Cold Noodle Bowl with Tamagoyaki

This is your chance to julienne some vegetables.

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July 20, 2020

Prep: 10min

Cook: 15min

Serves: 4

The gist.

Make a bed of cold noodles tossed in sesame oil, top with beautiful vegetable matchsticks and slices of rolled egg omelette (Tamagoyaki sans dashi), and serve with a strong sauce you can shake together in an empty jar. Not much else to it.

My best friend introduced me to Tamagoyaki. Never before had I added sugar to a stove-top egg dish. Some of you in the know are going to read through the ingredients and demand to know why you don’t see the word “dashi” (normally an ingredient in Tamagoyaki). You make a good point. This is my pseudo version of Tamagoyaki. Maybe I should be calling it a rolled egg omelette, but Tamagoyaki is an awesome word. And while I realize this makes me sound ignorant about the Japanese language, the word makes me think of Tamagotchi, which makes me think about the digital pets of my 90s childhood.

Anyway, time for some notes on this refreshing dish. When it comes to noodles, I typically choose somen. They seem to really absorb the sauce, and the way they swirl into the bowl is just graceful. If I don’t use somen, I use soba. Feel free to experiment with other types of noodles, maybe I will too. Regarding cooking the noodles, I suggest waiting until you are practically ready to assemble the dish before boiling them. If you cook them first and then let them sit while you prepare everything else, the noodles will most likely end up sticky and clump together.

The sauce is extremely forgiving and is designed to give you creative freedom. While I generally use regular soy sauce, I’ve used black soy sauce as a substitute on several occasions, but combined with the sugary eggs it can be a bit too sweet.

My main recommendation (and plea) for this dish is that you cut the vegetables into matchsticks. Why? They look good. They look really good. Small piles of diced carrot and cucumber on top of the noodles just don’t make you do a double take the same way neatly aligned stacks of julienned vegetables do. Also, this is the perfect opportunity to improve those knife skills, amirite?

Now the egg. This is by far the most difficult step in the process. I’ll start with a side note. Maybe this is common knowledge, but are you aware that each pleat of a chef’s hat represents a different way to cook an egg? So learn the Tamagoyaki and that’s one more pleat for you.

Here’s what works for me. First, the pan needs to be hot. Don’t pour the first layer immediately after you turn the heat on. Wait until the pan is actually hot, add some oil, give the oil a moment to heat up, and then add the first egg layer. I used to roll up the cooked layer with the help of a spatula (and my fingers), but recently I read somewhere that using two chopsticks makes the whole process go much smoother. It’s true, I’m telling you.

Another egg secret. Be sure to keep the pan oiled. If your non-stick isn’t as non-stick as it claims to be, this whole egg thing will go downhill if you forget the oil between pours. Speaking of the layers, I keep mine relatively thin. I find it makes the rolling easier and results in fewer breaks and tears as the egg rolls and bends.

Ingredients

Steps

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Cold Noodle Bowl with Tamagoyaki

  • Prep time: 10min
  • Cook time: 15min
  • Serving size: 4
Make a bed of cold noodles tossed in sesame oil, top with beautiful vegetable matchsticks and slices of rolled egg omelette (Tamagoyaki sans dashi), and serve with a strong sauce you can shake together in an empty jar. Not much else to it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 65 mL (4 Tbsp + 1 tsp) soy sauce, divided
  • 24 g (6 tsp) tsp sugar, divided
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 green onion, sliced on the bias
  • 20 g (1/4 cup) coconut flakes
  • 100 g (3/4 cup) peanuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 400 g (14 oz) somen or udon noodles
  • 25 mL (5 tsp) sesame oil, divided
  • 10 mL (2 tsp) fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 10 mL (2 tsp) neutral oil
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

STEPS

  1. Put a large saucepot of salted water on the stove to boil.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp water, 2 tsp sugar, and salt together in a small bowl.

  3. Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add 1 tsp of oil to the pan. Pour in enough egg mixture so that the bottom of the pan is coated.

  4. When the egg is cooked through, roll it up in the pan with the help of a spatula or chopsticks as if you were rolling up a rug. Leave the rolled egg at one end of the pan.

  5. Pour another layer of egg into the pan. Once cooked through, begin with the previously rolled egg and roll it into the newly cooked egg. Your egg roll will now be larger. Repeat this process until all the egg has been cooked. Remove the rolled egg from the pan and allow to cool.

  6. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook following the noodles' package instructions. Once cooked, empty noodles into a colander and rinse with cold water.

  7. Put the noodles in a medium bowl and toss with 1 tsp of sesame oil.

  8. Slice the rolled up egg into 6mm (1/4 in) rounds.

  9. To make the sauce, mix together in a small bowl or jar the fish sauce, lime juice, 4 Tbsp soy sauce, 4 tsp sugar, and 4 tsp sesame oil until the sugar is dissolved.

  10. To assemble the dish, divide the noodles into four shallow bowls. Top with egg rounds, carrots, bell pepper, peanuts, and coconut flakes. Pour the sauce, and garnish with basil leaves.

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