How to make Hanjuku Tamago (Onsen eggs) 半熟卵(温泉卵)の作り方

While in Japan this famous Hanjuku Tamago popped up in various kinds of dishes. Sometimes on your creme pasta, sometimes on your rice or in your noodle soup. First I thought it was a regular poached egg, or maybe an egg that had been boiled for a shorter time. But it’s actually neither. The hanjuku tamago originates from times when you used to put the eggs in the Japanese hotsprings, or onsen (therefore called onsen tamago sometimes). In other words, they are not boiled, the have been lying in the same temperature for a long time. This technique allows the egg yolk and white to get the same creamy consistency which is much much tastier than the poached egg where the white is hard and the yolk raw. I tried to make these kinds of eggs several times in Japan. After I saw one of the ladies in the school canteen cracking an egg open and out comes a hanjuku tamago, I tried many ways to copy but failed every time. The other day I heard a Swedish radio program about cooking and the chef described this egg and I knew immediately what it was. I tried and succeeded! And actually, it’s not as difficult as long as you accurate. So, here comes the instructions for making the fabulous hanjuku tamago!
Any pasta with cream sauce, like carbonara or spinach sauce, gets even better with a hanjuku tamago. And rice, soy sauce, avocado, some mayonaise and a hanjuku tamago is just the perfect breakfast! I call it ohayodon.

Prepare a pot with 63 degrees water by mixing water from a kettle with cold tap water. Use a thermometer. The bigger the pot the better, but a small one works too. Switch on your stove to a level that will keep this temperature. The first time you try this you might have to experiment quite a lot, trying different levels and find one that is able too keep the heat without raising it or lowering it. Of course, there will be no perfect level but we’ll come to that later. For my stove, I realized after the first attempt that out of the 12 levels number 2 was the best one.
For an as even result as possible, use a strainer and sink the egg down and keep it in during the entire cooking time. It’s fine to just put the eggs on the bottom of the pot too. ざるなどを使って卵をゆっくりいれてそのまま置いて。ざるがなければ卵をそのままに入れてもオッケーが、あったほうは結果が少しよくなる。Check the time and start your timer, the eggs should be in for 40-45 minutes.時間を確かめて、タイマーを40から45分まで設定して。
During these 40 minutes it’s important to not let the temperature rise above or sink below around 63 degrees. If the temperature rises a bit, adjust by pouring in cold water…この40分の間温度が63度からあまり違わないことを確認するのはポイント。ちょっと上がると冷たい水をいれて。
…or hot water if it gets colder!で下がったらお湯を入れて!
Remove when done and crack on top of your food! This might seem like an extremely complicated and time consuming activity. But in fact, water is quite slow so it’s not going to rise 10 degrees in temperature just like that. No, the first time you make it maybe you need to check the temperature once every tenth minute, assuming that you’re not 100% sure which level on the stove to use. But when you have confirmed that much, it’s enough to check the egg once or twice. Also, you can make many eggs and keep in the fridge, the texture will be the same even if you eat the egg when its cold. So, why not throw an egg in the water while studying in your home, making you motivated since you know you will have such a tasty lunch in 40 minutes? Or make 20 of them and invite your friends for carbonara? No matter what, these eggs are so tasty that it’s worth the time and effort – no doubt!

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