A simple dish of hot rice and raw egg, tamago meshi has many names including tamago gohan, tamago kake gohan and tamago bukkake meshi. The heat from the steaming rice slightly cooks the egg, resulting in a rich flavor and silky texture. A bit of shoyu adds salty, umami taste. Because it is so easy to prepare, Japanese people eat this often for a nutritious breakfast, quick lunch or frugal supper.
Raw egg risk?
People today are afraid of eating raw eggs because of the risk of salmonella poisoning. But, the truth is that the salmonella bacteria does not come from the raw egg inside the shell. It is in the intestinal tract of the chicken that lays the egg and it gets transferred to the shell. When people crack the egg, the salmonella hitches a ride on the wet ova as it slides out of the shell. A nurse friend told me that doctors informed her that it is safe to eat raw egg as long as you wash the egg shells before cracking them. So, she made it a practice to dip all of her chicken eggs in a light bleach water mixture when she brought them home from the grocery store. She had no problems using raw eggs in her cooking. I follow her advice and I too have no problem with consuming and cooking raw eggs when I make homemade mayonnaise, tamago meshi or this amazing dessert called Cheesecake Bananas that uses raw eggs and cream cheese. Thank goodness! So wash your raw egg shells well and go ahead and make tamago meshi.
Some cooks prefer to scramble the raw egg and shoyu together before adding to the rice. I like to scramble the egg and stir it in the hot rice to let it cook before adding the shoyu. This way, the shoyu does not interfere with the cooking process by cooling the rice. By the way, hot brown rice works fine, too. The key to making this successfully is to be sure the rice is steaming hot.
Tamago Meshi or Tamago Kake Gohan
2 cups steaming hot rice
1 raw, room temperature chicken egg
soy sauce (shoyu) to taste (approx. 1 tsp. for this recipe)
In a small dish, crack and scramble a raw, room temperature chicken egg. Place hot rice into a medium dish and make a shallow well in the center. Immediately pour in the raw scrambled egg and gently mix together to let the hot rice gcookh it. Add shoyu to taste. Enjoy. For extra richness, you can use an additional raw egg yolk or use only yolks. The result should be silky, but not one bit runny. You can add more or less hot rice according to your own taste. That goes for the shoyu and egg as well.
I like to eat this with some fresh sliced spring scallion tops (green onions). Some people like to eat tamago kake gohan with furikake or nori sprinkled on top. There is a contemporary-style dish called omumuraisu (omelet rice) that is a thin omelet filled with flavored rice of all sorts. You can tuck some fresh tamago kake gohan into an omelet.
The best Japanese dishes are simple in nature. Tamago meshi is a fine example.