February the 3rd is SETSUBUN, a very traditional Japanese event.
SETSUBUN literally means ”division of seasons“. It is used to mark the end of winter according to the old lunar calendar, which we don’t use any more.
However, the most of our seasonal events follow the lunar calendar, and we keep SETSUBUN as well.
On this day, we throw soy beans from inside of our houses to the outside, saying ONI HA SOTO, FUKU HA UCHI, evil out and happiness in. Usually ogres are the symbol of evil, so one of family members has to play this role, putting a mask of an ogre on the face, and be a target of throwing beans. Of course, usually fathers do this role. No question.
We throw beans at night. On the same night for the dinner, we have EHOMAKI, a big and long sushi roll. We shouldn’t cut the roll. While eating, we wish for our health and happiness, and should eat it at once without breath. We hold this sushi by both hands, and eat it as if it is a burrito.
When we eat this roll, we have to face toward the year’s lucky direction. This year the direction was South-southeast.
Eating a long sushi roll on SETSUBUN has been a KANSAI (west side of Japan) area’s long tradition, but Seven-Eleven had started this as sales promotion in 90s, then it spread quickly because Japan is a small country!
That’s why I didn’t have EHOMAKI when I was a kid. I lived in Tokyo. The first time I had EHOMAKI was when I was here in the US!
Now because I am away from my home country, I am trying to be a JAPANESE harder, so I have to make EHOMAKI like many Japanese people do!
I would like to show how to make EHOMAKI, but before that, I would write about TAMAGO YAKI, one of the ingredients of EHOMAKI.
TAMAGO YAKI is not only the stuffing for sushi roll, but this could be a dish!
We eat TAMAGO YAKI for breakfast, put it in obento, and also many IZAKAYA style restaurants offer this as appetizer.
TAMAGO YAKI is very simple and very Japanese, and everyone loves it.
Each house has its flavor, a little sweet or a little salty.
My mom makes it a little salty, so I like that way, but we could change depending on situation.
Here is how to cook TAMAGO YAKI.
Ingredients are 3 eggs, shirodashi (you could use salt instead), and oil. That’s it!
However we need special equipments. Makisu, bamboo mat, and a special pan for TAMAGO YAKI.
You could use a regular pan, but there is a pan only for TAMAGO YAKI in Japan.
I believe every mother has one in her kitchen.
My mom sent this pan for me 10 years ago, and this is not the popular style.
This is an easy TAMAGO YAKI maker, and it curves for us to roll eggs easily from one side to the other.
You have no idea what I am talking about, so I will show you.
By the way, when you cook eggs, do you take the chalaza off?
In Japan, I think many people take this, and I had been seeing my mom always taking that, so I thought it was so crucial. When I took a biology class here in the US, I learned this is not harmful at all.
I get accustomed to not taking this, but when I want eggs to finish smooth, I take it off.
Then beat the eggs. I heard that when you make omelet, we need to beat at least 80times with a fork. I do that for omelet.
You can use salt for eggs, but I used shirodashi because it has UMAMI flavor along with saltiness.
Add a just half teaspoon of shirodashi or salt.
Heat a tamago yaki pan or a regular small sized pan well with a little oil, pour about 1/4 of beaten egg to the pan, then immediately distribute it evenly.
When the most of the surface looks cooked,
roll the egg towards the other side with a spatula. Roll it until it hit the other end.
If necessary, wipe the pan with a paper towel with a little oil again, then pour another 1/4 of egg to the pan.
Here is a key. Try to pour the egg under the cooked part. That way it attaches the cooked part.
Then like the first roll, distribute the egg evenly, and when it looks cooked, roll it towards the other side, in my case, towards the right.
Then repeat the same another one or two time.
If you prefer sweet TAMAGO YAKI using some sweet agent, it easily gets burned, so do quickly.
This is going to be my 4th time roll.
When you finish rolling, put the cooked egg onto a bamboo mat.
Here the egg is a kind of cylindrical shape. You can eat as it is, just cutting into several pieces horizontally.
I want this egg to be in my long sushi roll, so I want to cut it vertically.
For that, I want it to have angles.
That’s why I need this bamboo mat!
When you make sushi rolls with this mat, this helps sushi to be round, but also this could help egg to be angular.
While the egg is still warm, make angles with this mat and leave it.
When it gets cool, I cut this vertically into 6 pieces.
I like the smell of TAMAGO YAKI.
You could put this in obento like this.
Did you get how to make TAMAGO YAKI now?
Now I could move on to the main topic, EHOMAKI!
That will be in my next article!
I am so tempted to eat this TAMAGO YAKI, though……