Daddy’s snack: tamago kake gohan

Comfort food

This is a dish I learned to make from my father.

There aren’t many foods I’ve inherited from my father, mostly because he rarely ever cooks anything, being the macho guy he is. He can make a good ramen, and he can make a good “dahl-gyahl bap” (egg with rice) or “tamago kake gohan.” Growing up with this dish, I always thought it was my dad’s idiosyncratic concoction (maybe he learned it in the army?  or some desperate night as a bachelor with only rice and eggs on hand?)–only recently did I learn that it is a common dish in Japan, often eaten for breakfast.

My dad taught me that a good meal was just a bowl of rice, a raw egg, and a dash of soy sauce away.

We would eat it with a side of kimchi, the spicy pickled cabbage acting as a lively foil to the mellow, creamy rice mixture. Each grain of rice would glisten with the egg, and the soy sauce would add a caramel color. It might seem odd to you (particularly the raw egg), but this is such a wholly comforting dish–and it’s still something I eat when I’m eating alone at home and need a quick bite.

And if you keep rice on hand at all times, such as in a rice cooker–you needn’t turn the stove on at all for a warm and hearty meal.

12 responses to “Daddy’s snack: tamago kake gohan

  1. I’ve always made that and never knew the name was tamago kake gohan. Aren’t Dads great!

  2. yum! my friend leilani eats that too–but she adds bonito flakes and an umeboshi fermented salted plum. heaven!

  3. I always say that everything is better with an egg on top, but this takes the cake in its simplicity! I’ll have to give it a try soon.

  4. melanie: yup–who knew? i wonder if there’s a formal name for it outside of Japan, though.

    novella: bonito flakes sounds like a super tasty addition. I have some in my pantry, and will try it next time! (If I want to get “fancy” I usually mix kimchi straight into it).

    Chuck: i hope you enjoy it.

  5. Oh man, this has always been a quick ‘snack’ meal in my household, except we usually mix in a slice or two of ‘plastic’ (that presliced sandwich cheese slices) cheese into the hot rice before adding the egg and soy sauce 😀

  6. Ellie: interesting–cheese! I had cheese in hot rice once, in Japan (there was a place that offered “cheese bibimbap”).

  7. I grew up with this too! Although we later ended up frying the egg which I liked even better.

  8. my dad TOTALLY did this and/or a can of tuna fried w/ gochujjang as a side dish whenever my mom was out of town. i remember being made fun of when one of my friends saw me eating this one day after school…oh the shame! but yes, i’m a raw egg-eater now, loud and proud. i suspected it was an “army recipe” my dad picked up too!

  9. I completely forgot about this dish, but my dad showed me how to make it when I was a kid too. He said to start with really hot rice so the egg cooked a tiny bit.

    I never would have guessed how universal this was.

  10. This was my all time favorite meal as a kid. Except I grew up calling it gyuran bap/egg bap. And I thought it was a random mishmosh all this time.

  11. OMG! I thought this was just some conconction my family had come up with on their own! anyway yeah this has to be one of my comfort foods as well…mmm I love how the hot rice would slowly cook the raw egg….anyway I love your blog!

  12. Thank you for posting this, I was a bit hesitant about the raw egg but I used 2 quail eggs instead and it is fantastic! I love the creaminess that the eggs add. Oh, and I added some fresh herbs for some additional flavor!

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