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How to Make a Ramen Egg - Recipe (Hanjuku Egg, Nitamago, Ajitsuke Tamago)

Ramen egg in situ

People complain that it's hard to get around in Japan because you're literally lost in translation. This isn't true for a number of reasons which I won't go into now, but especially when it comes to food.

Most restaurants, even the high-end ones, have amazing plastic models in their windows called "sampuru" which show you pretty much exactly what you're going to get; when you get inside, the menus often contain pictures; and a lot of more casual places make you order in advance from a machine which has photos of all the dishes (it's a bit like buying a car park ticket, but what you get in return is a hell of a lot more fun).

Choosing noodle options in Osaka

I loved using these machines because you could easily build up the craziest order possible without any confusion - press this button for extra noodles, that button for tempura on the side - but my favourite button was the one which got you a ramen egg.

A ramen egg, if you're unaware, is the second most delicious soft-boiled egg in the world* in my opinion. 

Super-soft ramen egg

Also known as a hanjuku egg, ni-tamago or ajitsuke tamago, a ramen egg is soft-boiled so the white is cooked through, but the yolk remains molten (in fact some people refer to it as a lava egg or molten egg) and it's then marinated in a soy sauce mix.

A bowl of ramen in Japan just isn't right without one of these eggs, though it goes very well with other noodle dishes such as soba and udon, and it even makes a fantastic sandwich - just smush one down in some bread and butter.

Random Cooking
A firmer Ramen Egg


Makes 6
  • 6 eggs (I use Burford Browns for their gorgeous yolks)
For the marinade
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp mirin or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • Pinch of instant dashi/Marigold bouillon/MSG (optional)

Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl or jug and set to one side.

Soft-boil your eggs - I use this method. As soon as they are cool enough to touch, peel them very carefully, making sure you don't split the whites.

Random Cooking
Eggs in soy marinade

Place the peeled eggs in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade on top. 

Roll the eggs around in the marinade, and then tie the bag tightly shut.

Random Cooking
Make sure the eggs are completely covered in marinade

Place the bag of eggs in a bowl and leave in the fridge overnight (turn them once though for even coverage). 

The next day, when you're ready to eat them - on noodles, on rice, in a sandwich, in a ramen burger - slice your ramen eggs in half and enjoy.

My friend Cherry from Feed The Tang even serves an amazing canapĂ© at her supperclub Fed by Tang where she tops ramen eggs with ikura ie salmon roe - actual genius.

Heaven in egg form

*(the first being an onsen egg, recipe coming soon ...)


Tiff said…
What a great post!! I LOVE raman eggs...will have to try these very soon!
Kavey said…
If I make this I will eat ALL THE EGGS! Hoping to try onsen eggs soon!
meemalee said…
That's pretty much what I do ;)
Wai Yee Hong said…
Out of interest, where does the tea egg come in your egg hierarchy?
meemalee said…
Whole egg hierarchy = onsen > ramen > soft-boiled > century > tea > hard-boiled > salted
Unknown said…
I have never eaten or made these before but they look spectacular... I am a HUGE egg lover so I will try these out this weekend, thanks for sharing the recipe x
Unknown said…
Would it be ok just soy and sugar? Any alternative to the mirin/sherry ?
meemalee said…
Oh, of course! It just adds a tang. Some people use fresh grated ginger and rice vinegar in the marinade for a similar kick.
Miss Whiplash said…
I am extremely concerned about the low position of salted.
All eggs are good (obvs), but salted really is special...
Looks interesting, I'll try this recipe soon :)
stephanie said…
I LOVE the super soft ramen eggs - thanks for sharing the recipe! I can just eat the eggs on their own (almost as much as I love eating the tea eggs!)
Anonymous said…
You didn't explain how to cook them perfectly which is the most difficult part.
meemalee said…
Actually I did - I linked to a video where I demonstrated exactly how to cook them.
Silverworm said…
Can we actually reuse.the marinade? Thanks!
meemalee said…
Yes, you can. Use it to stir-fry veg or meat :)
Unknown said…
Hello, what lively article, thanks so much for the information! I was also wondering if you could use brown sugar ?
meemalee said…
Hi Becka! Yes, you could - it would make it more caramelly (is that a word?) which is a good thing :)
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the recipe but I'm curious, why does Asian food seem to always have sugar in it? Is there a way to make this without sugar?
meemalee said…
You don't need the sugar, but it won't taste as nice. I'm fairly certain not all Asian food has sugar in it, by the way, though it's used more in some cuisines eg Thai or Vietnamese.