Japan is the #1 consumer of eggs per capita in the world, so it's no surprise that eggs are used in all kinds of Japanese food. Egg sandwiches, known as Tamago Sando, are a popular lunch or snack. Variations span from convenience store egg salad sandwiches to this mashup, which includes a traditional Japanese omelette (卵焼き - tamagoyaki) between the bread.
This style of egg sandwich is thought to have been created by Tamagoya Okamoto (たまご屋おかもと), which is an egg shop in Kyoto that's been around for four generations. Kyoto is known for its refined dashi stock, so the tamagoyaki from this area are called Dashimaki Tamago (だし巻き卵), and they're made by beating a high ratio of dashi into the eggs. This creates a soft and fluffy omelette that's juicy and savory. It's traditionally eaten as a part of a Japanese meal, but by stuffing it into a sandwich, it becomes a quick and satisfying meal that's said to be popular amongst Maiko in Kyoto.
Aside from being incredibly delicious, the great thing about this egg sandwich is that you don't need to boil eggs or peel them, which makes this significantly easier than making a Japanese egg salad sandwich. I've also simplified the process for making the dashimaki tamago so you can prepare it without a tamagoyaki pan.
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works?
- Adding starch to the dashi stock helps bind it with the egg, ensuring your Dashi Maki tamago turns out moist and tender while preventing your sandwich from getting soggy.
- By steaming and folding the omelette like an envelope, you can make this tamagoyaki in a round pan and give it the perfect shape for your slice of sandwich bread.
- The honey mustard mayo sauce envelops the omelette with sweet and spicy flavors that perfectly contrasts with the savory egg.
- Eggs - There's no need to get fancy here from a taste perspective, but if you want your Japanese omelette to have a nice golden color, I recommend using eggs produced by hens fed a diet high in beta-carotene. This makes the egg yolks golden orange, giving the tamagoyaki a vibrant hue.
- Dashi - Dashi just means "stock" in Japanese, but when it's not followed by a descriptor (such as chicken or shiitake), it usually refers to a stock made with kombu and dried fish. The type of dried fish depends on the region, but in Kyoto, dashi is made with katsuobushi (steamed, smoked, dried, and fermented skip-jack tuna shaved into paper-thin flakes). Check out my dashi tutorial for more information on how to make it. Depending on your method of making your dashi, it can already be salty, so you may need to experiment a bit to find the right amount of salt to add.
- Potato starch - This recipe uses almost as much dashi as it does eggs, giving it its soft custardy texture even after it's been fully cooked. The problem is that the protein in the egg coils up as it cooks, wringing out some of that liquid. This can lead to issues like your bread getting soggy as the egg cools. To avoid this, I like adding some potato starch to the mixture, which helps bind the dashi to the egg, preventing it from leaking.
- Mayonnaise - This forms the base for the sauce used in the sandwich. I like using Japanese mayonnaise such as Kewpie mayo because it's tangier with a hint of sweetness and it has more umami than other types of mayo.
- Mustard - I used Japanese hot mustard, but Chinese hot mustard will work as well, and if you don't like much heat, you can also substitute another type of mustard, such as dijon or whole grain.
- Honey - We all know that honey + mustard is a match made in heaven, and when paired with mayonnaise, it becomes a more balanced sauce that makes for the perfect sandwich spread for this Japanese egg sandwich.
- Sandwich bread - Japanese sandwiches are made with shokupan (Japanese milk bread), a fluffy, moist, and tender bread with a soft, chewy texture. You can get similar types of bread at most East Asian bakeries (Japanese, Korean, or Chinese). If you can't find it any soft white bread will work.
How to Make a Japanese Egg Omelette Sandwich
To make the honey mustard sandwich spread, add the mayonnaise, mustard, and honey to a small bowl and whisk them together until it's smooth.
For the tamagoyaki, dissolve the potato starch and salt in the dashi. This prevents the starch from clumping up in the egg. Then, break the eggs into the dashi and beat the mixture with chopsticks or a fork, until it's uniform in color. If you want your omelette to be perfectly uniform in color, I recommend passing the egg mixture through a fine-mesh sieve like a tea strainer to remove the chalazae and any undissolved egg white.
To make the Dashimaki Tamago, heat a frying pan with a good non-stick surface (it helps to use a newer pan) over medium-low heat. Add the oil and then use a paper towel to spread it around and wipe out any excess beads of oil.
Pour all of the egg into the pan and let it cook for a few seconds until it starts to set at the bottom. Then you want to start scrambling the eggs, mixing the cooked part into the uncooked part until the mixture gets thick enough that the egg doesn't easily flow into the gaps you make as you scramble them. Next, shake the pan to level off the top, cover it with a lid, and turn down the heat all the way. Let the omelette steam for two minutes.
When the timer is up, open the lid and use a spatula to go around the egg and separate it from the pan. Then you want to fold the Tamagoyaki's top edge to the pan's center. Work clockwise, folding the right, bottom, and left edges to the center like an envelope. It's okay if the shape isn't perfect, as you can use two spatulas to mold the omelette after you're done folding.
When you're happy with your tamagoyaki's shape, cover it with the lid and let it steam for another minute, or until the egg is fully cooked.
While you wait for that, divide the honey mustard sauce between the two slices of bread and spread it around evenly. When the Dashimaki Tamago is cooked, place it on a slice of bread and top it with the other slice of bread. If you're planning on eating the sandwich whole, you can stop here and eat it, but if you plan on slicing it up, weigh the sandwich down with a flat plate or tray until the egg has cooled off a bit. This will make the bread conform to the shape of the egg, so the sandwich doesn't fall apart when you slice it.
In Japan, the crusts are almost always sliced off the bread for sandwiches, but this isn't necessary, and makes the sandwich a little harder to eat because the sturdy crust helps keep the soft omelette in place.
Serve it With
I usually serve this Dashimaki Tamago Sandwich with light baby greens or arugula. The peppery, mustardy notes of those types of greens go well with the rich sandwich. If you plan on packing this into a bento box lunch, add some Sesame Spinach or some quick pickled daikon and carrots for a contrast of textures and colors.
Other Japanese Sandwich Recipes
- 2 teaspoons potato starch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup dashi stock
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Japanese hot mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 slices sandwich bread (thick cut)
- Add 2 teaspoons potato starch and ¼ teaspoon salt to a deep bowl and then pour in ⅔ cup dashi stock. Whisk the mixture together until the salt has fully dissolved.
- Break 4 eggs into the bowl with the dashi (you can remove the chalazae if you want) and beat the eggs into the dashi until the mixture is uniform in color. Pass it through a fine-mesh sieve if you still see pockets of egg white after beating it for about a minute.
- Make the honey mustard sandwich spread by mixing 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Japanese hot mustard, and 1 teaspoon honey in a small bowl until uniform.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat and add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Use a paper towel and chopsticks to spread a thin, even layer of oil around the pan, and then use it to wipe out any beads of oil.
- Pour the egg mixture into the pan and let it cook until you see the bottom layer of the egg start to set (a few seconds).
- Start scrambling the egg, making sure you work your way evenly around the pan. The idea is to scrape the cooked egg off the bottom of the pan and mix it with the raw egg on top.
- Once the egg starts thickening to the point it doesn't want to immediately level itself off, shake the pan to level off the top of the egg, cover it with a lid, and then turn down the heat all the way. Steam the egg for 2 minutes.
- Once the timer is up, open the lid and start folding the tamagoyaki from the top, working around the omelette and folding the edges towards the center like an envelope.
- Use two spatulas to shape the egg into a rectangle with the same shape and size as your bread. Once you're happy with the shape, cover the pan with a lid, turn off the heat, and let the omelette steam for another minute or until the egg is fully set.
- Spread a generous layer of the honey mustard sauce on 2 slices sandwich bread, and when the egg is cooked, place it on one side of the bread.
- Cover the Dashimaki Tamago with the other slice of bread and place a flat-bottomed plate or tray on top of the sandwich to lightly press it down and help the bread and egg conform to each other.
- You can serve your Japanese egg sandwich as is or cut the crusts off to give it a nicer shape.