Ramen is a classic Japanese dish that has become a worldwide sensation.
But what sets it apart from other noodle dishes is the perfect egg.
The creamy yolk and tender white elevate the broth and noodles to new heights.
Ajitama, meaning seasoned boiled egg, is a must-have for any ramen lover.
In this guide, we'll uncover the secrets of making the perfect Ajitama and how to incorporate it into your ramen bowls for the ultimate dining experience.
What did the Ramen egg say to the broth?
I'm egg-static to be a part of this bowl.
I'll be sharing 8 different kinds of ramen with eggs and their recipes below with you.
1. Ajitama (Marinated boiled egg)
2. Nitamago (Simmered egg)
3. Poached Egg
4. Onsen Tamago (Japanese style soft boiled egg)
5. Eggs without Seasoning
6. Raw Egg
7. Egg Drop Soup
8. Kinshi Tamago (Crepe-thin eggs and sliced into strips)
Keep reading and you will find out about each one...
Ajitama is a marinated ramen egg.
This ramen egg is famous and well-loved for its firm and seasoned egg whites, coupled with a soft and succulent egg yolk.
Debatably, this is one of the most popular ramen toppings of all time.
Ajitama is short for "ajitsuke tamago".
From Japanese, it directly translates to flavored (ajitsuke) egg (tamago).
Usually, at a ramen restaurant, half-boiled ajitama is served alongside noodles.
But there are many variations of ajitama available to suit different preferences.
Depending on the restaurant, ajitama can be hard-boiled, half-boiled, made with runny consistency, marinated in soy sauce or vinegar.
Some restaurants even use quail eggs instead of chicken eggs.
i. Secret Ajitama Ramen Egg Recipe
What makes this beloved ramen topping so loved amongst many?
The golden yolk is in the perfect condition where it is not completely cooked, but it also doesn't run, the taste of flavour is evenly spread throughout the egg and even into the center.
Learn how to make your own in the comfort of your home with these easy-to-find ingredients!
Let’s get started!
5 chicken eggs
3.5 oz (100ml) soy sauce
1.7 oz (50ml) mirin
3.5 oz (100ml) dashi soup stock
1 clove garlic
1 TBSP sugar
1. Mince garlic
2. Boil water in a large pot and put in the cold eggs (straight from the fridge) using a ladle to prevent the cracking of the eggs. Boil for exactly 7 minutes while constantly stirring to move the yolk into the center.
3. Put eggs in ice cold water for 3 minutes.
4. Peel the shell in the water.
5. Mix together soy sauce, mirin, soup stock, sugar and garlic and put the peeled eggs into this marinade.
6.Place a small lid (aluminum foil will work well) directly onto the eggs to allow the eggs to fully absorb the mixture.
7. Leave in the fridge overnight (if you leave it in too long, the ajitama will turn out very salty)
ii, Ajitama Troubleshooting | Why does my ajitama not look like the ones at restaurants?This recipe sounds very easy and simple but cooking ajitama requires patience and precision.
Why is that?
1. It is difficult to boil the egg so that it is in its perfect half-boiled, half-raw state.
2. It is very easy to accidentally over boil the eggs.
3. Eggs are easily broken while they are being boiled.
4. Yolks sometimes shift and don't stay in the center.
5. It is difficult to peel boiled eggs. These eggs tend to break into some pieces or cracks form on the egg white.
But if you know these tips below, I guarantee you will make the perfect ajitama each time and you will never fail!
KABOOM! Here are my secrets...
Ajitama Troubleshooting #1: Too runny
There are 2 ways to prevent runny ajitama eggs.
i. Boil eggs in boiling waterGrab eggs straight from the fridge and put it into boiling water. This means, do not put it in the water first and wait for the water to boil with the eggs inside. By boiling eggs into the water, distributes the heat across the eggs evenly and consistently.
ii. Set a timer.Do not “eyeball” anything. You must set a kitchen timer or phone timer.
This is the most important tip for making ajitama.
If you want to make half-boiled eggs, boil the eggs for exactly 7 minutes.
Only the outside of the yolk will be a little solidified, but the center of the yolk will be still runny.
If you boil the eggs for 9 minutes, the yolks will become completely solidified.
After 9 minutes, the yolk will still have a bit of an orange-yellow-y color.
If you boil the eggs for 12 minutes, your eggs will be completely hardened. Yolk will have a lighter color.
I recommend boiling your eggs for 7 to 9 minutes if you are making ajitama.
*Boiling time depends on the heat of stove, number of eggs, size of eggs, and the size of the pot.
Ajitama Troubleshooting #2: Too hard
Are your eggs too hard even though you’ve boiled them for the right amount of time?
This is probably because you did not move them immediately into cold water from the pot.
After your timer rings, put the eggs in a bowl of cold water immediately. You need to do this (quickly) to cool them down completely.
Ajitama Troubleshooting #3: Eggs breaks while you are boiling them in a pot
There are 3 ways to prevent eggs from getting broken when putting them into the pot.
i. Use a ladle
Eggshells, as you know, are very fragile. When you put raw eggs into the boiling water, use a ladle and gently release them into water.
ii. Put salt in the hot water
Boiling raw eggs with salt prevents egg whites from leaking even if the shell cracks.
iii. Put vinegar in the hot waterBoiling raw eggs with vinegar is another way to prevent egg whites from leaking even if the shell has cracks in it.
Ajitama Troubleshooting #4: Egg Yolk is shifted to the side and does not stay in the center
The yolk will not stay in the center of the egg if the egg is tilted all the time in the boiling pot.
There are 4 ways to set the yolk in the center.
i. Move the eggs with chopsticks
The easiest way to set the yolk in the center is to move the eggs with chopsticks for the first 3 minutes.
Move the eggs slowly and gently. Eggs are fragile.
ii. Use a pot that has a round bottom
It helps the eggs move in the pot.
iii. Make a small hole on the bottom of the egg
The hole helps the yolk stay in the center.
In addition, the hole makes peeling eggs easier!
iiii. Use an egg stand when you are boiling an egg
You can center the egg yolk by setting an egg stand at the bottom of the pot.
The point is setting the pointy tip of the egg on the bottom.
Unfortunately, if you cannot peel the egg shell well, your ajitama won't look good. It will have a lot of scars on it. The yolk will leak to the outside if there is a hole or scratch on the surface of egg white.
i. Use older eggs over fresh eggs
It is better to use older egg.
Do you know why?
Eggs that are too fresh have some gas inside. This gas makes it difficult to peel the shell.
ii. When you finish boiling, put the eggs into a bowl of cold water immediately
You should wait for 10 minutes in order to completely cool the eggs down.
This will allow you to easily peel the eggs.
iii. Peel eggs in cold running water in the sink
If you run cold water on the egg, water comes into the gap between the egg and the thin skin.
This allows the shell to be easily separated from the eggs.
iiii. Make small cracks on the surface of the egg shellAfter draining the hot water from the pot, shake the pot and make some cracks on the hard-boiled egg shells.
It makes it a lot easier to get rid of the shells.
iii. Different Ajitama Marinade Option
Did you know?
You can create new flavors by replacing the sauce from the last recipe.
Just soak them into these marinades below!
1. Worcester sauce
Give a bit of western flair to your ajitama. Simply soak your half-boiled eggs into the sauce overnight.
Worcester sauce 3.5 oz (100ml)
2. Sesame oil and salt
If you want to spice up the traditional Japanese ajitama, this is the perfect choice.
Water 3.5 oz (100ml)
Black pepper 2tsp
Sesame oil 1tsp
Ponzu gives ajitama a zesty and refreshing taste.
Adventurous ramen friends, try out these variations and let me know which one is your favorite by commenting below!
iv. Do you know who invented this delicious ramen egg?
The person who started putting half-boiled ajitama in ramen is Kenji Chiba, the owner of Chibakiya.
The reason why we can eat half-boiled ajitama today is because Chiba-san opened a ramen restaurant and shared his half-boiled ajitama recipe with everyone.
Nowadays, ajitama is the standard topping of ramen.
Before him, there were only hard boiled seasoned eggs on ramen.
Chiba-san was a successful washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) chef until he was 40 years old.
One day, he saw a long line at a ramen restaurant called Taishoken in Tokyo.
He thought that although the building and interior of the restaurant looked very old and dingy, there were still a lot of customers who were eagerly waiting in a long line for the ramen.
This impressed him.
At the time, he was already a head chef of a popular washoku restaurant. He thought he accomplished his goal, and he was seeking to achieve his next goal.
He brought the washoku skills he learned into ramen. His half-boiled ajitama is one of them.
Nitamago is a simmered egg.
Oden is an example of nitamago.
Nitamago is usually served with other simmered foods.
Such as simmered pork, chicken, and daikon (Japanese radish).
i. Nitamago vs Ajitama
Did you think...
"Wait, nitamago and ajitama look the same. Are there any differences between them?"
Yes, you are right. They are different.
The way you flavor nitamago and ajitama is very different.
The first part of the process is the same:
Boiling the eggs in a pot > Peeling the shells of eggs >
But, here is the difference...
When you flavor nitamago, you simmer the eggs.
This means your nitamago gets its taste in a hot pot. So this means, nitamago will always have a hard boiled yolk because you can't control the temperature.
When you make ajitama, you marinade these eggs in a bowl, a ziplock bag, or different kinds of containers in your fridge.
So, most of the time, ajitama has a soft melting yolk or a half boiled yolk.
Another difference is ajitama is usually cold or at room temperature, but nitamago is usually hot when it is served.
This is the widely accepted terms of nitamago and ajitama in Japan.
But, if you want to get nitpicky, things can get complicated.
As I said,
Ajitama is a short form of "ajitsuke tamago".
This means seasoned (ajitsuke) egg (tamago) in Japanese.
That means nitamago can actually also be called ajitama! (It is also a seasoned egg, right?)
However, all ajitamas are not nitamagos.
Ajitama is the umbrella term of eggs that are flavored.
ii. Nitamago Recipe
Boiled Eggs 4
Soy Sauce 2 TBSP
Mirin 4 TBSP
Water 1 cup
1. Heat up soy sauce, mirin and water, in a pot.
2. Turn down the heat and put the eggs into the pot
3. Simmer the eggs for 20 minutes
Poached egg is another egg option to top your ramen with.
Unlike ajitama and nitamago, poached egg will add creaminess into your ramen soup.
i. Easy Poached Egg Ramen Recipe
Raw Egg 1
Instant Noodles 1 pack
Water 2 cups
Some vegetables and meat
1. Boil noodles in a pot.
2. Crack eggs and put it into the pot and wait for 1 minute.
3. After 1 minute, make a small nesting on top of the noodles using chopsticks. Make sure the egg doesn't fall off from the noodles.
4. Add some vegetables and meat together.
5. Boil until the egg white gets solid.
When you eat, break the egg using chopsticks or a fork.
Just imagine - a creamy yolk spread in your soup. Yum!
ii. Pro Poached Egg Tip
Do you want to make poached eggs like a pro?
Try this magic recipe...
Water 20oz (600ml)
Vinegar 2 TBSP
Salt 1 TSP
1. Crack an eggshell into a bowl.
2. Boil water in a small pot.
3. Put vinegar and salt.
4. Stop the heat, and stir the water as if you are creating a whirlpool.
5. Drop the egg into the center of the pot.
6. Heat the egg for 4 minutes in low heat.
Get an fresh egg straight out of the fridge
Make a strong whirlpool in your pot of boiling water.
When you drop the egg, drop it as close as possible to the hot water.
This recipe is almost magic, it guarantees the perfect poached eggs each time!
I sometimes put this poached egg in my miso soup.
It is SO GOOD!
Onsen means hotsprings and tamago means egg in Japanese.
So, in English onsen tamago literally translates to “hot spring egg”.
People usually eat onsen tamago at hot spring ryokans, a Japanese-style inn.
Eating onsen tamago is one of the things you do on a hot spring trip.
Popular onsen tamago in Japan are...
Radium hot spring egg (Iizaka Onsen, Fukushima)
Kurotamago (Owakudani, Kanagawa)
Arayutamago (Yumura Onsen, Hyogo)
Jigoku yudetamago (Beppu, Oita)
Onsen tamago (Nozawa Onsen, Nagano)
i. Do you know the difference between a soft-boiled egg and an onsen tamago?Some people think an onsen tamago is a regular soft-boiled egg.
Regular soft-boiled eggs have a solid egg white and soft yolk.
Which is the opposite, for an onsen tamago.
For an onsen tamago, the yolk is the harder part, while the egg white is the softer part.
Do you know the reason why an onsen tamago is like this?
The answer is...
The egg yolk and egg white solidifies at different temperatures.
The yolk solidifies at 154F (68C)
While the egg white solidifies at 176F (80C).
When you make an onsen tamago, you take advantage of this temperature gap.
Usually you use water in 154F (68C) to cook onsen tamago for 30 minutes.
ii. Onsen Tamago Recipe
Do you want to make an onsen tamago? Here is the recipe...
Eggs 4 (medium or large)
Hot Water 5 cups
Cold Water 1 cup
1. Boil water in a pot.
2. After the water boils, remove the pot from the heat.
3. Pour cold water into the pot.
4. Put eggs into the pot.
5. Close the lid on and wait for 12 minutes.
6. Break the egg shell.
Use a thick-walled pot. If you use a thin-walled pot, wait for 15 minutes instead of 12 minutes.
If you have sous vide, it is a lot easier.
Set sous vide at 154F (68C) and heat up the eggs for 30 minutes.
A simple boiled egg can enhance your instant ramen.
Take a look...
i. How to make the perfect boiled egg
Everyone has their own preference on how their eggs are boiled.
You will learn how to cook a perfect boiled egg today.
Keep reading and you will find out.
Keep in mind that eggs in this recipe should always be fresh out of the fridge.
1. Make a hole in the egg (Optional)
It is not necessary, but it prevents the surface of the egg from getting rough.
And it makes peeling the shells much easier.
Use a needle or a thumbtack on the bottom of the egg. (the rounded bottom of the egg and not the pointed tip)
2. Put eggs into a pot carefully using a ladle or large spoon
As I’ve mentioned, you need to use eggs from the fridge, so the temperature difference with hot boiling water is high.
Because of this large temperature difference, eggs can easily break. So, you must take care when putting the eggs into boiling water.
Put eggs into the pot carefully. Do so one by one.
3. Use cold water to cool eggs down
After boiling the eggs, drain the hot water immediately and cool the eggs down completely using cold water.
Especially if you want to leave the yolks soft.
Otherwise the yolks will become overcooked because of the remaining heat.
I know what you are thinking...
4. "How many minutes should I boil?"
You will see the varying differences of boiled eggs depending on the time you boil it for.
6 minutes: Very soft. Yolk is melty and egg white is kind of soft too.
7 minutes: Soft-boiled. Only the outline of the yolk is solid, but inside is still melty.
8 minutes: Half-boiled. The proportion of yolk that is solid and melty is fifty-fifty. Yolk won't leak when you cut the egg in half.
9 minutes: Not over-cooked. Yolk is solid, but the color is still a vivid orange-yellow.
10 minutes: The outline of the yolk turns into a lighter yellow.
11 minutes: Only the center of the yolk is still orange-yellow.
12 minutes: Hard-boiled. The entire yolk is light yellow.
*Eggs were in my house fridge. These results may vary based on fridge setting or freshness of eggs.
5. How to peel boiled egg
As I’ve mentioned previously,
Peeling eggs in cold running sink water and making small cracks on the surface of the egg shell makes peeling the shell much easier.
6. When you cut boiled-egg, use a threadYou can use a knife or an egg slicer, but...
If you want your egg to have a beautiful cross section, use a thread to cut it.
Put a thread around the egg and pull the thread.
ii. Ramen Salad
Do you know what a raman salad is?
This dish originated in Hokkaido, Japan.
If you want to eat ramen with boiled eggs, this recipe is perfect for you...
In Japan, putting a raw egg on ramen is popular too.
Famous examples of ramen that incorporate a raw egg in it is Tokushima ramen. Tokushima ramen is shoyu tonkotsu ramen and a raw egg is a necessity for it.
If you are not in Japan, consider poached eggs instead of raw ones for safety.
You can also arrange your ramen soup with a beaten egg.
By just adding a beaten egg into your ramen, can make it very different.
If you are looking for a new arrangement, try it out! It is very easy to make and filling.
i. Easy Egg Drop Ramen Soup Recipe:
Instant Noodles 1 bag
Green Onion 2 inches (5 cm)
Water 2 cups
1. Beat an egg.
2. Cut up a green onion into round slices
3. Boil water in a pot.
4. Put noodles in a pot for 2 minutes.
5. Turn off the heat and put seasoning powder and chopped green onions into the pot and mix them together.
6. Heat the pot up again and after you bring to a boil, pour in the beaten egg.
7. Turn off the heat and heat the egg up using the residual heat.
I recommend using Sapporo Ichiban Shio flavour for this recipe.
The shio flavour goes well with beaten eggs!
You can check out a review of this type of instant noodles here…
[picture of sapporo ichiban shio]
ii. Pro Egg Drop Ramen Soup Recipe:
Instant noodles 1 bag
Sesame oil 1 tsp
Cornstarch 2 TBSP
Water(for soup) 2 cups
Water(cornstarch water) 2 TBSP
Water(for cooking noodles) 2 cups
*You need two pots
1 Boil instant noodles in one pot.
2 Mix 2 tablespoons of water and cornstarch.
3 Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and put in the instant noodle seasoning packet.
4 Turn down the heat to low and add cornstarch into the water little by little.
5 Add sesame oil and boil it for 30 seconds.
6 Bring the soup to a boil again and pour the beaten egg in little by little.
7 Put noodles in a bowl.
8 Pour the egg drop soup into the bowl.
9 Put topping as you want
Adding cornstarch into the water helps eggs become fluffy.
iii. Ramen with Egg and Cheese
Today, I want to share another recipe with you - A delicious creamy carbonara instant noodles
Let's take a look at how to make ramen with egg and cheese!
Instant noodles 1pack
Bacon 2 slices
Egg yolk 2
Olive oil 1tsp
Parmesan cheese 3tsp (Use regular cheese if you don't have parmesan.)
Black pepper to taste
1. Cut bacon up into small pieces.
2. On a heated pan, add in olive oil and cook the bacon until crispy.
3. Start boiling instant noodles.
4. Mix parmesan cheese, egg yolks, and powder soup packet that came with the instant noodles.
5. Put boiled noodles and the carbonara sauce onto the pan with bacon bits and mix.
6. Using medium heat, keep mixing until the sauce gets thicker (Note: pay attention not to overcook egg)
7. Put the noodles onto a plate.
8. Sprinkle with black pepper.
Kinshi is the Japanese word for “thread for nishiki” (clothes).
People call this type of egg by this name because kinshi tamago is so thin and looks like a thread because it is very thin and it bright yellow in color.
You can see kinshi tamago in hiyashi chuka.
Hiyashi chuka is a dish with chilled ramen noodles, cucumber, ham, and imitation crab, kinshi tamago and cold soup.
You can also see kinshi tamago in chirashi sushi, unatamadon, kawarasoba, hiyashi udon, somen, and okinawasoba.
Do you want to know how to make it?
Kinshi Tamago Recipe
Sugar 1 tsp
Cornstarch 1 tsp
Water 1 TBSP
Oil little bit
1 Make a cornstarch mixture by mixing cornstarch and water.
2 Beat an egg and mix the eggs into the cornstarch mixture with sugar.
3 Strain the mixture through a strainer. Doing this makes the kinshi tamago smooth.
4 Heat a pan up.
5 Cook the egg like you are cooking a crepe. Do so carefully, as the thing eggs can brown very easily.
6 Flip the crepe.
7 Cool it down.
8 Cut the edges of the crepe.
9 Fold the crepe and cut it.
After learning about these ramen with egg variations, you might want to try them at home with your homemade ramen.
Do you have large Japanese ramen bowls, spoons, and chopsticks? What about a good large-sized bowl that you can put in your homemade eggs on top of your ramen?
If you don't or would like to get a new set, here's an opportunity we think you'll appreciate.
Maybe Our Bowls Are for You...
About the Author
Kei is a self-proclaimed ramen lover, blog writer and founder of "Apex S.K. Japanese tableware".
"I am from Ibaraki, Japan.
Ramen is great! It can bring you a sense of happiness and satisfaction that no other food can. I have been eating ramen for 30 years.
If there is no ramen, my life would be miserable.
Ten years ago, I worked as an office worker. The job was really stressful - excessive working hours, low wages, unpaid overtime work, and constantly being yelled at by my boss.
I was new and alone, no girlfriend, no friends, and felt very lonely.
My only oasis was the ramen shop near the office. For me, the ramen chef there was literally an angel. I saw a halo on his head. (No joke)
Tonkotsu shoyu ramen was my all-time favorite. He made ramen with broth chock-full of umami flavor, nice chewy handmade noodles, and tender chashu.
My greatest dream is to connect people with ramen through my blog. I want to share a lot of interesting and funny stories and ramen trivia with you.
Knowing more about ramen can help you appreciate your ramen and make it taste extra delicious."
Check out other posts here.