A compound of the words “tamago” and “yaki,” this dish is a Japanese rolled omelette. “Tamago” means egg and “yaki” means pan fried or grilled.
Tamagoyaki is made in a relatively small rectangular or square frying pan called a makiyakinabe. The shape of the pan allows the maker to roll up a perfectly shaped, fluffy thin omelette.
Although many of us associate omelets with being savory, tamagoyaki comes in sweet varieties too. These types of tamagoyaki are seasoned with sugar while cooking, while the savory versions are seasoned with some combination of dashi, soy, sake, and/or mirin that give them a deep umami flavor. Tamagoyaki is common in nigiri sushi, bento, or just for breakfast.
Beyond being tasty, this dish is considered a good way to judge the quality of a chef or restaurant. This is because the simple ingredients and cooking method require extreme care and, most importantly, perfectly refined technique to get the final product just right.
If you’re looking to make your own tamagoyaki, you can get a makiyakinabe in Uwajimaya’s home department, and of course eggs by our dairy section.