Tamagoyaki/Dashimaki Tamago with Mitsuba (Japanese Rolled Omelette with Herbs)

tamagppDear Japanese friends and all the experienced tamagoyaki makers, please be indulgent. What you see above is only my second attempt at the delicate task of preparing the Japanese omelette. The first time I tried making it, the result was tragical, so I expected a long series of failures. Surprisingly, this second omelette didn’t fall into pieces (even when I cut it) and, in spite of its messy looks, tasted wonderful. It made me so happy, I simply had to share my joy with you.

Tamagoyaki 卵焼き/玉子焼き, also called dashimaki tamago, is different from its European counterparts, not only because it contains some soy sauce and is sweet, but, most of all, because of a different frying method. Seasoned, beaten eggs are fried in thin layers, which are rolled successively with long cooking chopsticks and end up in a neat cylinder. A special rectangular or square pan is the traditional utensil, but it can also be made in a simple, round pan. I have seen the tamagoyaki making process dozens of times on television and internet and it always looked extremely difficult, especially for someone who, like me, lacks patience and dexterity and who isn’t used to cook with chopsticks.

Last year I decided to brave the tamagoyaki challenge and put the special pan as an obligatory item on the shopping list for my trip to Japan. I came back with a small rectangular pan and… didn’t have the courage to use it for over eight months! I don’t remember what has triggered my sudden urge to use it, but last week I thought I was fed up seeing the pan still unpacked in my drawer. I desperately needed very precise instructions, so I started to look for videos and finally followed the famous YouTube show called Cooking With Dog. I found it comprehensive, very well made and the concept of a talking dog funny and completely crazy. I have chosen this video also because the recipe called for mitsuba, the Japanese plant which starts forming a small forest on my balcony and which is particularly good with eggs. It was a sign I should choose this show and no other.

The video was very helpful and, apart from scaling down the recipe’s amounts, the only thing I changed was eliminating the sugar. Japanese omelettes are always sweet, the thing which doesn’t suit my taste buds, so my home-made tamagoyaki, even though clumsy and messy-looking, was the best because it was 100% savoury, just the way I love it. Check the Cooking with Dog show to see the original three-egg recipe and very comprehensive instructions, but, please, do not compare the final result to mine!


PAN: The special square or rectangular pan is not necessary. Tamagoyaki can be prepared in a round pan too. The important thing is to adapt the size of the pan to the number of eggs you want to use. I have bought the smallest pan I found because it was adapted to a two-egg omelette, perfect for one serving. My rectangular pan’s measures are: 18 x 13 cm (7 x 5 inches), so if you want to make an omelet with two eggs, take a similarly-sized round pan.

HERBS: I have used here mitsuba because I love it and am lucky to grow it on my balcony, but of course any fresh herb of your choice will be great here. I recommend chives, tarragon or dill.

SERVING: My favourite way to serve tamagoyaki is with good French buttered bread (baguette or similar bread with crunchy crust), but you can have it as a snack or in a more Asian way, as a part of a meal with rice, pickles, vegetables…

Tamagoyaki is often served cold, but personally I like it still slightly warm, with a splash of soy sauce.

Special equipment: long cooking chopsticks. As difficult as it may seem, in my opinion cooking chopsticks are a perfect tool for this omelette. You can try also with normal eating chopsticks, but they might be too small.

Preparation: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves one as a main course, for example breakfast):

2 eggs

2 tablespoons Japanese stock (dashi), but in my opinion chicken stock will be perfect here too (you can dissolve a pinch of instant stock of course)

1 teaspoon soy sauce

(ground black pepper)

pinch of salt

about 10 sprigs mitsuba leaves or any other herbs of your choice (chives, tarragon, dill…)


(soy sauce and grated daikon radish to serve)

Chop the herbs (if you use mitsuba, use also the stalks!).

In a wide bowl mix the eggs, add the stock, the salt, the soy sauce and the pepper, if using. Combine with the chopped herbs.

Heat a pan (keep in on medium heat) and grease is slightly using chopsticks and a piece of folded paper towel soaked in oil and brushing the surface with it.

To check if it’s hot enough Cooking with Dog’s chef advises pouring a small drop of egg mixture: if it sizzles, it means the pan is ready.

Pour a part of the omelette mixture (in case of my pan’s size 100 ml/about 3,5 fl oz was the ideal amount) onto the pan and move the pan so that the egg mixture covers the whole surface.

When it’s half-cooked, lift the pan from the heat and start rolling the omelette. I found that rolling in the direction towards me was easier.

Push the roll towards one side of the pan (the one with the handle is more practical).

Grease the pan once more, holding the soaked paper towel in chopsticks.

Pour once more the same amount of egg mixture. Spread it evenly, moving the pan.

Make sure it arrives under the rolled first part of the omelette (lift the roll slightly while spreading the mixture).

Fry it, destroying with your chopsticks the bubbles forming on the surface.

When this portion is almost cooked, lift the pan from the heat and roll the omelette, starting with the roll you have previously made.

Push it towards one side of the pan (preferably close to the handle), grease slightly the surface and repeat the whole process until you finish the egg mixture.

Make sure you are not left with a tiny amount of egg mixture! It’s better to make the last rolled layer too thick than too thin. If it’s too thin it will break or/and be overcooked.

Squash slightly the roll with a wide spatula, transfer it onto a chopping board.

Let it cool down slightly and cut into 4 equal pieces.

Serve cold or slightly warm (it is usually served cold).

Cooking with Dog show’s chef recommends serving it with grated daikon radish and a splash of soy sauce. I like it served still warm, with good buttered French bread (with crunchy crust), with a splash of soy sauce and, optionally, with some chili or chili paste.

55 Replies to “Tamagoyaki/Dashimaki Tamago with Mitsuba (Japanese Rolled Omelette with Herbs)”

  1. I love these omelets and your use of fresh herb in them is new to me. I wish I could make them without ending up with a partially raw center though as I’m trying to roll and pour the new layer too soon.

    1. This is not my problem… My problem is rolling without breaking and I hope to manage one day to make a very firm roll. I think you should wait until each layer is half set before rolling. The soft part will cook afterwards, on its own.

      1. I actually THINK that it’s half set and I want it liquid enough that it will attach to the previous roll but then it doesn’t cook in the center .

  2. I love this Japanese Egg Roll and it’s nice that you add herbs into it. I think I’ve only tried the plain ones before. Can’t wait to add herbs next time I make some. 🙂 I love your inspiration.

    1. Thank you so much, Amy. I was lucky because I was only looking for a tamagoyaki video and didn’t expect to use also my mitsuba! I have killed two birds with one stone.

  3. Your tamagoyaki looks very good! It took me seven attempts or so till I got the knack of making it in a round pan (if I rememeber correctly).
    I prefer to use the term atsu-yaki tamago to clearly differentiate it from other types of tamagoyaki (lit. fried eggs) and from dashimaki tamago, the Western Japan version of tamagoyaki, which contains dashi, may contain a small amount of mirin, but is never sweetened with sugar. Although I am a Kanto (Eastern Japan) person, I hate sweetened tamagoyaki (as I said a number of times in my blog)!

    1. Thanks a lot, Hiroyuki. You mean very good for a second attempt 😉 Do you mean it’s actually easier to make in a round pan???
      As always you teach me a lot about food and food vocabulary! So since there is no sugar in this tamagoyaki I should call it dashimaki tamago? (I don’t like sugar in omelets). I will update the post quickly. Thank you so much.
      I thought that you didn’t like sugar in general in most savoury dishes… I must have missed tamagoyaki post.

      1. I feel so comfortable making my atsuyaki tamago in a round pan that I don’t want to make it in an authentic rectangular one. And, I put a relatively large amount of oil (a little more than 1 tbsp, I guess) only once (I use a non-stick frying pan). I don’t want to add additional oil each time I finish rolling.
        Sweetening eggs with sugar is one of the ridiculous things you can do to eggs, and I don’t know why many Japanese like to do that!

        1. Hiroyuki, my grandmother used to put sugar on sliced tomatoes and salt-pickled cucumbers… so nothing will surprise me 😉

  4. Your tamagoyaki looks wonderful to me! I want to get a rectangular frying pan too! I can make this in a normal round frying pan, but it feels like I can make it even look nicer with a rectangular one. 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Sue. You are very kind. I’ll practice it and also try to use different herbs and seasonings.

  5. Well methinks the saying is ‘if at once you do not succeed, try, try again!’ Long cooking chopsticks are actually some of the easiest kitchen utensils to use once one is used to them: this is great and I won’t bore you with all the herbs etc I manage to put into the oft prepared dish 🙂 ! One of your statetments really hit home: admitting breakfast was just about the most important meal of the day: yay!! Not that mine is huge, but it is powerpacked with protein and vegetables!!!

    1. Hi, Eha. I like chopsticks in cooking too but rolling an omelette with them is not easy for me… On the other hand I see no other better utensil. I will get used to it. I will experiment with other herbs and ingredients here too.

  6. I checked out the video and OMG, that puppy looked like it wasn’t real for most of the demonstration!!! Very interesting demonstration. I love omelets and I’m sure I would love this one, it’s so light and airy. Once I heard the accent for a bit, I started to understand the guy talking, but at first, I thought it was Japanese! Thank you Sissi for introducing me to another lovely recipe, I’m making this one for sure (and I have square cast Iron pans too!).

    1. Thanks a lot, Eva. The show is funny isn’t it? I think that the chef shows very well all the steps and it’s also well explained, in the tiniest details. The dog is just a bonus and a funny idea 😉
      I am crazy for egg dishes, this is why I wanted so much to learn how to make this omelette. It makes another delicious egg dish on my cooking list.

      1. How soon we forget! I’ve made this omelet a few times now, I usually have it as hors d’œuvres for cocktails, I had forgotten that you had introduced me to it! The dog is very funny indeed; I love how he just sits on the stool do well behaved!
        I was hoping to buy one of the specialized rectangular pans eventually but my cast iron square pan really works well (about 15cm square). I have also made a savoury version without sugar as well as one with only egg whites. I also love the sound of the ones made with pollack, Datemaki so I think that will be next on my experiments.

        1. I’m so happy I have encouraged you to make it. I think as long as a pan is square, it’s perfect! I had only grilling square pan so it wasn’t possible and I had to buy a special pan. On the other hand, a Japanese friend makes this omelette on a round pan too.
          I never add sugar, so there is no sugar in my modified version (I don’t like sweet omelettes, but most Japanese do). If you ever stumble upon mitsuba, I strongly recommend it! It’s perfect with egg (a bit like chives and scrambled eggs: perfect combination).

  7. I bought a cheap rectangular pan the other day, and of course failed the first time, just tried 2nd time yesterday, still not looking good, hehehe.. I have to keep trying..Your tamagoyaki with herbs, must be full of nice aroma..

    1. Thank you, Sonia. I’m relieved to hear I’m not the only one who struggles. I made it once more yesterday and it was slightly better looking, so I’m sure you will obtain better results every time! Good luck! You are much more skilled than me in such delicate dishes.

  8. An omelet, sounds easy, I think I can do it with my eyes closed. And thats probably best eaten with the eyes closed too:)
    Sounds complex/delicate, good job on making them look perfect. If you call that messy, its because of your very high standards:)

    1. Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. Rolled omelette which doesn’t fall into pieces is one of the biggest culinary achievements of my life! It’s also delicious and so much better without the sugar it always contained in Japan.

  9. I had the same fear with dough and then I decided that I am a big girl now and I should be more bold and daring and everything went just fine. It was really good that you tried it and the result, I think, did justice to your courage. To my eyes, although far from expert’s, this Japanese omelet looks very neat and delicious!

    1. Thank you so much, Katerina, for kind encouragement. I will remember your words next time I try to bake a yeast cake 🙂 (I have had many failures). Thank you for the compliments. I hope to improve this omelette and present some other seasoning options I already have in head!

  10. I saw that video a while back and have to admit that I was somewhat intimidated by the process. That’s a lot of work to get an omelet. 🙂 But if you say it’s worth the effort, then I might just have to try it. The square pan would be the tricky part, so thanks for reassuring me that a round skillet would work. For something like this should I assume that a stick-free pan is best? Since I don’t just happen to had a mitsuba plant on my back porch :), I would probably pick some fresh tarragon. Love the combo of tarragon and eggs. Your omelet looks absolutely delicious by the way!!!!

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. It is worth the effort if you like discovering new egg dishes and most of all, if, like me, you are attracted to cute, different shapes 🙂 Hiroyuki, my Japanese blogging friend, swears by his round pan, so you can definitely use it too.
      If you are not sure of other pans, use the non-stick of course.
      You can use any herb of course! I love tarragon with eggs. Most recipes don’t include any herbs at all.

    1. Thank you so much, Nipponnin, for the compliments. I really appreciate them, especially coming from you. My husband seems to love this omelette too so I will have occasions to practice it quite often 😉

  11. I’m so glad you attempted this rolled omelet again…so now I can make it, too. Served with a splash of soy sounds delish!

  12. Sissi, can you believe that I never made this eggs? I like the idea of adding herbs, in this egg rolls…very delicate and elegant.
    Thanks for the recipe and have a wonderful week 😀

    1. Thank you so much, Juliana. You should try it. As I have said, if I can make it any home cook can 😉

  13. hey Sisi, this looks great – don’t be so modest! …and thank you for sharing ‘cooking with dog’ – can see many idle moments frittered away watching those two!

  14. Haha, I love the opening caveat but you know, you are always so hard on yourself Sissi! Your omelette looks exactly like the one in the video (the dog – LOL). It’s true that I am not Japanese but to me, this is a success. (It’s also wonderfully unique to this north american’s eyes!). I find it amazing that you are able to achieve such a tight and well shaped bundle from an egg – there is no way on the good green earth that I could do that! ;-). Seriously, well done and elegant looking. The herbs also make this version especially dreamy.

    1. Kelly, you are so kind…as always. I don’t even pretend to be able to make a comparable omelette anytime soon! I’m sure you could do it much better than me! To be frank I thought it would be 100x more difficult! Thank you so much for all your compliments.

  15. You are toooooo modest, Sissi! Your tamagoyaki looks beautiful so what are you talking about! 😉 I know you probably can make it even better, but this is already beyond awesomeness. 😀 Love that you added mitsuba in it. My mom always put spinach and tamagoyaki in my obento for school always looked like yours. Great job!

    1. Nami, your compliments make me blush and I have a silly big smile on my face that will probably stay all day long 😉 Spinach sounds like an excellent idea! Thank you so much for your kind comment.

  16. Hi Sissi!
    I remember this dish from Nami, but I think she didn’t use herbs no? (not sure anymore just remember the picture). Why did you say it is sweet, I couldn’t find a sugar or similar in the ingredients list. I might be blind too… I think your tamagoyaki looks rather perfect, even nami said the same. You should really credit yourself more Sissi. 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Helene. I have compared my result to Nami’s and Cooking with Dogs show chef’s and I thought I still have a lot to learn…
      Japanese omelettes are always sweet. Only mine isn’t sweet 😉 (I wrote above: “Japanese omelettes are always sweet, the thing which doesn’t suit my taste buds, so my home-made tamagoyaki, even though clumsy and messy-looking, was the best because it was 100% savoury, just the way I love it.”) Nami’s omelette has sugar and frankly I have never seen a Japanese omelette recipe without it. Every time I tasted it I was thinking: “such a pity it is sweet”. Now that I can do this (more or less) at home, no need to eat sweet omelette!

  17. Tu ne t’en sors pas si mal avec cette omelette 😉
    Et dis donc, il y en a des choses qui poussent sur ton balcon, tu dois avoir la main verte contrairement à moi ! Je ne connais pas du tout cette mitsuba, mais j’adore les oeufs et toutes les sortes d’omelettes mais surtout celles avec de la “verdure”, alors tu penses bien que j’aimerais pouvoir réaliser ta recette 🙂
    Merci pour la référence aussi, j’ai regardé un peu la chaîne youtube “Cooking with dog” et il y a plusieurs recettes qui me tentent vraiment. La cuisine japonaise m’attire mais elle est si sophistiquée, je n’ai pas tellement eu le courage de m’y intéresser pour l’instant…

    1. Merci beaucoup, Helena. En fait, je suis nulle avec les plantes! Les herbes poussent très facilement sur le balcon (et certaines salades comme la roquette ou la mâche poussent comme de mauvaises herbes). Je pense qu’avec tes ingrédients de base pour la cuisine coréenne tu dois pouvoir préparer pas mal de plats japonais.

      1. Oui, même avec ceux de la cuisine chinoise (en fait j’ai assez peu de produits coréens mais par contre des produits chinois, j’en ai plein mes placards !), il y en a qui sont facilement interchangeables (je pense par exemple au “tobanjan”)…
        Et c’est vrai que depuis quelque temps j’arrive (je touche du bois) à faire pousser de la coriandre et de l’oseille sur ma terrasse, mais ce n’est pas gagné, il y a des jours où elles ont un peu mauvaise mine ! En plus avec nos chats qui traînent dans les parages c’est encore plus un challenge !

  18. I never tried to make this type of omelette before but I find them so pretty… I’m so rubbish at making omelettes so I have absolutely no doubt that if I tried to make such a thin, delicate omelette.

    I’m no expert in them but you seem to have done a fantastic job Sissi – it looks very tasty and certainly very neat and pretty!

    1. Thanks a lot, Charles. It’s really not easy to make… but finally easier than I thought! Of course there is a lot to improve here, but I’m no longer scared 😉
      I was attracted to this omelette exactly because of its cute look. Otherwise it’s just an omelette and the same flavours can be added to any omelette…

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