
1. Place eggs and enough cold water to cover them in a pot, then bring to a boil.
2. Boil the eggs for 5 minutes then drain the water. Leave the eggs in cold water to cool.
3. Combine all the other ingredients in a container and mix well.
4. Peel the eggs carefully (they are still very soft) and place them in a container.
5. Refrigerate for 3-5 days depending on how much flavor you want. Please experiment to find the conditions for your ideal egg! The eggs can still be eaten up to a week later.
To find out more about Japan’s attractions, visit http://the-japan-news.com/news/d&d