Recipes for “TKG” (Raw Egg Over Rice)

Food for Thought

This is probably the most Japanese dish of all and is practically unknown outside of Japan. Because it involves a raw egg, restaurants here wouldn’t serve it, and even if they did, no customers would order it because it seems boring. Growing up in Japan, this is what I would make for myself because it’s quick and easy.

I haven’t had this since I left Japan 35 years ago. Apparently, kids now call it “TKG” for Tamago-[egg]-Kake-[over]-Gohan-[rice]. I decided to make it because I accidentally bought a $13 carton of eggs at a Japanese supermarket. If it weren’t for @smurfettekay, I would not have known that it’s for consuming raw. The package does not indicate it, probably because they cannot legally claim it.

I used two cutting-edge recipes from YouTube (here and here). Here is the first one:

Heat a bowl of cooked short-grain white rice in the microwave. It needs to be piping hot, above 90C/194F, because we want to cook the egg white with it.

  1. Separate the egg.
  2. Add the egg white, two teaspoons of olive oil, and a pinch of MSG to the rice.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Make a dent at the center and place the egg yolk.
  5. Pour one tablespoon of soy sauce.
  6. Take an Instagram photo.
  7. Mix the yolk and eat.

The second version went viral on Twitter (129K retweets and 586.5K likes).

  1. Separate the egg.
  2. Add egg white, one teaspoon of soy sauce, one teaspoon of sugar, and a pinch of powder dashi to a bowl.
  3. Mix thoroughly. (The recipe recommends a minute and 30 seconds.)
  4. Pour the liquid over cooked rice and place the egg yolk at the center.
  5. Take an Instagram photo and eat.

To develop this recipe, the inventor consumed 50 eggs. He said, towards the end, he became unable to taste eggs, so he had to enlist his friends to complete the recipe.

Both recipes were equally good. Olive oil, MSG, sugar, and powder dashi are not typically used for TKG. The traditional recipe involves only rice, egg, and soy sauce, and you would not bother separating the egg.

The Japanese cultures exported to the US are not representative of real Japan, just as the immigrants like me are not. They are what Americans wanted from Japan. If you want to taste a piece of real Japan, try these recipes.