Weekend Project: How to Perfect Ramen Eggs at Home
The soy sauce-infused boiled eggs with a creamy yolk just require patience and a bit of know-how.
There is so much to love about a classic bowl of ramen: springy noodles, silky broths, fat cuts of chashu. Ramens can be customized with different soup bases—shoyu, miso, and tonkotsu to name a few—and upgraded with streaks of cutting pickled ginger or bamboo shoots. But something that seems to remain consistent in every bowl of ramen is the ubiquitous ramen egg. That boiled egg with a jammy center infused with the subtle flavors of mirin and soy sauce just seems to tie the whole bowl together.
Making this iconic topping seems complicated. How do you get the whites to set while keeping the yolk so custardy? How do you imbue the egg with soy sauce, giving it its signature brown color?
According to Chef Fumihiro “Foo” Kanegae of Karazishi Botan, it’s not as difficult as it seems. He should know. Before opening Karazishi Botan in New York, a ramen diner with both traditional tonkotsu and vegan matcha miso broths, he was a ramen master at worldwide chain Ippudo.
“More than cooking, I was always interested in eating,” Kanegae says of his early start in food. “Growing up in Fukuoka, the mecca of tonkotsu ramen, I was surrounded by that smell of tonkotsu and did not like it! So I wanted to become a chef that can make ramen that can be enjoyed by everyone, including myself.”
Kanegae’s cooking career has taken him to Shanghai, Paris, and now New York where he crafts tapas, ramen, and nitamago—or the soy sauce ramen eggs—in his Brooklyn-based restaurant.
“Egg goes with anything,” Kanegae explains, listing off rice, noodles, and steak as some examples. “It’s not a surprise that nitamago goes well with all the elements in a ramen bowl, but it’s almost important to note that they don’t get in the way. They’re a great supporting player.”
The key to making good nitamago is in the ice bath that immediately follows time spent in boiling hot water. Although it depends on the size of the egg, Kanegae recommends boiling the eggs between seven-and-a-half and eight minutes. He also suggests using not-so-fresh eggs and poking a tiny hole, with a pin or needle, at the bottom of the egg prior to boiling. Both these things make peeling the eggs a much easier task.
Aside from that, all you really need—according to Kanegae—is “passion for fun and good ramen.”
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Chef Foo’s Nitamago
- 1.7 ounces soy sauce
- 1.7 ounces mirin
- .35 ounces of cooking sake (can be substituted with white wine)
- .35 ounces of sugar
- 4 eggs
1. In a small saucepan, add soy sauce, mirin, and cooking sake and heat until it comes to a boil. Then add the sugar.
2. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, turn off the heat and cool in a container. Once cooled, your marinade is ready.
3. Take 4 large eggs out of the fridge, leave them at room temperature, and poke a tiny hole at the bottom of each egg using a pushpin or a needle.
4. In a larger pot, bring water to boil. Add the eggs carefully into the boiling water using a ladle, one by one.
5. Cook the eggs for 7 to 8 minutes, and then immediately remove the eggs from boiling water and place them in a bowl with ice cubes and water.
6. Once the eggs have cooled down, peel off the shells.
7. In a container, add the cooked eggs and cooled marinade. Don't worry if your egg is not fully covered. Put a paper towel on top so the marinade penetrates evenly.
8. Leave it in the fridge overnight, ideally 9 to 12 hours.
9. Your nitamago is ready to be enjoyed as a topping to any of your favorite ramen, with rice, or even on its own!