Have you ever attempted making ramen eggs only to end up sorely disappointed? I sure have had my fair share of those moments. Either the eggs would start cracking the moment they hit the boiling water, or they would end up looking like a horrid mess (because egg sticks to the shell), or they would end up being hard-boiled. I can’t remember how many times these eggs ended up in my egg mayo sandwich. I swore off making these eggs completely, but recently my itchy hands decided to give these ajitsuke tamago another shot. And FINALLYYY, I’ve figured out the trick to making them! I was crying for joy when I witnessed beautiful liquid gold oozing out of my ramen eggs. Below are some tips for foolproof ramen eggs, and do be sure to read each and every tip!
TIP #1: Use large eggs that are 60g in weight.
My mum always buys eggs from the wet market, and they are usually extra large or jumbo eggs that are 70g or heavier. I’ve been using these jumbo eggs to make ramen eggs, only to find that they crack every single time upon entering the pot of boiling water. It finally occured to me that these jumbo eggs have thinner shells than their smaller counterparts, and so they crack much more easily. Large eggs of around 60g have shells that are thick enough to withstand the heat of boiling water, and have more egg whites for consumption, so they are an ideal choice for making ramen eggs. Here’s a chart on egg sizes and their respective weights for your reference:
Image from Gulf News
TIP #2: Cook the eggs at least 2-3 days after you buy them.
The fresher the eggs, the more likely they will stick to their shells, and that spells disaster for peeling eggs. It’s best to cook the eggs at least 2-3 days after buying them to ensure that they are not as fresh so that they can be peeled easily. If you can wait, buy the eggs a week in advance before cooking them!
TIP #3: Use room temperature eggs instead of cold eggs for boiling.
Many ajitsuke tamago recipes call for cold eggs, but cold eggs will crack more easily when subjected to hot boiling water due to thermal shock. If you use room temperature eggs instead, the temperature difference is reduced and therefore the eggs are much less likely to crack.
TIP #4: Cook more eggs than you need, just in case some fail.
There’s always a chance of losing some eggs due to cracking or peeling, so cook 1-2 more eggs than you would need!
TIP #5: Keep the water at a simmer rather than at a boil when cooking the eggs.
If the water is kept at a rolling boil, the eggs will move around in the pot too much and may crack upon hitting each other. Keeping the water at a simmer (see small bubbles appearing) prevents the eggs from knocking into each other. When simmering, the water temperature is around 95°C so it’s hot enough to cook the eggs as well.
TIP #6: Don’t marinate the eggs for too long.
Due to the high salt content of the marinade, keeping the eggs in the marinade for too long not only makes the eggs saltier, but also alters the texture of the eggs. Over-marinated eggs tend to be harder and more rubbery. Marinating the eggs for about 4 to 12 hours is good enough for the eggs to absorb the flavour and colour of the marinade. If you want to consume the eggs at a later date, remove the eggs from the marinade after 12 hours and store them in another container.
First, bring a pot of water to a boil. Ensure that the water is enough to cover the eggs. Once boiling, lower the fire so that the water is simmering (small bubbles appearing) and not boiling.
Add eggs into the pot, all at the same time if possible. I use a strainer to add the eggs in.
Maintain the water at a simmer (bubbling gently), and cook eggs for 5 minutes and 45 seconds.
Remove the eggs after 5 minutes and 45 seconds, and place eggs in a bowl of ice water.
After 3-5 minutes in the ice water, peel the egg shells gently. Unfortunately, I destroyed one egg in the process of peeling. Place eggs into a bowl.
Combine soy sauce, dark soy sauce (for colour), mirin and water and pour the mixture into the bowl. Using a cling film or kitchen towel, cover the bowl and press the cling film/kitchen towel down such that it is in direct contact with the marinade and eggs. This will ensure the eggs are marinated more evenly.
Marinate the eggs for 4 to 12 hours, rotating the eggs midway through the marinating process so they will be more evenly coloured. After that, remove the eggs from the marinade and store them in another container if you wish to consume them at a later date.
Look at that beautiful deep golden liquid! These eggs are really good enough to eat on their own, but even better in a bowl of ramen. Now that you’ve learnt how to make ajitsuke tamago, try making Japanese chashu to pair with your ramen!
Ajitsuke Tamago (Ramen Egg)
- 6 large eggs 60g per egg
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- ¼ cup mirin
- ½ tbsp dark soy sauce
- ½ cup water
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Ensure the water level is high enough to cover the eggs. Once boiling, reduce to heat to maintain a simmer (small bubbles appearing). Important: Make sure the water is not at a rolling boil!
- Insert eggs into pot, all at the same time if possible. Cook for 5 minutes and 45 seconds.
- Remove eggs and place in a bowl of ice water for 3-5 minutes. After that, gently remove the egg shells and place eggs into a separate bowl.
- Combine all the marinade ingredients together, then pour marinade over the eggs. Using a cling film or kitchen towel, cover the bowl and press the cling film/kitchen towel down such that it is in direct contact with the marinade and eggs. This will ensure the eggs are marinated more evenly.
- Marinate the eggs for 4 to 12 hours, rotating the eggs midway through the marinating process. Once done, remove the eggs from the marinade and store them in another container if you wish to consume them at a later date. Otherwise, cut the eggs in half and enjoy them with a bowl of ramen!