Vegan Tamago Kake Gohan (egg over rice)— a traditional Japanese dish but made with a vegan egg yolk and Japanese mountain yam! Learn how to make the best vegan egg yolk with carrots and a little science!
Say hello to the ultimate vegan egg yolk!! I’ve been tacking this vegan egg yolk for quite some time now and I’m so excited to finally share a recipe that not only looks like a egg yolk, but also has a very similar and flavour to it too.
Eggs are a staple in Japanese cuisine, you’ll notice a lot of dishes and meals topped with a raw egg. In Japan, the eggs look quite different where the colour is a lot more of a vibrant rich orange.
I saw this video by Insider where Crossroads Kitchen uses a spherification techqniue to make vegan egg yolks out of tomatoes. I’ve heard of spherification before and remember a class back in highschool where we made fruit juice caviar bubbles, but have never done it by myself so wanted to experiment with it.
I first started by using reverse spherification since that is what seemed to be the most popular and successful as seen in the video. I made a simple mixture of kabocha puree, nutritional yeast and black salt. Honestly? It wasn’t that successful. The egg yolks were oddly shaped and found the process to be way too messy, lengthy and tedious. I then looked into direct spherification that I’ve seen used to make vegan caviar and cod roe.
I came across this video by Chef Steps that I found super helpful. From there, I basically made a standard egg-yolk tasting like puree again and added in the sodium alginate. Plopped it into a calcium bath and out came pretty well formed vibrant orange egg yolk reminiscent of the ones in Japan!
The MAIN reason why I wanted to come up with a egg yolk that actually holds up and isn’t cooked is to make tamago kake gohan- a breakfast staple I used to love. Tamago kake gohan is simply raw eggs over rice. Sounds so strange but the eggs in Japan are creamy, almost buttery so it doesn’t have a strong ‘yolk’ flavour to it at all! It’s kinda of like buttery creamy rice porridge with a slightly slimy texture, so if you enjoy natto rice I think you’ll love this!
The Eggsperimentation (Trial & Errors)
Egg yolk flavour & texture
Trying to achieve the perfect vegan egg yolk is probably my most tested recipe. While I’m very happy with this recipe, I think, this will be a one of those recipes that will be evolving as I continue to experiment.
- After committing to the direct spherification method (which I find much easier and fun to do), I needed to come up with a yolk that not only had the colour of a yolk, but also tasted and mimiced the texture of it too.
- I first tried it with tomatoes, similar to the one from Food Insider’s video but it came out quite red-tinted in colour (obviously) and it was slightly gritty due to the skin and seeds. However, I think orange or yellow tomatoes would much better in terms of looks (I do recommend using the flesh part only). I also noticed that the tomato alone was almost TOO fragile where some of them bursted when trying to scoop them up.
- Next, I tried a combination of tomatoes and regular potatoes to make the texture thicker. I loved the flavour but the colour was very off… almost pink-toned.
- The third test was with kabocha squash, which is another popular ingredient used for vegan egg yolks. Personally, this was my favourite. Smooth buttery texture, not too sweet, bright and rich in colour. I could have stopped there but I also wanted to try carrots and sweet potatoes since they’re also both orange root vegetables.
- I enjoyed the carrot variation, so I think if you don’t have kabocha on hand carrots would be the next best choice. Sweet potatoes were a tad too sweet for my liking but still works!
- Lastly, I wanted to make a yolk a little less orange to mimic North American egg yolks that are more yellow in colour so combined potatoes and turmeric and while a little light in colour, it was smooth and buttery in texture which I loved. I couldn’t find yellow carrots but I think that would work really well too!
Molding a round yolk
After achieving a egg yolk flavour and texture, the next thing I had to tackle was forming a round yolk. This was probably the most challenging part.
- I first started by just dropping the mixture into the calcium chloride bath. As you can see in the photo, it does not come out perfectly round. If you’re not too keen on making a round yolk then this method is totally find to use.
- The second method I tested was using a spoon. I dipped the spoon in the calcium chloride solution, added some of the yolk mixture on the spoon and slowly sunk it into the calcium chloride bath. This method sometimes worked and sometimes stuck to the spoon, causing it to break or deform.
- The third method I tried was using a tea strainer. With the spoon method, it was the spots where there was no CaCl barrier between the spoon and then yolk that caused it to break so was looking through kitchen tools online for a small slotted spoon. Then I came across a tea strainer and a light bulb went off in my head. I had a few of those already on hand so tested it out and eureka!!! It worked amazingly perfect. So much easier, so much rounder and I was literally jumping with a yolk in my hand (🤣).
- I also tested this with a regular strainer / sieve to see if it would work and while it does, you can see the yolk is a lot flatter and doesn’t really have as nice of a round shape in comparison to the tea strainer.
- Lastly, I attempted to use a bowl by adding some calcium chloride solution to a bowl and then adding some of the egg yolk mixture in and then topping it with more calcium chloride solution. This method, in my opinion was the most difficult and sometimes causes the yolk to break.
How to Make Vegan Egg Yolk
For the vegan egg yolks you’ll need:
- Orange/Yellow Root Vegetable
- Kabocha: My personal favourite. Not too sweet, bright and rich in colour and the texture is velvety smooth.
- Carrots: My second favourite choice especially when I want a rich orange Japanese egg-yolk like colour. The texture is slightly more ‘puree’ like in comparison to kabocha.
- Sweet Potato: Beautiful rich orange colour but the flavour is definitely on the sweeter side.
- Tomatoes + regular potato: I do recommend using orange or yellow tomatoes as the red tomatoes made the mixture slightly on the pink-tone side. However, I did find the texture of this combination to yield the runny-est yolk.
- Regular Potato + turmeric: This combination yields a typical yellow yolk (slightly on the lighter side). You can also add a bit of an orange starch to make it darker in colour.
- Black salt: Adds the egg-yolk flavour.
- Nutritional Yeast: for flavour.
- Miso paste: for flavour.
- Olive oil: Gives it that buttery yolk-y texture.
- Sodium Alginate: Added to the puree so that when it hits the calcium chloride solution, it will react with the calcium ion and form a ‘membrane’ will form around it.
- Calcium Chloride: You can also use calcium lactate but because it has half the concentration of calcium chloride, you must use double the amount.
- Distilled Water: Used for both the puree and the calcium chloride solution. I tried using a non-dairy milk to make it creamier but found the yolks to not hold up as well where the membrane was too fragile to pick up (perhaps the excess calcium in the milks). I’ve also used filtered water but if this is your first time, I highly recommend using distilled water just incase there is some leftover calcium.
You can also add a bit of additional salt and a touch of mustard powder or paprika for more flavour.
To make Vegan Tamago Kake Gohan you’ll also need some nagaimo and vegan mentsuyu or soy sauce.
There are several methods to make vegan eggs using spherification but I’ve found the direct spherification method the quickest, easiest and least messy. Here’s a rundown of how it’s done:
- Make the yolk puree: blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender until completely smooth.
- Make the calcium chloride solution: completely dissolve the calcium chloride in distilled water and prepare another bowl of just plain room temperature water.
- Make the yolks: dip a small tea strainer or sieve in the calcium chloride solution (this prevents the yolk from sticking to the strainer). I do prefer the tea strainer because the yolks come out more round in shape. Place about one tablespoon of the puree in the strainer and slowly sink it into the calcium chloride solution. It will begin to float off of the strainer and then carefully remove the strainer from underneath. Let the yolk sit in the solution for at least 1 1/2 minutes.
- Store the yolks: Then carefully remove the yolks with your hand and place into the bowl of regular water. Repeat for remaining puree (the recipe makes about 8-10). Keep the yolks in the water until ready to use.
How to Serve Tamago Kake Gohan
Grate the nagaimo until smooth and slimy (similarily to egg whites!!) and then pour it over fresh cooked rice. Top with a vegan egg yolk. TKG is typically served just with eggs and a bit of soy sauce or mentsuyu but you can jazz it up with more toppings and flavours! Here are some suggestions:
- sesame oil
- sesame seeds
- pickled vegetables
- pickled ginger
- miso chili oil (or your favourite chili oil)
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
If you recreate this Vegan Tamago Kake Gohan recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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Vegan ‘Egg Yolk’
- 2/3 scant cup of chopped cooked orange/yellow root vegetable of choice* (75g)
- 1/4 tsp black salt (1.8g)
- 3/4 tsp nutritional yeast (2.4g)
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil (8ml)
- 1/2 tsp miso paste (3g)
- 1/3 cup water (80ml)
- 0.75g sodium alginate
- 7.5g calcium chloride
- 3 cups distilled water (750ml)
- 1/4 tsp salt, to taste (1.4g)
- Optional spices: pinch of mustard powder and/or paprika
- 1/4 cup neutral oil, for coating and storing
Tamago Kake Gohan
- 50g nagaimo (Japanese mountain yam)
- 1 vegan egg yolk
- 1–2 tsp vegan mentsuyu (or soy sauce)
Vegan ‘Egg Yolk’
- Weigh all the ingredients out. Add all the ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Prepare one large bowl of about 3 cups of regular water. Dissolve the calcium chloride into the distilled water.
- Take a small tea strainer or sieve and dunk it into the calcium chloride water. Add about 1 heaping tablespoon of the egg yolk mixture and form a circle. Slowly lower it into the calcium chloride water until the yolk begins to float. Let it sit in the calcium chloride bath for at least 1 1/2 minutes. Repeat until all the egg yolk mixture if gone (you should get about 8-10).
- Use your hands to carefully remove it and place into the bowl with regular water.
- If keeping the yolks for longer, store in neutral oil. I like to brush my yolks with a little neutral oil to get it glossy like real eggs! Serve and enjoy.
Tamago Kake Gohan
- Use a oroshi grater to grate the nagaimo. Place it over a bed of hot rice and then add one vegan egg yolk on top. Drizzle with some mentsuyu, soy sauce and/or sesame oil. Garnish with your choice of toppings and enjoy!
- *When making Japanese style eggs that are richer in colour, I use carrots or a dark coloured kabocha squash. You can also use sweet potatoes but please keep in mind that the yolk does turn out slightly sweeter. If you prefer a lighter colour yolk, you can use regular potatoes + turmeric for colour or yellow carrots. You can also combine half regular potatoes and the flesh of red tomatoes. I have not tried corn but when I do I’ll be sure to update the recipe!
- The ratio of sodium alginate to water should be 1%.
- Helpful Equipment: precision scale, small sauce high speed blender, small tea sifter, mixing bowls, whisk
- Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer) for 8 yolks.
- Recipe Inspired by Crossroad Kitchen (Video by Insider) and technique learned by Chef Steps
- Category: breakfast
- Method: spherification
- Cuisine: vegan, japanese
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 4.8
- Sugar: 0.44g
- Sodium: 153.91
- Fat: 0.03g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 0.9g
- Fiber: 0.33g
- Protein: 0.22g
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: vegan egg, vegan egg yolk
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