Ramen eggs are soft-boiled eggs marinated in soy sauce with a runny, jammy yolk. Shoyu eggs, soy sauce eggs, or soy marinated eggs are other names for them.
In Japan, they’re known as ajitama or ajitsuke tamago and are frequently served atop a bowl of ramen.
Ramen eggs are soft boiled eggs that have been marinated in a mixture of soy sauce and mirin. In my opinion, no bowl of ramen is complete without these eggs. Depending on your preferences, they can have a soft, runny yolk or a gelatinous, jammy yolk.
Ajitama has a savory, umami flavor, and the amount of time they’ve been marinating affects how strong the soy sauce flavor is.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS?
- Making a small crack in each egg before boiling it makes it easier to peel even fresh eggs.
- Bringing the eggs to a boil and then lowering the heat slows the cooking process, making the timing for a perfect soft-boiled egg more forgiving. It also provides a soft jammy center by removing the temperature gradient problem, which occurs when the outside of the yolk is overcooked while the center is still almost raw.
- Using chicken stock in the marinade gives the Ajitsuke Tamago a full-bodied flavor and umami, making them taste more like they were soaked in Chashu braising liquid.
WHAT ARE RAMEN EGGS?
Ramen eggs are Japanese soft-boiled eggs famous for their custardy jammy yolks and umami flavor.
They are marinated in a sweetened soy-based sauce overnight. In Japan, these marinated eggs are known as Ajitsuke Tamago (), which is short for Ajitama () or Nitamago ().
While these eggs are delicious on ramen, they are also delicious as a side dish, on their own as a snack, or as part of a bento.
And, of course, do not stop there. You can even put them in a salad or a sandwich. That is the power of ramen eggs. So good and incredibly versatile.
AJITAMA EGG VS. ONSEN EGG
If you’re looking for an onsen tamago recipe, you’ve come to the wrong place. Ajitama eggs are marinated eggs that have a light brown exterior and a creamy, custard-like yolk. The yolk inside ajitama is often described as jammy by diners.
Onsen tamago translates as “hot spring eggs.” Originally, these eggs were cooked at a low temperature in hot spring water from Japan.
Slowly poaching the eggs at a low temperature results in a poached egg inside the shell. The end result is a firm yolk surrounded by soft, milky egg whites.
So, in essence, ajitama are the polar opposite of an onsen egg. Unless you make yours hard-boiled, the whites are firm and the yolk is soft. Keep in mind that aji- means “flavor” in Japanese. As a result, ajitama are flavored and light brown.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED:
- Eggs – When soft-boiling eggs, you usually want to use older eggs because they are easier to peel, but I’ve discovered a way to make even fresh eggs easier to peel, which is a huge benefit.
- Chicken stock – Ramen shop Ramen Eggs are typically made by soaking them in the leftover braising liquid from chashu or kakuni.
- Soy sauce – Any Japanese brand of dark soy sauce will suffice in this recipe. Kikkoman is my go-to spirit.
- Sake – Any inexpensive sake will suffice. You don’t want to use an expensive one because it has a higher mill ratio on the rice, which means the sake has fewer umami-producing amino acids.
- Sugar – A pinch of sugar balances out the saltiness of the soy sauce.
- Ginger – Even when hard-boiled, eggs can have a slightly sulfuric odor. The ginger helps to alleviate this while also imparting a chashu braising liquid flavor to the marinade.
HOW TO MAKE RAMEN EGGS – SOY SAUCE EGGS?
SOFT BOILED EGGS:
- Cold eggs: Bring to a boil for 7 minutes right out of the fridge. Using cold eggs prevents the center yolk from overcooking.
- Allow the eggs to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking them. 6 minutes on high heat Because there is less temperature variation, the egg shell is less likely to crack.
- Ice Bath: Prepare ahead of time and immediately transfer the eggs to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Place the marinade ingredients in a plastic ziplock bag and place it in a bowl to stabilize. Gently fold in the eggs, then press out any excess air.
- Close the bag by twisting and clipping it shut, allowing the marinade to completely cover the eggs. This allows you to make a smaller batch of marinade while avoiding waste.
- After 1 hour and up to 3 days, soy sauce eggs can be used. Cut in half and serve on top of a steaming bowl of ramen. Enjoy!
THE SOY MARINADE FOR AJITAMA (RAMEN EGG)
In Japan, ramen shops usually marinate their eggs in the leftover braising liquid from the chashu pork. That’s some serious ramen business going on. And if you’re a vegetarian or don’t eat pork, you’re kind of out.
According to everyone I’ve asked, the at-home kitchen standard for soy-marinated eggs in Japan is a combination of these three ingredients:
- The soy sauce
It’s difficult to go wrong with a 1: 1: 1 ratio. Other options include vinegar, chicken stock, konbu, and mentuya (soba dipping sauce). It’s also customary to add a splash of sake, which I do.
HOW TO BOIL THE PERFECT SOFT-BOILED EGG FOR MAKING AJITAMA?
- Soft-boiled eggs are made by boiling them for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on how soft you want your yolks. I work out for 6 minutes and 30 seconds.
- When you set your timer, remember to keep the size of the eggs in mind.
- The boil time is critical, as is immediately placing the eggs in an ice bath.
- Also, whether your eggs were just taken out of the fridge or were at room temperature may have an impact on cooking time.
- Depending on your stove, you may need to adjust the boiling time. 6 minutes, 30 seconds to 7 minutes could be a good starting point.
- If you don’t mind your yolks being a little firmer, 7 minutes is a good starting point.
IS IT BETTER TO USE FRESH OR OLD EGGS TO MAKE AJITSUKE TAMAGO?
According to my research, making soft-boiled eggs from older eggs makes them easier to peel. Because of evaporation, they appear to have a larger pocket of air beneath the shell. However, if you use the above trick, it will be much easier to peel fresh eggs.
I Photoshop food photos, but I’m not that picky. I use whatever eggs are available on the counter. If you’re looking for the perfect shaped egg, fresher eggs may be more successful. In terms of flavor, I haven’t noticed any difference.
HOW LONG DO RAMEN EGGS KEEP?
This isn’t really a problem for me. Because ramen eggs are such a versatile and convenient snack, I doubt I’ll have any left over.
According to Mike Satinover, “The Ramen Lord,” you can keep yours for up to four days if you keep them longer.
You do not have to take my word for it. However, I believe anyone who refers to himself as the “Ramen Lord” knows what he’s talking about.
In the fridge, I keep them in an airtight container like Tupperware. I wouldn’t eat them after two or three days, especially if the yolks are soft.
CAN YOU REUSE THE MARINADE TO MAKE MORE RAMEN EGGS?
Yes, and so do I. According to what I’ve read, the marinade will keep in the fridge for about a month. To be safe, I’ll use it for no more than a week.
In addition, if I’ve added any ingredients to the marinade, such as dried chili or ginger, I’ll take them out the next day.
In a fry pan, combine it with some meat and vegetables for a quick and easy stir-fry. This is known as mottainai in Japanese. Nothing goes to waste in a Japanese kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you cook soft boiled eggs for ramen?
Boil for 7 minutes with cold eggs straight from the fridge. Boil for 6 minutes for room temperature eggs. Put them in an ice bath right away.
How long do soy marinated eggs last?
I recommend eating them within three days of making them. Refrigerate them in the marinade.
Can I reuse the soy egg marinade?
If you want to reuse the marinade, I recommend heating and cooling it first. However, for the best flavor, I recommend making a fresh batch of marinade.
How long can you keep Ajitama?
Dried shiitake mushrooms, dried sardines or anchovies, bonito flakes, kombu, and even onion and garlic are common flavorings that can be added to the steeping liquid. Ramen eggs can be refrigerated in their liquid or out of it for about 4 days.