Tamago nigiri

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While sushi is often associated with fish, Hideki Hiwatashi's tamago nigiri recipe shows that vegetarians can also enjoy the process of making perfectly-formed nigiri. Tamagoyaki is a traditional Japanese omelette, made by creating multiple thin layers of egg – a traditional tamagoyaki pan will make this process easier, but you can use a small frying pan instead, if preferred. This recipe makes more sushi rice than is needed, but you can use any excess to make Hideki's futomaki or sabazushi.

First published in 2018
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Sushi rice (makes approx. 500g)

Sushi vinegar (for 500g cooked rice)

To serve


  • Tamagoyaki pan


To make the sushi rice, place the rice in a bowl and cover with water. Stir the rice using your fingers until the water turns a milky white colour. Drain in a colander and return the rice to the bowl. Repeat this washing and draining process four or five times, until the water is clear
At this point, place the rice in the bowl, cover with water and leave to soak for 20 minutes
Drain the rice and add to a pan with the 300ml of water and small piece of kombu. Place a lid on the pan and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and cook for another 20 minutes
While the rice is cooking, make the sushi vinegar by placing all the ingredients in a small pan and heating until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Keep the vinegar warm
When the rice is cooked, place it in a mixing bowl. While it and the sushi vinegar are still hot, add the sushi vinegar to the rice, cutting into the rice using the side of the paddle to avoid breaking too many grains
When the vinegar is incorporated, transfer the rice to a plate or tray, top with a damp sheet of kitchen paper and set aside to cool
To make the tamagoyaki, crack the eggs into a bowl and add the water, mirin, and soy sauce, whisking to combine
Add a dash of oil to the pan and place over a medium-high heat. Once hot, Add a few spoonfuls of the egg mixture, tipping the pan to create an even layer
  • 1 dash of oil
Once the layer is firm (but not completely set) carefully roll up the layer of egg using chopsticks and a flipping motion, until the omelette is fully rolled up. Spoon in more egg mixture, and once again allow to set before rolling the egg to create another layer
Repeat until you have four layers in total. It is important to leave the egg layers a little undercooked before rolling so that all the layers stick together
Transfer the omelette to a bamboo mat and form the mat around the omelette to create a nice neat shape. Allow to cool
When ready to serve, remove the tamago from the mat and cut into even slices
Moisten your hands and take a small ball of sushi rice, approximately 15g in weight
Place the ball on a slice of the omelette
Use your fingers to shape the rice into the same size as the slice of omelette. Repeat to make more nigiri
Fasten the omelette in place using a small strip of nori and serve with sushi ginger and wasabi paste
First published in 2018

With over fifteen years of rigorous Japanese culinary training behind him, Hideki Hiwatashi is well versed in the art of kaiseki cuisine.

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