Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich or Tamago Sando, is a simple, yet elegant egg sandwich. This popular Japanese recipe contains very few ingredients, yet makes a special, soul-satisfying snack or lunch with a unique flavour you won’t soon forget.
Eggs are a unique and perfect ingredient. You can dress them up, use them in a recipe to add texture and flavour, or serve them on their own with very few additional ingredients. Simple recipes like Sous Vide Egg Bites and Classic Pickled Eggs allow the egg to the be the star of the show, while highlighting its versatility.
Disclosure: This post is made possible by Egg Farmers of Alberta. All opinions and experiences are my own.
Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich (Tamago Sando)
One look at this simple Japanese sandwich might leave you wondering why it is so special. However, behind that crust-less, mashed-egg appearance lies a culinary marvel. Let that sink in. A sandwich that you can get at any convenience store in Japan is among one of the most enlightening culinary epiphanies you can have.
The beginning of this transformational egg sandwich experience starts with the bread. It is light, it is airy and when you eat shokupan bread, it is like eating clouds amongst the gods. Too far? I think not, especially when I’m waxing poetic about egg salad sandwiches.
Beyond the bread, lies a sea of dreamy egg salad filling accented with the creamy, slightly tangy flavour of Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise, a seasoning of salt and just a touch of sugar. Like an angel’s kiss, you don’t even know it’s there.
What is a Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich?
It’s hard to believe that something so simple can be so perfect, yet here we are. The Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich, or Tamago Sando, is a marvel to (be)hold. But what is a Tamago (the Japanese word for egg) Sando (a shortened version of Sandoitchi, the Japanese world for sandwich) and why is it so special?
It is essentially, hard boiled eggs, simply seasoned then mixed with Japanese style Kewpie mayonnaise and served between two crust-less slices of sweet milk bread. The bulk of the magic lies in the creamy texture supplied by the rich yolk mixture dotted with little bits of chopped egg white.
The dreamy texture of the egg salad filling carries forward into the light texture of the shokupan milk bread. It’s love at first bite when you bite into the tender bread, unhindered by crusts, of this decadent sandwich.
What is the Difference Between American and Japanese Egg Sandwich?
The primary differences between American style and Japanese style egg salad sandwiches lies in the ingredients.
American egg salad is served (sometimes accompanied by lettuce) on regular sandwich bread, fresh baked buns, or even in croissants. It consists of mashed hard-boiled eggs combined with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and sometimes paprika and chopped green onions.
Japanese egg salad contains very few but very specific ingredients. Hard boiled eggs are separated into yolks and whites, and both are prepared separately. The light seasoning of salt and sugar goes into the Kewpie mayonnaise whipped yolks just before the diced whites are folded in.
Finally, Japanese egg salad is served only on Japanese milk bread, or shokupan, for the ultimate sandwich experience.
Key Ingredients for Japanese Egg Sandwich
Let’s explore the key ingredients for this recipe. Besides the eggs, the two most important ingredients are shokupan milk bread and Kewpie mayonnaise. Both are specialty ingredients you can find at most Asian supermarkets. Other ingredients are salt and pepper and sometimes a bit of milk or cream.
That said, you may have to go to a Japanese bakery to source this special bread. If you can’t find milk bread at all, use brioche bread and forgo the added sugar. Don’t forget to cut the crusts cut off!
Kewpie Japanese Mayonnaise
Kewpie is a Japanese brand of mayonnaise known for its umami rich flavour and creamy texture. Unlike American style whole egg mayonnaise, it contains only egg yolks and a unique blend of vinegars, salt, and vegetable oils. While true Japanese kewpie contains MSG, the product exported to America does not.
You will find Kewpie mayonnaise in a variety of Japanese and Asian dishes, including egg and potato salad, coleslaw, chicken salad and as a drizzle on top of sushi, karaage, takoyaki, okinomiyaki, and other Japanese dishes.
Shokupan Japanese Milk Bread
Japanese milk bread, or shokupan is a light textured Japanese bread used primarily to make egg salad (tamago sando), fried pork cutlets (katsu sando) and creamy fruit filled sandwiches. Though it is not a ‘traditional’ Japanese food, this post WWII food staple quickly became a beloved food item in Japan.
Shokupan has a sweet flavour and fluffy cloud-like texture (known as fuwa fuwa in Japan). While it contains the usual bread ingredients: flour, whole milk, butter, yeast, salt, sugar and often eggs, it is the tangzhong baking technique that creates the unique texture.
For the non-bakers out there… the bread is made with a tangzhong or cooked roux which is allowed to cool, then mixed into the dough. This gives the dough a unique sticky texture and helps extend the shelf life of the bread.
How to make a Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich
Though this appears to be an easy egg sandwich recipe, the key to making the perfect Japanese sandwich is in the details. In addition to a few key Japanese ingredients, the unique creamy texture is the result of a unique technique.
While it is easiest to mash the boiled eggs and mayonnaise together then call it a day, we’re going to dive a little deeper into the method that makes these the king of egg salad sandwiches.
The first step is to make the hard-boiled eggs. Feel free to insert your own method here, however, keep in mind that the eggs for this recipe should be fully cooked, yet have yolks that still retain a smooth, not chalky texture.
Boiling the Eggs – Stove Top Method
Hard boiling an egg might seem easy, however there are a few key factors to consider to achieve boiled egg perfection. For this stove top method, start with cold eggs right from the fridge. Place the cold eggs in a medium saucepan and cover completely with warm water.
Next, bring the eggs to a rolling boil then quickly turn the heat down so they cook at a gentle simmer. Listen for the intensity of the boil and if you can hear the eggs bouncing, turn them down. Boil the eggs for 10 minutes. Note that this time may vary according to altitude.
Once the eggs are done cooking, immediately drain off the boiling water and plunge the eggs into a boil of ice water. Allow them to cool for 15 minutes before peeling.
Peeling the Eggs
Everyone has their own method for peeling eggs. Sometimes I crack mine slightly after 5 minutes wait time, then leave them to sit in the cold water for the remaining 10 minutes. Other times, I crack then peel them under running water. Feel free to choose your own method to peel the eggs.
Preparing the Egg Salad
Now, for the magic. We’re going to separate the yolks from the whites and whip them with the Kewpie Mayonnaise and some seasoning. It’s actually very similar to making the yolk filling for deviled eggs. In fact, I highly encourage you to make Japanese style deviled eggs using this technique!
Next, chop up the cooked egg whites into small cubes and fold them into the creamy yolk mixture. That’s it! It’s not difficult but it makes a huge difference in the texture of this sandwich.
Assemble the Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich
Lay four slices of shokupan bread on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice off the bread crusts. Do not throw them away! Simply dry them out for a few days then process them into breadcrumbs.
Next, butter the bread with soft salted butter and spread a thick layer of egg salad onto two of the bread slices. Top with the remaining buttered bread slices and use a sharp knife to slice the sandwiches diagonally. Enjoy!
How to Store Japanese Egg Sandwich
Store egg sandwiches in the fridge at all times. However, if you make them fresh in the morning, it can last 4-5 hours at room temperature. When properly stored between 35° – 40°F (1.7° – 4° C), egg salad will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Hi! I’m Bernice Hill, the sole recipe developer, photographer, and writer at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen. It is my pleasure to share easy to follow recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and approachable for the whole family.
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- 6 large eggs (plus two more if you want to add a soft boiled egg for each sandwich)
- 4 Tablespoons Kewpie Mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- 4 slices skokupan bread
- salted butter for the bread
- Place the cold eggs in a medium saucepan and cover completely with warm water.
- Next, bring the eggs to a rolling boil then quickly turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Simmer the eggs for 10 minutes.* The aim is to hard boil the eggs but leave the yolks smooth, not dry and gritty.
- Once the eggs are done cooking, quickly remove from the boiling water and plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water.
- Crack eggs slightly after 5 minutes wait time, then leave them to sit in the cold water for the remaining 10 minutes. Or crack then peel the cold eggs under running water.**
- Separate the yolks from the whites and whip the yolks with the Kewpie mayonnaise, salt, sugar, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper for seasoning.
- Chop the cooked egg whites into small cubes and fold them into the creamy yolk mixture.
- Lay four slices of shokupan bread on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice off the bread crusts.***
- Next, butter the bread with soft salted butter and spread a thick layer of egg salad onto two of the bread slices. If you are adding a soft boiled egg for each sandwich, spread a thin layer on each side, slice the egg in half and place in the middle of one slice of bread. Top with the other slice.
- Top with the remaining buttered bread slices and use a sharp knife to slice the sandwiches diagonally. Umai!
* Note that this time may vary according to altitude.
**Feel free to choose your own method to hard boil and peel the eggs.
***Dry discarded crusts for a few days then process them into breadcrumbs.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 661Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 585mgSodium: 1338mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 26g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.