Why It Works
- The hot rice helps thicken the egg slightly, giving the whole dish a lighter, fluffier texture.
- Beating the eggs and rice thoroughly with chopsticks introduces air into the egg whites, making them fluffier.
- Soy sauce, MSG, and furikake are all umami-rich ingredients that give the dish a nice savory flavor.
Tamago gohan (literally "egg rice")—rice mixed with a raw egg—is Japanese comfort food at its simplest. Start with a bowl of hot rice, then break an egg into it. Season it with a little bit of soy sauce, a pinch of salt, and a shake of Aji-no-moto, a Japanese brand of pure powdered MSG. (Like most Japanese people, I have no hang-ups about eating MSG.) Whip it up with a pair of chopsticks until the egg turns pale yellow and foamy and holds the rice in a light, frothy suspension, somewhere between a custard and a meringue.
It's one of my favorite recipes of all time, and something that can be made in minutes.
- 1 cup cooked hot white rice (about 12 ounces cooked rice; 340g)
- 1 egg (plus 1 optional egg yolk)
- Soy sauce
- Kosher salt
- MSG powder, such as Aji-no-moto or Accent (optional)
- Mirin (optional)
- Hondashi (optional; see note)
- Furikake (optional; see note)
- Thinly sliced or torn nori (optional)
Place rice in a bowl and make a shallow indentation in the center. Break the whole egg into the center. Season with 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, a pinch of salt, a pinch of MSG, 1/2 teaspoon mirin (if using), and a pinch of Hondashi (if using). Stir vigorously with chopsticks to incorporate egg; it should become pale yellow, frothy, and fluffy in texture. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Sprinkle with furikake and nori (if using), make a small indentation in the top, and add the other egg yolk (if using). Serve immediately.
Hondashi is powdered dashi that can be found in any Japanese market and most well-stocked supermarkets. Furikake is a seasoning mixture typically made with seaweed, dried sweetened bonito, and sesame seeds, among other ingredients. It can be found in any Japanese market.