Tamago Kake Gohan (egg-sauce over rice consisting of boiled rice topped or mixed with raw egg and op (卵かけご飯)
Tamago kake gohan is a rice food prepared by mixing a raw hen's egg and rice and seasoning it with a small amount of soy sauce. It is regarded as a food culture unique to Japan because of using a raw egg as it is and mixing the raw egg with rice, which is the staple diet.
There are many variations of names and notations of tamago kake gohan.
It is also referred to as 'tamago bukkake gohan,' 'tamago gohan,' 'tamago kake,' 'tamago meshi,' 'bokkake gohan,' and 'TKG (tamago kake gohan).'
The Chinese character '卵' for tamago is sometimes replaced by '玉子.'
It can be generally applied to terms of cooking (refer to "Hen's egg").
How to make tamago kake gohan varies depending on one's taste.
- Moderate amount (about one bowlful)
- Moderate amount (about one teaspoon or less)
Lightly beat a raw egg in a bowl, and season it with soy sauce.
Serve rice in a rice bowl and make an adequate pit in the rice using chopsticks.
Pour the beaten egg into the pit in the rice, and mix the egg and the rice.
In this manner, the soy sauce does not come directly into rice, and the egg white and the yolk can be sufficiently mixed. It is also easy to remove a chalaza if it is not desired.
Other recipes are described below.
Serve rice in a rice bowl and make an adequate pit in the rice using chopsticks. Crack an egg directly into the pit, toss it with the rice, and then season it with soy sauce.
Crack and lightly beat an egg in a rice bowl, season it with soy sauce and the like, and then serve rice in the bowl.
Season rice in a rice bowl with soy sauce, and directly crack an egg into a pit formed on the rice.
The rice, the egg, and the soy sauce are mixed and tasted in your mouth.
Although the recipe of this food is simple, the texture may vary depending on a balance between the rice and the egg, for example, when the amount of the rice is too small or when the pit is too large.
Also, if the pit is too small, the egg may overflow. Furthermore, the speed, the strength, and the time of beating the egg can vary depending on one's taste, ranging from a light state in which the egg white is thoroughly destroyed to a state in which only the yolk is broken.
The temperature is also significant because it influences the texture and the taste. When the rice is hot and the egg is warmed to the room temperature, the egg becomes soft-boiled. Therefore, the viscosity increases and the sweetness also increases. On the contrary, the viscosity decreases as the temperature of the rice and the egg is low. When just-cooked steamed rice is used, protein in the egg is altered by the heat to the half-boiled state. If you do not like the half-boiled state, use rice slightly cooled by being kept warm in a rice cooker for some time after the rice has been steamed, or leave the rice as served in a rice bowl with a pit formed in it until it is cooled to a certain degree. The amount of the rice and the size of the egg also influence the temperature.
There is another way of using the yolk alone after separating it from the egg white. Because the wetness of the egg white is eliminated, you can enjoy a rich taste of the yolk. The remaining egg white is usually thrown away, but some people drink it as it is and some make meringue (sweets) from the white. However, it is better for health to eat the white with the yolk because the egg white is believed to contain a component that reduces cholesterol.
For seasoning, mentsuyu (a Japanese soup base) can be used as well as soy sauce. For detail of the seasoning, refer to how to eat tamago kake gohan below.
How to eat
For seasoning, soy sauce is generally used. However, there are several ways of seasoning, and the way of eating also varies as described below.
A method of eating it while adding soy sauce and checking the taste.
A method of adding the soy sauce by guess regardless of a slight difference of the amount of salt.
In a case where a fresh egg is available, take a bite without any seasoning to enjoy the sunny aroma of the egg, and then season it with soy sauce.
Use toppings and seasonings described later as desired.
There is also a way of eating it by placing only the yolk soaked in the soy sauce for a few minutes.
A typical Japanese breakfast plate served in a hotel or a Japanese-style hotel often include an uncracked or already-cracked egg in a small bowl called "katakuchi." This egg should be drunk without cooking or used to make tamago kake gohan. In addition to the egg, the Japanese breakfast plate usually includes rice, miso soup, tsukemono (Japanese pickled vegetables), processed seafood (dried horse mackerel, dried seaweed, or tsukudani (boiled in sweetened soy sauce) of seaweed), Japanese style omelet, and natto (fermented soybeans). Some people mix the egg, the rice, and the natto to make tamago natto meshi (rice with egg and natto). It is a new tendency that a half-boiled egg with clotted white or a hot-spa egg slow-boiled so that the yolk is slightly hard but the white is still soft is served instead of a raw egg. These eggs have become popular because those who do not like raw eggs can eat such cooked eggs, they can be served on a Western-style breakfast plate as well, also, it is easier for the servers to handle the eggs, and the name "hot-spa egg" brings an atmosphere of the hot spa.
Most people feel it more difficult to eat tamago kake gohan after a certain time, though it depends on an individual, because of the texture degraded by the rice absorbing water from the egg. Many of tamago-kake-gohan lovers would eat it within one to five minutes, or three minutes on an average, after pouring the egg on the rice. It is preferred to slurp fast in one gulp, but it is important to learn a good speed for eating it from experience because the rice may get stuck in your throat. Of course you can eat it slowly as long as you do not mind the texture.
Variations of how to eat
There are various ways of making it depending on one's taste.
(Cited from Wafu-sohonke by TV Tokyo Corporation, et al.)
Ways of directly pouring an egg on rice.
Ways of directly pouring an egg on rice, and adding some soy sauce on it.
A group of making a pit in rice and pouring an egg in it.
A group of pouring an egg without making a pit.
Ways of eating that stick to the way of adding soy sauce instead of the way of pouring an egg.
A group of pouring soy sauce not only on an egg but also on rice.
A group of cracking a yolk alone or on rice and pouring soy sauce into the yolk.
A combination of the above.
Ways of pouring an egg later.
Ways of cracking an egg in a bowl, adding soy sauce and/or other seasonings, and pouring it on rice.
A group of adding a moderate amount of soy sauce and stirring it well before pouring.
A group of adding soy sauce and stirring it lightly before pouring.
A group of adding soy sauce and sugar to a taste similar to sukiyaki mixed with an egg.
A group of adding not only soy sauce but also okaka (finely chopped katsuobushi (small pieces of sliced dried bonito) dressed with soy sauce).
A way of beating an egg in a bowl before pouring it on rice, and adding soy sauce at last.
Groups divided by a part of an egg for use.
A group of using a whole egg.
A group of using a yolk only.
(Although the presence of a group of using an egg white only has not been confirmed, there can possibly be such a group.)
A way of putting rice into egg (an opposite pattern of tamago kake gohan: an example of a meal using a raw egg and rice)
A group of beating an egg in a bowl, seasoning it, and putting rice in the same bowl. Strictly it cannot be called tamago kake gohan.
It should be called 'tamago gohan.'
Various types of tamago kake gohan
The taste of tamago kake gohan is based on the slight sweetness of rice and a raw egg, and the saltiness and richness of soy sauce.
The rice distributed in Japan is Japonica rice, which is called short-gain rice because it is smaller and shorter than Indica rice that is a long grain rice or Javanica rice that is intermediate between Japonica rice and Indica rice. When steamed by a dedicated rice cooker, the stickiness unique to Japonica rice is produced, and it becomes faintly sweet due to increased degree of gelatinization of starch. In addition to the stickiness, the steamed rice becomes sweeter as you chew it well whether warm or cold.
Recently, various toppings and seasonings other than soy sauce may be used. Some grilled chicken restaurants that serve locally-produced chickens add tamago kake gohan using locally-produced eggs or sperm eggs to a hidden menu that is not usually known to customers. There is also tamago kake gohan using grilled-chicken sauce instead of soy sauce. Regular customers familiar with hidden menu order an egg and rice separately and enjoy making and eating it as they like.
Furthermore, a raw egg and rice are used in gyudon (rice covered with beef and vegetables), maguro-yukke (raw tuna and egg mixed together with a spicy Korean sauce) in sushi restaurants, and so on. In the case of sushi, a battleship roll sushi generally uses a quail egg instead of a chicken egg to match the size of sushi.
As a local custom, many people eat curry rice topped with a raw egg in Kansai area including Osaka. Its origin was a mixture of rice and curry sauce topped with a raw egg served as 'special curry' (Indian curry) at JIYUKEN in Osaka City, and it spread into general unmixed curry and rice. Many of them further add Worcester sauce. One factor in the background of such a way of eating may be the presence of tamago kake gohan.
Outside Japan, a similar style is seen in stone-roasted bibimbap and yukhoe in the Republic of Korea. In this case, however, white rice, seasoned ingredients, and a raw egg are put in a roasted stone bowl and mixed together, and therefore we can hardly say they eat a raw egg.
In Hong Kong and Guangxi Zhuangzu Autonomous Region, Guangdong in the People's Republic of China, there is earthenware pot rice topped with meat and vegetables, which is called po chai fan, and an egg can be added to it as an optional ingredient. However, though a raw egg is added immediately before completion of the food, the egg is boiled more than half when it is eaten, and therefore it is also hard to say they eat a raw egg. A sauce for this food made of approximately same amounts of sesame oil, oyster sauce, and soy sauce would be good to be used for tamago kake gohan.
Because a raw egg cannot be refrigerated, tamago kake gohan was served for Antarctic Research Expedition as a special menu once a year.
Mind to sufficiently chew the rice when you eat it with natto, yam, or the like.
Ajitsuke nori (nori flavored with soy source, mirin and seasonings), nori, green nori
- Even a small amount contains calcium and various minerals.
Furikake (dried food sprinkled over rice)
- Aroma of nori and the like is added, and it is fun to find a suitable flavor.
- Rich in vitamin E.
- Rich in vitamin C and fiber.
Small dried fish (dried young sardines)
- Rich in calcium.
- Salmon roes and others. - Rich in vitamin E.
- Rich in vitamin K.
Grated daikon radish and carrot
- The former serves as a condiment, and the latter gives sweetness. A seasoning such as soy sauce is required. Rich in vitamin C and vitamin A.
Chopped leek or wakegi (scallion)
- Rich in vitamin C.
- In short, tamago kake gohan under unadon (a bowl of rice topped with eel) using sauce for grilled eel instead of soy sauce.
Stir-fried radish greens
- Stir-fried with sesame oil and flavored with dashi-shoyu (soy sauce broth). In addition to the above, dried bonito, yam, tororo konbu (shredded konbu), umeboshi (pickled "ume" - Japanese apricot), mentaiko (salted cod roe spiced with red pepper), cheese, kimchi, shredded shiokonbu (the laminaria boiled in brine and soy), and bottled enokidake mushroom can be topped.
Soy sauce dedicated to tamago kake gohan
Tamago kake gohan ni kakeru shoyu (literally, "soy sauce for tamago kake gohan") (developed by Hamada shoyu in Kumamoto City)
Otamahan (developed by Yoshida Furusato Mura (Yoshida home village) in Unnan City)
Ponzu soy sauce (soy source containing citrus juice)
- Especially those with high aroma of Yuzu citron are used instead of soy sauce. It is so refreshing as to suppress a smell of a hen egg.
- Contains vitamin A and supplements nutrition by adding about 10 g corresponding to a spoonful.
Fish sauce (shottsuru fish sauce, nam pla, and so on)
Other variations may include salt, sobatsuyu (Soba soup broth), mentsuyu, miso, mayonnaise, chemical seasoning, Worcester sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, XO sauce, tobanchan, wasabi, curry sauce, shichimi togarashi (a mixture of red cayenne pepper and other aromatic spices), chili oil, and sukiyaki sauce.
As a modern food
In Japan, there is a tendency of positioning a food made by processing raw materials as 'dish,' and therefore some people do not accept tamago kake gohan as 'dish' because it is just rice topped with an egg.
For example, very few people call rice with natto 'dish.'
On the other hand, shirouo no odorigui (dancing icegoby), an ultimate raw diet, is widely known to gourmets as a specialty of haute cuisine though it is not cooked in any way. Sashimi made by just cutting raw fish is also globally recognized as a complete Japanese dish (there is an opinion that sashimi is a cooking method requiring a high technique). Harumi KURIHARA, a food researcher, introduced tamago kake gohan in her cooking book "Japanese Cooking" issued for foreigners in 2004. As described above, the definition of 'dish' depending on whether it is cooked or whether a complexed cooking method is used is not determined.
It is known as one of the most easiest dishes that can be eaten fast in Japan, and most of the Japanese have eaten it at least once especially for breakfast. Due to the nature of topping hot rice with a raw egg, the fishy smell of the hen's egg is featured, which is loved by some and hated by others.
As a typical Japanese dietary habit, breakfast taken within a busy and limited time after waking up before leaving home for school or work is the lightest meal among three meals in a day in terms of both quality and quantity. Lunch is generally a well-balanced home-made bento (lunch box) prepared in consideration of health, a bento sold in a convenience store or a bento shop, of food purchased at a fast-food store (some regard it as junk food) taken with friends, co-workers, or business partners rather than family members. Dinner is generally ikkadanran (happy family get-together) where all members of the family talk about what happened today and eat a larger portion taking more time compared to breakfast and lunch.
The first reason why tamago kake gohan is generally taken for breakfast is that it can be eaten in a short time. This is because the low viscosity unique to steamed rice even decreases by adding a raw egg to rice to separate each grain of the rice, and therefore you can eat it fast like drinking. Accordingly, a large portion of tamago kake gohan can be eaten like drinking even when you do not want to eat and cannot eat enough until lunch time due to too much drink on the previous night.
In association with typical Japanese diet, the quantity of miso soup and other supplementary dishes is expressed as, for example, 'a meal with one soup and one side dish.'
In view of general manners and habits of dining, because the meal is finished by eating a mouthful of each dish one after another, the time to consume a bowl of rice is substantially equal to the time for the meal.
For its convenience, low price, and high nutrition, it is often preferred by young people who just started to live alone to work or go to school. It is still popular though not so much as before because convenience stores and restaurants have become familiar.
Because the price of an egg is lower than twenty yen, free raw eggs are served for lunch customers in some diners. Almost all customers who take the raw egg make tamago kake gohan (there are some exceptions of putting it in miso soup or swallowing it).
In 2008, a diner that mainly serves tamago kake gohan opened in Misaki-cho, Okayama Prefecture. Misaki-cho is also a birthplace of Ginko KISHIDA believed to be the first person who ate tamago kake gohan in Japan.
It was relatively recent when Japanese started to eat bird eggs, and tamago kake gohan was invented in the Meiji period.
Due to the geographical condition of being surrounded by oceans and having steep mountains, Japan has many rivers with short length and fast flow and plenty of clear water in which toxic bacteria can hardly grow. For this reason, not only sashimi of seafood but also fresh wild plants can be treated cleanly, and there are quite a number of dishes of raw food. On the other hand, large mammals such as cows and horses were domesticated as important workforce of agriculture, and were seldom eaten. Some mammals were worshiped as guardian deities of mountains and rivers or messengers of deities and Buddha. For food, mainly birds and seafood had been eaten except for rabbits regarded as a kind of birds because of the long ears resembling feathers and the taste similar to that of birds, and wild boars regarded as mountain whales (whales living in the sea were regarded as a kind of fish).
In the Heian period and later, eggs were offered to deities and Buddha, and it was believed that one who ate an egg would be punished. It is believed that general people started to eat hen's eggs in the Edo period. Around 1877 in the early modern times, Ginko KISHIDA (1833 - 1905), who flourished as the first war correspondent in Japan and left many accomplishments as a pioneer, ate tamago kake gohan for the first time in Japan, and recommended it to surrounding people.
After that, through an age of food shortage after the Second World War, raw eggs had been precious before the high economic growth period, and often used as a nutritional support for sick or weak people. It was the high economic growth period and later when general people were able to easily eat eggs.
To eat raw egg
Although an egg is recognized as food that can be eaten fresh in modern Japan, there is no such custom of eating a raw egg in almost all countries other than Japan. It is general to thoroughly heat an egg to eat. The custom of eating a raw egg is a culture shock for those who grew up in culture areas other than Japan, and it can be even regarded adventurous. There is a scene in an American movie "Rocky" where the main character swallows up a plurality of raw eggs, which Japanese and non-Japanese may receive differently. A Hong Kong movie "Shaolin Soccer" expresses pitifulness by a scene of sucking a raw egg crashed on a dirty shoe.
A raw egg is likely to cause salmonella poisoning by nature, and therefore it can be eaten safe in only limited areas including Japan. Not a few Japanese eat a raw egg to get sick overseas every year. In Japan where eggs are premised to be eaten raw, poultry farms perform a thorough hygienic control including a perfect cleaning of eggs, but still salmonella poisoning is increasing these years and some caution is required.
Salmonella lives mainly in an intestinal tract of a chicken, and it transfers from feces to the surface of the eggshell after an egg is born. In Japan, eggs go through sterilization procedures using sodium hypochlorite in Grading and Packing Centers.
To eat a raw egg, it is risky to use 'a cracked egg,' 'a broken egg,' or 'an egg cracked two or more hours before.'
Such information is distributed from Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare or local healthcare centers through the Internet. However, there is another contagious route of transferring salmonella from a mother hen to the inside of an egg through the ovary or the fallopian tube. Therefore, it is not possible to entirely destroy salmonella as long as you eat a raw egg.
American poultry farmers farm chickens in accordance with a guideline of a heat treatment established by FDA and WHO not premising that eggs be eaten fresh. Cracked raw eggs are pasteurized, separated into the white and the yolk, or added with various nutritions, and packed in a container like a milk carton to be sold at a store. Most of these products can be refrigerated. As for eggs in shell, those with the whites half set from pasteurization are sold in a package. In Australia that especially focuses on epidemic prevention, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service prohibits bringing eggs and egg products into the country. In some Southeast Asian countries, existence of bacteria has been confirmed not only outside but also inside an egg. Import restriction of eggs is counted not only for the purpose of protection of domestic poultry farmers but also in view of food hygiene based on various bacteria included in eggs, and therefore many countries specify it as prohibited imports. Japanese quarantine can restrict an import by up to class 4 infectious disease, but salmonella poisoning is not the class 4 infectious disease, and therefore another reason is required. There is almost no example of eating a raw hen's egg in other countries, and tamago kake gohan is supported by the food distribution and the hygienic control unique to Japan.
Hen's eggs are often avoided due to its high cholesterol, and were actually avoided in the past for use in a meal for patients of hyperlipidemia and the like. However, some doctors recommend eggs to hyperlipidemia patients who need to control cholesterol. This is because many of the hyperlipidemia patients are fat, and high-quality protein is required for correcting it. Of course, the eggs can be recommended to the patients whose blood cholesterol is properly controlled by drugs and/or diet therapy. Although recommended, it does not mean that a hyperlipidemia patient may eat eggs as many as he wants, and it is not desirable at least to eat it in the same manner as usual. Although the number of eggs varies depending on the condition of each patient, the rough standard would be one per day.
The nutritional value of proteins in a hen's egg is supposed to be ideal, whose amino acid score (determined by composition of essential amino acid among amino acids composing the protein, as a standard to measure the value of the protein as a nutrition) is 100, the maximum value. On the other hand, the protein in white rice contains less lysine and threonine and its amino acid score is only 60. Thus, by adding an egg to the rice, the nutritional value can be increased.
While an egg yolk contains more bad cholesterol, an egg white is said to contain good cholesterol that offsets the bad one. The white also contains about 65% of the whole proteins. Although the nutritional quality of proteins in the white is lower than those contained in the yolk, the nutritional effect of tamago kake gohan is higher with a whole egg than with a yolk only.
Value of each nutrition is listed below.
Some people believe that one gets fat by eating eggs, but it is obviously wrong. Eating good proteins and carbohydrate for breakfast is believed to contribute to a high combustion efficiency of energy in a daily life, and it indirectly makes one to eat orderly and helps to reduce weight. Tamago kake gohan containing these nutritions may be an excellent dish for easy breakfast. However, because it still lacks some nutritions, there is a need of adjusting and complementing the nutritional balance by eating side dishes, adding toppings described later, or adding fortified rice to the rice, as needed. Avidin in the raw egg white has a nature of strongly coupling with biotin of B-complex vitamins, and therefore it inhibits absorption of biotin. Eating a large amount of raw eggs may cause biotin deficiency.
The egg is supposed to be M size weighing about 60 g. The rice is about 110 g based on a standard of school lunch for junior high school or high school students for the evaluation. Per-day value in the list is an index for eating tamago kake gohan three times a day.
The following chart is a list of generations taking the highest nutritional requirement based on the statistics of Health and Nutrition Infrastructure Database, for nutritional comparison to cases of foreign people eating tamago kake gohan like the Japanese.
As well known in general, hen's egg is a food that most frequently causes a food allergy. In the cases frequently seen with infants, it is known that some of the proteins contained mainly in the white exhibit strong allergenicities, and it is also known that these allergenicities are slightly reduced by heating. Tamago kake gohan in the form of eating a raw egg, especially using a whole egg containing more nutritions, provides the severest condition to those who are allergic to hen's egg. Basically, egg allergy tends to show serious symptoms, and an egg-allergic patient cannot eat tamago kake gohan. There are rare cases of mainly women having kept a bird in the past becoming allergic to hen's egg in their adulthood. In such a case, the main cause is the proteins contained in the yolk.
Egg whites with reduced allergenicities close to the raw state have been produced experimentally. Production of hypoallergenic egg white, which is still researched, has become possible. If hypoallergenic eggs are turned into practical use, tamago kake gohan might be used as a food that remits the allergy.
Rice is also one of the foods known as causes of food allergy, and it has been known that its allergen is contained in its bran. Although it depends on the degree, in the case that the symptom of the rice allergy is not serious, the patient may be able to eat pre-washed rice or hypoallergenic rice.
General soy sauce is made from soybean or wheat known as allergens, and they may cause an allergy. In this case, the onset of allergy symptoms may be suppressed by using soy sauce made from millet such as sesame, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, or proso millet.
Eating a raw egg has a risk of poisoning by salmonella.
Although details are shown in the website of Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, to eat a raw egg, pay attention to following things:
Use a fresh egg with no crack on it.
Store the egg in a cold and dark place as soon as you get home.
Crack the egg immediately before you eat it.
The document also describes 'food factories should transport, deliver, and store shelled eggs at 10 degrees or lower,' but consumers cannot check the storage condition. You should pay more attention to the egg condition when you purchase non-chilled eggs like on a special sale at a supermarket or when you get eggs delivered together with vegetables and the like.
Relation between pancreatitis and raw egg
When an egg white is eaten fresh, a large amount of amylase, a digestive enzyme, is secreted. No matter chronic or acute, eating a raw egg after treatment for pancreatitis just because it contains lot of nutritions, you may suffer stomachache. You had better refrain from eating it until you have fully recovered from pancreatitis.
October 28, 29, 30, 2005
The First Nihon Tamagokakegohan Symposium' (Japan rice covered with egg symposium) to discuss the appeal of tamago kake gohan was held in Unnan City, Shimane Prefecture. It derives from the fact that 'Yoshida Furusato Mura,' the joint public-private venture of the city, developed 'Otamahan,' the soy sauce dedicated to tamago kake gohan.
The purpose of the symposium was to discuss the history and the appeal, and memories and recipes related to tamago kake gohan were collected.
In the symposium, 'the day of tamago kake gohan' was determined to be October 30.