How a Master Sushi Chef Creates the Perfect Japanese Omelette: Tamago — Omakase
Chef Cody Auger uses classic sushi techniques combined with his skills in architecture to make things like the perfect tamago at his restaurant Nimblefish in Portland.
Why is making a perfect Tamago omelette considered an art that requires years of practice?
In the world of Japanese cuisine, there is hardly anything more delicate and flavorful than a Tamago omelette. Expertly crafted by a master sushi chef, this dish is an essential part of Omakase, the traditional multi-course dining ceremony. Creating a perfect Tamago is an art that requires patience, skill, and a deep understanding of the ingredients.
To start with, the chef must choose the right eggs. They must be fresh, but not too fresh, as the egg white will not settle properly. The eggs used for a Tamago omelette are usually medium-sized and have a bright, creamy yolk. Once the eggs are procured, the chef will crack them into a bowl and whisk them until the whites and yolk are well combined.
The next step in the preparation of Tamago is to add the seasoning. The mixture typically includes soy sauce, sugar, and mirin (a Japanese rice wine). The chef may also add dashi, a broth flavored with dried fish and seaweed. The seasoning should be added slowly and carefully, ensuring that the ingredients are properly combined without over-mixing.
Once the seasoning is added, the chef must move on to the most crucial part of the Tamago-making process – cooking. The Tamago omelette is traditionally made on a rectangular pan called a Tamagoyaki-yaki, which is made especially for this task. The pan is well-coated with oil, and the heat is set to a low-to-medium flame.
The chef will pour a thin layer of the egg mixture onto the pan and let it cook for a few seconds before rolling it up. The process is repeated until the Tamago is multi-layered, with each one rolled neatly on top of the other. The chef must also ensure that each layer is cooked properly, without getting too dry or too moist.
Finally, the Tamago is taken out of the pan and allowed to cool before slicing it into bite-size pieces. It is served as part of Omakase, where it is meant to be savored in small bites, each bite offering a burst of umami flavor and a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
In conclusion, making a perfect Tamago omelette requires a tremendous amount of skill and patience. It is an art that demands years of practice, and only a master sushi chef can do it justice. However, for those who are fortunate enough to savor a well-prepared Tamago, it is an unforgettable experience, one that encapsulates the elegance and refinement of Japanese cuisine.