I have gone Japanese food crazy lately. It all started after my recent trip to Tokyo. While I always have food crushes, this time it’s more substantial. I am motivated to learn more about Japanese cuisine and to understand the basic techniques of making Japanese food, precisely Japanese home cooking.
My current love affair with Japanese food has gotten me some new kitchen utensils: a daikon grater, a tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelet) pan, and a sushi mat. I have also bought a couple of new Japanese cookbooks: Kaiseki Cookbook and Japanese Homestyle Cooking. (Both are great cookbooks!) And my pantry is now choked full of Japanese ingredients: sansho (Japanese variation of Sichuan peppercorn), konbu/kombu (dried kelp), bonito flakes, ponzu, and more miso.
For the past two weeks, I have been reading through my new cookbooks and testing out various Japanese recipes. As a home cook, the process of experimenting with unfamiliar ingredients and new techniques is inspiring. It has been very fun and fulfilling. I enjoy every minute of it.
I am a big fan of Japanese rolled omelet or tamagoyaki–the slightly sweet but delicate omelet that is often packed into Japanese bento boxes and also served at sushi bars as tamago nigiri. I love its aesthetic: yellow and all rolled up in a small package that is easily picked up with a pair of chopsticks. Plus, the taste is utterly delicious and unlike any omelets I have ever tasted!
The first time I tried making tamagoyaki, I failed in its shape and form even though I got the recipe right. There is a specific technique–a skill if you will–in making Japanese rolled omelet or tamagoyaki. My second attempt was a success, not a perfect execution yet, but I got it right. I still need to work on its presentation, the texture and consistency of each layer, and also the heat.
Anyway, I did capture some pictures of the step-by-step process for tamagoyaki, but do refer to the video clips here and here for a better guide.
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