In Korea and Japan, people eat eggs and egg yolks in hundreds of different ways. One of my personal favorites is soy cured egg yolks!
Instead of using the whole egg, raw egg yolks are cured in a sweet and savory soy sauce mixture until they are slightly firm at the exterior. The high salt concentration in the curing solution draws water from the exterior of the egg yolk and forms a thin, intensely flavored “shell” around a ooey gooey interior.
Soy cured egg yolks are one of those meals that will have you coming back for more. This is also probably one of the simplest recipes I have made, but it’s also one I make time and time again.
When prepared in advance, this is a perfect go-to quick and easy weeknight meal. Rice is an essential accompaniment to soy cured eggs and I guarantee that you’ll need a lot of it! Whenever I make this, I go through at least two bowls of rice, even though I tell myself I won’t. It’s just THAT good.
The garnishes can be easily customized according to what you like. I personally prefer sliced scallions for some freshness and some crushed nori for an extra layer of umami flavor. You can also completely omit these two toppings and it’ll be just as delicious!
What is Soy Cured Egg Yolks?
Soy cured egg yolks are a very popular food in Korea and Japan. It is basically raw egg yolks that are cured or pickled in soy sauce, sugar, and mirin or cooking wine.
As the egg yolks sit in the soy sauce marinade, they absorb the flavors of the mixture and develop a deep yellow/orange color. After about 12 hours of marinating, the egg yolks are ready to eat! The sooner you take them out, the runnier the egg yolk will be.
If you prefer the egg yolks to have a gel-like texture, let them marinate for a few more hours or up to 48 hours. Keep in mind that the longer it marinates, the more concentrated and salty the flavors will be.
How to Make Soy Cured Egg Yolks
There are many versions of soy cured egg yolk recipes. However, my simple yet delicious recipe has more flavor dimensions and it’s insanely addicting. If this is your first time making this, follow my step-by-step guide below!
Step 1: Make the soy sauce marinade.
The very first step is to make the soy sauce marinade. Simply combine the soy sauce, mirin (substitute with cooking wine or sake), water, kelp (also known as kombu), and sugar in a pot. Stir and bring to a boil.
Simmer for about 2 minutes, and then remove from heat. Set the marinade aside and allow it to cool completely.
Step 2: Prepare the eggs.
Once you’re done making the soy sauce mixture and letting it cool, it’s time to prepare the star of the dish– the eggs!
All you need to do is to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites using your preferred method. There are kitchen tools that can help you separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, but if you don’t have those, you can simply use your hands. Just be careful not to break the egg yolks.
To separate the egg yolks by hand, start by cracking the egg into your palm. Let the egg whites drip through your fingers and into a bowl so that only the yolk remains in your hand. As you separate the yolk from the whites, place the egg yolks in a shallow container, preferably made of glass.
The size of the container depends on how many egg yolks you’re preparing. The key is to not overcrowd the container with egg yolks. They should still have enough room to move around.
Step 3: Combine the egg yolks and the soy sauce marinade.
After separating all the egg yolks from the egg whites and the soy sauce mixture has completely cooled, it’s time to combine them together.
Start by straining the kelp (kombu) from the soy sauce marinade, and then carefully pour the mixture into the container with the egg yolks. Do this slowly and avoid pouring the soy sauce marinade directly on top of the egg yolks to prevent them from breaking.
Step 4: Store in the fridge and wait at least 12 hours.
Once the eggs and soy sauce mixture have been combined, lay a sheet of paper towel on top and allow it to soak up the mixture. This will ensure that the top of the egg yolks are fully submerged for an even cure.
Next, close the container and store it in the fridge. I recommend letting it sit and cure for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours depending on how you like the egg yolks.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy!
As you wait longer, the egg yolks will have a firmer exterior and a gel-like consistency in the center. So if you love runny eggs, you can scoop them out from the marinade between 12 to 24 hours. Also, since the egg yolks will absorb the soy sauce marinade and it will become saltier the longer it sits.
When you’re ready to eat, serve your soy cured egg yolks with a bowl of fresh rice and garnish with scallions for some freshness and crushed nori for that extra umami flavor.
If done right, your egg yolks should have a nice, rich melt-in-your-mouth texture with a pleasant hint of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Give this recipe a try and enjoy it with your family or friends!
Soy Cured Egg Yolks
- 8 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup mirin or cooking wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 one-inch pieces of kelp or kombu
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Chopped scallions for garnish
- Crushed nori for garnish
- In a pot, combine soy sauce, mirin (or cooking wine), water, kelp (kombu), and sugar.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
- While the soy sauce seasoning is cooling, prepare the eggs.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Place the egg yolks in a container, preferably glass. Do not overcrowd the container – the egg yolks should have some room to move around.
- Once the soy sauce seasoning has cooled, strain the kelp (kombu).
- Carefully pour the mixture into the container with the egg yolks. Avoid pouring the mixture directly onto the egg yolks to prevent them from popping.
- Cover the container and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours. *Note: The egg yolks will form a gel-like consistency the longer they sit and cure in the soy sauce seasoning. If you prefer a runnier egg yolk, you can take it out between 12-24 hours.
- Serve with a fresh bowl of rice and your favorite toppings like scallions and nori.
- The egg yolks will form a gel-like consistency the longer they sit and cure in the soy sauce seasoning. If you prefer a runnier egg yolk, I recommend that you take it out after 12 to 24 hours. Keep in mind that the longer it marinates, the saltier the egg will be.
- Bonito flakes are a good alternative to kelp/kombu. Using a combination of both will amplify the flavor even more!
- Adjust the ratio of the ingredients according to your preference. For instance, you can add more or less sugar to adjust the sweetness.
- Since only a few ingredients are needed for this recipe, I recommend using the freshest and highest quality eggs.
Runny egg yolks with sweet and savory hints from the sauce marinade are what you’ll get from this recipe. These soy cured egg yolks are amazing especially when swirled into a fresh bowl of steamed white rice.
Other suggestions for soy cured egg yolk pairings include dressing up congee, spreading on top of toasted white bread, or as an additional topping for your avocado toast together with a bit of chili garlic. These are just a few recommendations, you can experiment with ways to use these tasty egg yolks.
Have you tried these yet? If you have, let me know how it turned out!