Hanjuku Eggs

April 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Since the first post on this blog is about hanjuku eggs, I’d say the latter!

If you’ve ever had ramen at a ramen-ya, you’ve likely seen or eaten these little balls of oozy goodness. Tender and tasty whites encasing a richly molten yellow-orange yolk, they may look fairly pedestrian but taste like heaven. Unfortunately, not every ramen shop does it perfectly, and so I decided to try making them myself.

There are a few factors to take into consideration to ensure you get the perfect consistency:

  • size and number of eggs
  • temperature of eggs and water
  • cooking time

I use large eggs, mainly because a tray of 10 at the local market only costs $2. Obviously, the larger your eggs, the longer it takes for them to cook.

While some people say it’s ok to put cold eggs straight into boiling water, in my personal experience that’s always a disaster waiting to happen. Eggs should be at room temperature and after washing them, place them in a pot with tap water just covering them. You can add vinegar and salt to the water to make it easier to shell the eggs later, but keep in mind that this will raise the boiling point of the water.

Then comes the tricky part.

Turn the stove on and place the pot and eggs on it. Turn up the heat so that in the space of 4 minutes (add on 1 or 2 minutes if you are cooking more than 4 eggs), the water just comes to a rolling boil. Note that during these 4 minutes, you’ll see tiny bubbles escape from the egg shells. At this point, if your eggs had started off cold, the shells would have cracked. Good thing you used room temperature eggs! ;] Also, during this time, keep stirring your eggs. This is to ensure that the yolks stay in the centre of the eggs.

Once the water has started to boil rapidly, cover the pot, turn the heat off, and set/start the timer for 4 minutes. During the first 2 of these 4 minutes, you may periodically stir the eggs around some more. During the last couple of minutes, start an ice bath. Once the 4 minutes are up, scoop out the eggs and place them in the ice bath.

While the eggs are having a good soak, prepare your marinade. Some recipes call for equal parts soy sauce, mirin and sake; I think at this point, you probably have an idea of what you want your eggs to taste like, so I’d say mix them up in whatever proportion floats your boat.

If your soy sauce is very salty, you’ll probably want to add water to the marinade so that your eggs won’t turn out to be too salty to eat. Good additions to the marinade include brown sugar, rice vinegar, shoyu, or even soba sauce. When you’re done, remember to taste it! If you like how it tastes, then it’s good to go.

At this point, your eggs are probably all chilled out and maybe arguing over whose turn it is to pay for the next round of beers. Make sure that they’re really cold, as this will prevent them from breaking apart while you are removing the shells. Take them out of the ice bath and carefully remove the shells.

To make the shells and membrane come off easier, tap them all around with a teaspoon. The smaller the shell bits are, the easier it is for the shell to be peeled off. Take care while tapping and peeling, because the eggs are going to be quite soft and fragile. You don’t want them to fall apart even before they go into the marinade! Or maybe you do…’cos they go very well with toast and some salt and pepper. But I digress.

Once the shells are off, put the eggs carefully into the marinade, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover and leave them alone for at least 2 hours, then enjoy with a piping hot bowl of ramen.

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