This is my favorite Japanese breakfast! Tamago kake gohan is simple and super fun to make. All you need are two base ingredients and a few toppings for a fluffy, eggy rice bowl packed with umami!tamago kake gohan

My brother came in to the dining room between Saturday morning cartoons, just as I was gently pouring shoyu (soy sauce) into my rice bowl.

“What are you doing?” He asked. He and I were both taught at a pretty young age not to pour soy sauce on plain Japanese rice.

My mom tousled his hair and said, “It’s OK when it’s tamago kake gohan.”

What is Tamago Kake Gohan?

Tamago kake gohan is a combination of Japanese rice with a raw egg. It’s made by simply cracking an egg over a steaming bowl of rice and then beating the rice with chopsticks so the mixture takes on a slick, almost foamy consistency.

The egg slightly thickens as it is beaten, due to the heat from the rice.

This Japanese breakfast staple is one of the most simple two-ingredient ‘recipes’ out there – however is one of those iconic things that truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

And the overall flavor (and texture) can be augmented by the toppings you chose to add. Some go for a simple dash of soy sauce – and some (like me) like to go a little further with things like furikake and scallions.

Now, the translation breaks down to roughly this: Tamago is egg in Japanese. Kake translates to something akin to splashed. And gohan is rice.ingredients for tamago kake gohan

Tamago Kake Gohan Ingredients

The bare bones of this dish are super simple. And if you take the toppings out of the equation for a second, you only need a couple of (specific) things.

  • Japanese Rice: Using the right stuff makes all the difference in this simple eggs and rice recipe. You’re looking for Japanese short grain rice to be specific.
  • Pasteurized Eggs: You’ll want to use pasteurized eggs with a clean, unbroken shell.

Those are the basics.

And while we’ll chat about all the potential toppings you can use to really personalize your Japanese rice bowl in a second, let’s have a deeper look at Japanese rice.egg in center of Japanese rice

What is the Best Rice to Use?

You’re going to want to use Japanese short grain rice when making tamago kake gohan. These plump grains hold together with a slight clingy stickiness when properly cooked. (But it is not sticky rice. That’s another type of rice altogether).

Here’s an in depth tutorial on how to make Japanese rice in a rice cooker and on the stovetop.

Now, some of what you’ll find on the shelves at your local supermarket sold as Japanese rice is actually medium grain rice. And while you sometimes just have to use what you can get your hands on, I’m a big fan going the extra mile when it comes to rice.

My favorite all-purpose Japanese premium short grain rice is Tamanishiki. Grab Tamanishiki rice here on Amazon. It’s perfect for everything from this TKG to curry rice to maki and… well, everything.

If you’re looking for what’s known as a super-premium Japanese short grain rice, you may want to check out Koshihikari rice. This stuff isn’t cheap – but it’s glorious.egg whisked in rice

How to Make Tamago Kake Gohan

  1. Gather all your cooking tools and ingredients.
  2. Place your hot, cooked Japanese rice in a rice serving bowl.
  3. Next, make a little dent in the top of the cooked rice with your rice paddle or a spoon. This is where you’ll nestle your egg.
  4. Cleanly break an egg and pour the contents into that dented space. You can add the toppings you like at this point too (keep reading for some topping recommendations).
  5. Quickly stir the egg (and toppings) and incorporate the egg into the rice. Mix it well, until almost frothy – and don’t be afraid to make a bit of a mess in the process!
  6. Add more toppings if you’d like – and eat immediately
Toppings for tamago kake gohan

Optional Toppings

Did I say these were optional? Well, I guess they technically are.

But one of the best parts of this simple Japanese rice with egg dish is playing around with different toppings until you find your sweet spot.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Soy Sauce: You’re going to want some umami with your egg rice! 
  • Tsuyu: This is a sauce/broth you’d typically dip your zaru soba or somen noodles in before slurping away. But it also makes the perfect smoky, umami and slightly sweet addition to TKG. (Note: you’d only want to use tsuyu OR soy sauce. Not both.)
  • Furikake: This Japanese seasoning is made primarily of bonito flakes, seaweed, sesame seeds and a few spices. It’s a savory, sweet wonder-condiment. Learn how to make furikake at home.
  • Bonito Flakes: Katsuobushi is bonito or skipjack tuna that has been fermented, dried and shaved into flakes. One of my favorite savory ingredients. Easy to find these days in Asian supermarkets – or grab katsuobushi here on Amazon.
  • Shirasu: Also called whitebait, these are baby sardines or anchovies – and come in dried and raw variations.
  • Natto: These are fermented soybeans that have a funky flavor and an almost slimy texture (right in line with this recipe!). Learn all about natto here.
  • Aonori or Seasoned Nori: Aonori is dried green laver (seaweed) that has been dried and powdered. You can also buy roasted and seasoned seaweed sheets and cut them into thin strips with scissors atop your rice.
  • Chopped Scallions: A few thinly chopped green onions deliver a verdant crunch – and I use them pretty much every time I make tamago kake gohan at home
Tamago kake gohan with shoyu

Pasteurized Eggs VS Fresh Eggs

No conversation about tamago kake gogan would be complete without a quick discussion about raw eggs – and the differences between a couple of classifications.

You might even be wondering why this dish is so common in Japan, even tough eating raw eggs is synonymous with potentially contracting a foodborne illness.

Well, Japanese eggs only make it to market after undergoing a strict regiment of inspection, cleansing, sterilization and drying. This is said to obliterate even the slightest traces of bacteria that can cause salmonella poisoning. These steps are governmentally regulated in Japan – and the public tends to have quite a bit of confidence in consuming raw eggs there.

In the States, some eggs in the refrigerated case at your local store have been pasteurized – meaning they have been heated in their shell to a certain temperature to kill bacteria (without actually cooking the egg itself). However, some are not.

Likewise, if you buy eggs directly from a local farm – or grab them from your own henhouse before whipping up breakfast, they also may contain harmful bacteria on the shell.

Luckily, in the US, eggs that are pasteurized are clearly marked accordingly on their container.

Fresh eggs are great – but they’re not ideal for tamago kake gohan. If you’re concerned about the potential of contracting foodborne illnesses, it’s going to be important to only use pasteurized eggs. Always better safe than sorry.

tamago kake gohan recipe

What to Serve With Tamago Kake Gohan

Make your Japanese breakfast a hearty meal with these other delicious and easy Japanese recipes:

Did you like this tamago kake gohan recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!

Print

Tamago Kake Gohan

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: N/A
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Rice
  • Method: N/A
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups warm, cooked Japanese short grain rice
  • 2 pasteurized eggs, such as Davidson’s Safest Choice

Suggested toppings

  • Soy sauce
  • Tsuyu
  • Furikake
  • Bonito flakes
  • Shirasu (whitebait)
  • Natto
  • Aonori or seasoned nori
  • Chopped scallions

Instructions

  1. Divide the rice among two bowls.
  2. Create a little dent in the center of the rice, where the egg will sit. 
  3. Break each egg into the dented space and add the seasoning and topping(s) of your choice.
  4. Quickly stir the egg using chopsticks and mix it with the rice, along with the toppings. Don’t be afraid to make a mess! 
  5. Add more toppings if desired and eat immediately.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup with egg
  • Calories: 313
  • Sugar: 0.2g
  • Sodium: 71mg
  • Fat: 5.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1.1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 53.5g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 10.7g
  • Cholesterol: 186mg

Keywords: Breakfast, washoku, rice bowl

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