Fun with Japanese egg molds

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Something fun from the archives, in keeping with Easter. Incidentally, I haven’t been able to make any bentos, let alone update Just Bento this week, due to a sudden change of plans, but I’ll be back next week with frugal bento recipes and more. So until then…enjoy your weekend!

Egg molds are a fairly easy way to add some cuteness to a bento box. They are meant for kids’ bentos, but there’s nothing to stop you from using them for yourself of course. I usually can’t be bothered to make molded eggs for everyday bentos, but for picnics and parties they are quite a lot of fun.

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Egg molds are offered by various online sources such as J-List and eBay merchants (see the left sidebar for some listings), as well as at 100 yen stores. There are two types of egg molds: one has a simple clamshell shape with a fastener, and the other has a inner half-shell. You can use the latter kind without the inner half-shell too. Either way, be sure you get one that has the clamshell shape and the closing fastener - these features are what make an egg mold work properly.

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What size egg?

The three types of egg molds I have all say to use an “L” size egg. In practice, I’ve found that either an “S” or “M” size works the best for most molds, though some require an “L”. In EU terms you want to get eggs that are either in the 50g or 53g + categories. You may want to experiment with the eggs you can get locally to see what size fits best. Extra-Large and Jumbo eggs, in U.S. terms, are definitely too big though.

How to boil and prepare the eggs

Boil the eggs by putting them in cold water and bringing slowly up to a boil. Once the water is boiling, take off the heat, put on a lid and leave for 8 to 10 minutes.

It is pretty important to ensure that the egg yolk ends up in the middle of the egg, rather than leaning to one side. In order to achieve this you should roll the eggs around while the water is coming to a boil. (Note that this hands-on requirement is one reason why I rarely do this in practice for everyday bentos!)

To peel the eggs cleanly, dunk them in cold water, crack the shell over, and peel carefully. Very fresh eggs are hard to peel cleanly, but you rarely get very fresh eggs at regular supermarkets.

The egg mold instrutions call for a hot egg, which is more elastic than a cold egg, but by the time you’ve peeled the egg or several eggs, your egg is probably cold. To get around this problem, I dunk the peeled eggs in a pot of hot water to warm up, before proceeding with the molding. This method also works well if you start out with storebought hardboiled ‘picnic eggs’.

Using a simple clamshell egg mold

Make ready a bowl of cold water. Open up the mold and wet the surface just in case your egg decides to stick (though it shouldn’t).

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Put in a hot egg. The shape of the mold will guide you as to how to place the egg. Here the bunny face is wider in the bottom, so the fat end of the egg goes that way.

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Close the mold firmly - don’t hesitate or get nervous if some egg white squishes out at the sides.

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Close the fastener until it clicks. Put the whole mold in the bowl of cold water, and leave there for at least 10 minutes.

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Using a mold with an inner half-shell

If you have the type of mold with an inner half-shell, first put in the egg as with the simple clamshell type mold.

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Put the half-shell over the egg and press firmly. Close the clamshell over it and squeeze. Fasten with a click.

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Good, fixable and ugly

This is an egg that came out perfectly. This is the ideal.

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This one has some egg white bits that got squished out at the sides. You can clean the ragged bits up with a sharp knife.

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This one is a failure. It failed because the yolk was to the side of the egg. I would just chop this up as egg salad.

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Coloring eggs

If you want colored eggs that are also molded, you need to add the coloring or dye before molding them. Presuming you are using a liquid type of coloring method (such as dunking the eggs in water with dye in it), if you put the eggs in a water bath after molding, the moisture will cause the eggs to swell back up, losing the molding detail. Here’s a bowl of eggs that I tried dyeing after molding - see how they’ve gone back to their egg shape. (And yes, blue hardboiled eggs are a bad idea, aesthetically.)

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So, once you have peeled your eggs, instead of dunking them in plain hot water, put them in colored hot water until they have achieved the color you want. Then mold them as per above. The seam will show white, but the form and overall color are there.

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Here’s a plate of colored eggs. The three back ones were ‘dyed’ by rolling them around in soy sauce. The pink ones were dyed in water with ‘natural’ food coloring added. (You can also try red cabbage juice with a little lemon juice added, for an all-natural dye.)

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Personally I prefer the plain white molded eggs - if I am dyeing eggs, I’d keep them egg-shaped. It’s up to you though!

What else can you do with egg molds?

You can use them to make small onigiri, as I did for the bunny and cat shaped onigiri here. You could also use them to make chocolate molds, or form any kind of plastic or moldable material. Let your imagination run wild.

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

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Cook Eggs at a Lower Temperature

I prefer to cook eggs for an hour at a low temperature (around 158 degrees F, and definitely below 184 degrees F). The eggs are so much smoother and moister this way! See this article for an explanation: http://discovermagazine.com/2006/feb/cooking-for-eggheads/articleview?bstart:int=1&-C=

The only problem with using this method for molded eggs is that the yolk might sink to the side, and you don’t want to rotate the pot for an hour! Maybe there is a way to automatically agitate the eggs.

it does sound like the lower

it does sound like the lower temp method may cause problems with the yolk centering (as you can see in the ‘ugly’ example in the article, a non-centered yolk can lead to a mess).

What fun!

Thank you for this great article. Very informative. I will have to keep my eyes peeled for egg molds. There is an Asian mall not far from me that I remember sold lots of Japanese toys and food. I should look for molds there. Great way to make a party a little more fun, and of course, liven up lunch. I wonder if you could do marbled molded eggs. I just did a tea and spice marbled egg recipe, and it would be fun to then mold it. Thanks again for the inspiration!

Eggsellent, Smithers!

Maki: WTF!?!? These are eggmazing! Eggtastic! I’ve read something somewhere about Japanese mothers going to extremes to make insane bento boxes for their kids. This must be just one tool in their arsenal, eh? I’m going to see if I can order some off J-List. Thanks for bringing this to light!

Gee thanks Adam…I got a

Gee thanks Adam…I got a visual image of Smithers as a molded egg that I can’t get out of my mind now… :D

I usually “paint” my

I usually “paint” my molded eggs after taking them out of the mold using a little pastry brush and watered down food coloring. just a couple of swipes across the design. I like the “messy” drip effect it leaves. rather artistic! I only have the fish and car molds now, although I have used the tovolo ice cream molds as egg molds (you just need to hold em together with rubber bands, since there’s no clasps). I want to get more cute ones, some of the ones you have there I’ve never seen!

I’m on the hunt!

i have an egg mold (heart &

i have an egg mold (heart & star shaped) and have yet to use it….i would have probably tried to make it using XL eggs and ended up crying. thank you for the tips. i couldn’t read the instructions on the package anyway. just reading this post made me feel as though i made them myself! i’m exhausted.

OMGs

That has to be the cutest food ever. I may just have to pick up a couple of these.

Thanks for all the great tips

keywords

Are there any other keywords I can use to search for egg molds on Yahoo!Japan besides ゆで卵? I’m planning to buy the non-Sanrio kind with a shopping service.

ゆでたまご

ゆでたまご or ゆで卵 would be the most appropriate I guess - you can try searching within the ‘kitchen and tableware’ category - link

(here is a direct link with the search term ゆでたまご: link)

Thanks for the tutorial

Hi Maki,

Before I saw your tutorial on egg molds, I had found pics of the finished egg products online and was really intrigued on how it was done. Finally got my hands on some egg molds (3 of them, one is like a moon cake/flower shape, another is the ice cream cone and the third one looks like an onigiri). I tried making them today (2 of them only) and they came out perfect. I did the trick about turning the eggs while cooking. I didn’t twirl them that often but the yolk stayed in the middle. Those eggs looked so CUTE. I was really happy and gushing like a little kid. Thanks.

molds

1) after i mold it everything is perfect but when i take it out of the refrigerator the lines are not as deep as before it looks like i never molded the egg. why is that.

2) should i use a smaller egg becuase i used jumbo?

3) or does it change becuase i put it in the refrigerator again. should I just leave it out?

If you leave the eggs around

If you leave the eggs around for awhile, especially in a cold environment, the egg wants to bounce back to its original form. That’s why you need to make the egg in the morning really to have nicely shaped ones at lunchtime. (a bit of a pain, i know)

If you only want a few eggs...

… perhaps a good solution to your problem would be to leave the egg in the egg mold and store it in the refrigerator until you’re reading to pack/eat it. I don’t know if it’ll stick -it’s just an idea. Of course the idea is problematic if you want more eggs than you have molds, but if it’s just yourself or a few kids that you’re making them for, it doesn’t seem like there’d be a problem, especially if your arsenal consists of 4-6 molds.

I don’t much care for plain hardboiled eggs so I’m thinking star-shaped deviled eggs would be tasty.

directions correct?

tell me if i did something wrong. its not defined really.

1) after the eggs come up to a boil turn it off

2) run the eggs through water to keep from burning fingers keep them warm while you peel them

3) put peeled eggs in the molds and put the molds in cold water for 30 minutes?

Re: directions correct?

Yes that should do it. Be sure your eggs are big enough too - they should be big enough that when you squeeze the molds shut, you're almost afraid you're going to smush the eggs. If the egg is too small, the mold parts won't press hard enough into the surface.

Great Source

By the way… a good source for demos is http://bentotv.com . Some stuff is kind of like “well, duh!” (decorating a mayonnaise container with stickers, for example) but if you’re interested in exploring bento accessories, tools and how-to’s, it’s pretty good.

The girl has her own eBay store so that you can buy most of what’s demonstrated. But as with any shopping you do, you should consider more than one source and be critical: Some of those “Nori punches” look an awful lot like paper punches, don’t ya think?

Egg molds...

I just ordered a bunch of the egg molds from ichibankanusa.com—it is the cheapest place I have found to buy them (only $1.50 per pair!). In the past they have been out of stock for a bunch of their egg molds but they seem to be well stocked right now (mid Dec 2008). I can’t wait to get them!

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

This is a followup to my last comment.... I did get the egg molds and I love them! I ordered 6 shapes, and 4 of them turned out great (the fish, car, rabbit, and pig). However, the star and heart shaped ones didn't do very well--they are so non egg-shaped to start that I found those molds to not do as well as the other ones. Just a tip for people thinking of buying some!

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

USA readers may find that new eggs are frequently too fresh to peel well. I make the shoyu tamago you talked about a while back nearly daily since that post, and the eggs I can get don't peel well until they're less than a week from their "best by" date. They're nice for about a week after the "best by" date, then they start getting the "old egg" sulphuring around the edges of the yolk. Must be mutant chickens...

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

enjoyed this post on egg moulds. find the tip about rolling eggs in water interesting! tks for sharing this.

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

I used your Shoyu-Tomago recipe with the car and fish egg molds. It was a huge hit in my son's bento!

Arigatou gozaimasu!

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

hey maki where did you get the onigiri shaped egg mold?

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to say that the once or twice I colored the egg(s), I molded them, colored them, and then put them back in the molds in the fridge or just on the counter while I did the rest of the bento - My hubby said the egg shape held up perfectly until he ate lunch the next day :) I also store any extra eggs I do (usually just one extra specifically for the next day) in the mold - after soaking in ice water. I find that still soaking them in ice water leaves them moist around the egg so they don't stick to the mold after a day in the fridge :) Also , I found that the heart and star set needs a bigger egg to fill the mold - unfortunately, it seems like somewhere between a L and XL egg works best...

colored eggs?

can you see more of the detailes like eyes and smile if you used food coloring? or will it look the same plain?

Re: colored eggs?

To my eyes anyway, colored eggs have the same or slightly less level of detail vs. uncolored.

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

Just wondering where you got the Ice Cream shape egg mold. I have other 4, the bear, car, rabbit and fish from Ichibancan.

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

I don't remember...though I think it came in a set with the onigiri one. Probably at Daiso.

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

I dont eat eggs but am really getting into bento. Do you know if its possible to mold tofu in the same way? I need to come up with high protein solutions for my bento boxes! what do you think??

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

You'd have to press out a lot of the water out of tofu for it to hold its shape, and it would be a very dense mass. I have not tried it, but you could experiment.

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

Tofu is awfully soft. You might do better to use a cookie cutter on firm tofu slices.

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

Hello! I've only discovered this site today, and I really adore it. ^_^ I feel like I can make really cute lunches now! I was also wondering... I'm about to buy those egg molds (the bunny, bear, car, and a fishy one) on amazon primarily because I thought I could use them to shape my onigiri. Is using an egg mold to shape onigiri an okay thing to do? I don't see why not, but since you're much of an expert than I, I'd like to get your advice on it before I buy the molds. :)

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

Sure, I don't see why you couldn't use the egg molds for onigiri or anything else that you want. I have even seen people use them for making molded chocolates.

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

Whew, that's good. Thanks again for this wonderful site! I hope you don't mind me asking questions here and there if ever I need advice for my bento lunches... >.<

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

thank you so much for this article! I couldn't read the Japanese instructions on the back of the package of the molds and this post showed me how to do it!Yey! :)

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

Thanks for the cool article on the eggs. I've been looking for a way to make star shaped eggs for my Super Mario Party. My idea is I want to have some of the food shaped like things in the video game. I searched for molding eggs and found out tons from here.... looks like I can order egg shaped molds and I'll have my 'star' food!

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

Thank you for posting this! Very helpful, and thanks for the red cabbage dye tip, will definitely keep that in mind

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

I wasn't able to boil eggs when I moved to my new house. It must have been something with the water. It looked as though I had peeled the eggs with a pickax. I found that the peels came off like a dream if I put a tablespoon of baking soda in the water before boiling.

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

of those are for bentos how is it hardboiled eggs keep?i wouldent want it going bad. but its so adorable

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

will the eggs go bad in a bento? that would be depresing at lunchtime

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

This is so much fun! We are super new to this bento thing but I am super excited, we make a lot of eggs since we have chickens, my daughter is starting pre-school and will love these!

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

So THAT'S how you make those eggs! :D I saw the picture at this new Japanese store and thought "wow, that's sooo cute!". But when I tried it for myself, I made the mistake of using a raw egg and trying to boil it inside..... failed miserably. Thanks to your instructions, there's new hope for my egg molds! (I have a fish and car one)

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

I have followed your instructions twice and both times my eggs peeled horribly. Literally chunks of the egg come off with the shell. I have made a total of 9 eggs and only 1 peeled cleanly. What am I doing wrong? I know that really fresh eggs are said to not peel well, but mine aren't super fresh. I bought them at a normal grocery store and they have been in my own refrigerator for about a week.

Re: Fun with Japanese egg molds

I've found that running the egg under warm or hot water while you peel it tends to work nicely.

They also sell pre-boiled eggs at some supermarkets, if you want to skip the boiling-and-peeling step altogether. It's more expensive than doing it yourself, though.

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