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Egg Tofu Is The Steamed Japanese Food With A Misleading Name

Japanese egg tofu
Japanese egg tofu - decoplus/Shutterstock

Japan is fascinated with eggs — for breakfast, it's commonplace to find a raw egg cracked into rice or egg sushi on a sushi conveyor belt. Since all versions in Japan are pasteurized, it is safe to eat raw eggs in Japan. In Tokyo, you can even find egg buffets, along with a plethora of delicious dishes. However, one popular meal has a misleading name, egg tofu or tamago tofu. It's a steamed dish made with eggs, a liquid like soy milk, cream, or broth like dashi, and usually contains no tofu.

So then, why is it called egg tofu? There are a few reasons for this food's name. One of the common ingredients in it is soy milk, which is also an ingredient in tofu. Another reason is that this dish resembles tofu in terms of its texture and sometimes shape. Egg tofu is soft, silken, and jiggly, just like soft or silken tofu. Finally, it's often steamed in square or rectangular dishes or cut into block or cube shapes to resemble real tofu.

In Japan, you would enjoy egg tofu chilled and served with sauces like soy sauce. It is a common appetizer in izakayas and the Japanese food scene. You can also find versions that are packaged in single-use containers with sauce and ready for consumption in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores.

Read more: Hacks That Will Make Boiling Your Eggs So Much Easier

Egg Tofu And Steamed Egg Dishes Are Popular Across East Asia

Chinese egg tofu
Chinese egg tofu - Amarita/Getty Images

You can find many steamed egg dishes across Asia, especially in East Asia. The Chinese sell a version of egg tofu packaged in a tube. Instead of eating it cold and served with sauce, you would cut the tube into slices, then steam, deep fry, or pan-fry it with other ingredients. Store-brought Chinese egg tofu is also perfect for making an easy and delicious braised tofu dish served in a clay pot or as a side dish.

Japanese egg tofu is not to be confused with chawanmushi (Japanese dashi egg custard) that's often steamed with other ingredients like seafood and mushrooms and served either hot or cold. Chawanmushi is often meant as a single portion serving for individuals to enjoy before the entree comes.

There are also many different types of steamed dishes, made similarly to egg tofu, by mixing eggs with seasonings and a liquid like soy milk, broth, or cream. In South Korea, you have gyeranjjim, Korean steamed eggs cooked and served in an earthenware bowl. The Chinese make a smooth and comforting custardy steamed meal resembling silken tofu, often served hot over rice. With all these dishes, while tofu can be a component, eggs are always the star of the show.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.