Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

tamago_takarabukuro1.jpg

Takarabukuro (宝袋) is a treasure bag. In food terms, it’s a small parcel that is cooked in a fried tofu skin (aburaage 油揚げ)bag - the one that’s used for inarizushi. Here an egg is dropped gently into the bag, and then poached - so, an egg in a treasure bag! It is delicious hot or cold, and is very nice in a bento box as a main or secondary protein.

Rather than starting with a whole aburaage, I cheated a bit and used a pre-cooked inarizushi bag. (Here is how to cook your own inarizushi bags or skins.) I do usually have some aburaage in the freezer these days, but when I first came to live in Switzerland I found them very hard to find. On the other hand I could find canned or vacuum packed inarizushi skins even at generic gourmet food shops! I am guessing this is because aburaage has to be kept frozen or used right away, while cans and vacuum packs are easier to stock. In any case I’ve given instructions for using the premade inarizushi skins as well as uncooked aburaage.

Recipe: Eggs in treasure bags

  • For each egg, you will need 1/2 of an uncooked aburaage or 1 precut inarizushi skin.
  • You’ll also need a strip of green onion, or a parsley or mitsuba stalk that has been blanched in hot water to make it limp and pliable. I used a thin green onion here.

For the poaching liquid, which can cook 4-6 egg-bags at a time:

  • 2 cups of dashi stock (traditional or vegan, or 1 tsp. of dashi granules per cup of water)
  • 1-2 Tbs. mirin (less if you are using inarizushi skins, more if you are starting with uncooked aburaage)
  • 2-3 Tbs. soy sauce (less if you are using inarizushi skins, more if you are starting with uncooked aburaage)
  • 1 medium carrot (optional) or other hard vegetables

Peel the carrot and cut up. Bring the poaching liquid ingredients together in a pan and bring up to a simmer.

If you are using aburaage, pour boiling water over them and leave until cool enough to handle. Drain well, roll over with a round chopstick to loosen them up, cut in half and carefully separate open up into a bag. Or, cook a batch of inarizushi skins, and use some for these eggs and keep the rest for inarizushi later!

If you are starting with inarizushi skins, that work has been done for you! This is the one I started with.

ajitsuke_inari.jpg

Open up one inarizushi skin bag or aburaage bag, and stand it up in a small cup. Break an egg and carefully slip the contents into the bag.

takarabukuro_step1.jpg

This is the most fiddly part. Tie the open mouth of the bag shut with the green onion strip or the parsley stalk. You can also skewer it shut with a cocktail stick. You don’t have to worry about making it airtight, just closed enough so the egg doesn’t float out.

takarabukuro_step2.jpg

Put the bags carefully in the simmering water - lower the heat if it’s bubbling too hard. Poach for 10-15 minutes until the bags feel a bit firm if you poke them lightly, and the carrots are cooked. (You can put daikon radish, or turnips, or potatoes, or any long-cooking hard vegetable in here and cook them with the bags.)

When the bags are cooked, they’ll look like this.

takarabukuro_step3.jpg

You can cook them in advance and store them in the refrigerator in the poaching liquid. They’ll keep for a couple of days. You can put them in your bento as whole bags, or cut in half to reveal the egg inside.

The egg will have absorbed a lot of flavor from the poaching liquid, but if you find it too bland you can pack a small bottle of soy sauce to drizzle on it.

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Too cute

I love the treasure bag eggs. I just recently bumped into your website and it has quickly become one of my daily favorite treats on the web.

inarizushi with baked eggs

Wow. I will have to give this a try. A few months I was playing around and did a version of this, only I baked the eggs instead of poaching. They were fun but I didn’t think about closing the top.

Made this last night for

Made this last night for dinner…they were delicious! I didn’t have any dashi, so I just used some chicken soup from stock cubes wit some vegetables in them. The soup flavor penetrated into the egg! I’ll definitely try this again, for bento also! Thank you for the recipe!

Those are beautiful! I can

Those are beautiful! I can imagine making them for a dinner party or something, I’m sure the guests would be wowed :)

What section?

Thanks for the tutorial. I would love to make these, but I’m not sure where I would find the tofu bags in my local Japanese grocery. I looked last weekend but couldn’t track them down. What asile do you think I should look on?

There are several kinds...

You can find pre-made inarizushi skins in canned form in the canned food section. (That’s the most common kind, though the canned skins are a bit on the small side usualy, so you may want to use ‘small’ size eggs.) There are also refrigerated kinds in the refrigerated section, and vacuum-packed kinds.

Aburaage (fried tofu skins) can be found where the tofu is, or in the freezer section.

Where to find Inarizushi Skins and Aburaage

anon - My Japanese grocery store has two freezer sections - one for prepared foods and veggies and one in the back for fish that is mostly fish. The aburaage is back in the freezer area with the fish. It took me a long time to find it as well, since I kept trying to look up with the refrigerated tofu products up front! The short version of that is that if you can’t find them with the refrigerated tofu products, try looking in the freezer case near the fish and other proteins.

Maki - These look fabulous. I love eggs and I have them written down on my lunch menu for the week. Many thanks!

Wow!

Hi Maki!

I tried these but I used plain tofu skins. They were flat sheets of tofu skins, not bags as I was not able to find inarizushi. They worked great too but the eggs did not hold their shape. Still, the yolks stayed whole and you could see the whites surrounding them. The taste was fabulous! I’ll definitely make these again!

its not as easy as it looks

You make it seem so easy in your recipe. I tried making it with 2 of my friends today and it was such a mess! Firstly some eggs were too big to allow the bags to be shut properly causing some of them to break the bags or spill out into the cup/bowl (we had to resort to pouring out some egg white to close the remaining bags properly), 2ndly it was difficult to hold the bag shut with the spring onions which kept breaking off or slipping around our fingers, 3rdly some of the bags when opened would be thinner in some parts or would form a hole leaking out the egg (before we could chuck it into the pot) or in the worst that happened, the yolk broke through the bag and fell into the sink..-_-…

But all in all, despite all the bad luck and clumsy fingers, whatever bags that survived tasted really special and nice.. although the effort would make me think twice about making it again in the future.

Are there any tips that I should know which would make the whole process easier?

some things you can

some things you can try…

  • use smaller eggs
  • try another brand of inarizushi skins (the refrigerated kind tend to be bigger than the canned kind)
  • try using regular aburaage, which do tend to be more sturdy. You do have to do the pre-processing, but after that the skins may be easier to handle. You can also cut them into bigger pockets (you’d end up with only one usable bag per sheet, but you can use the leftover part chopped up in miso soup and so on)

The tying up the bag part is rather fiddly, that is true….practice makes perfect though! Or if you have a way of holding the bags upright for a while in the poaching liquid until the egg firms up (perhaps by putting several close together in the pan) they should firm up enough so you don’t have to close them up.

yes! i say to these.

Oh, Maki. I will totally be making these. I love inarizushi, but even though his Japanese mom was the one who introduced me to the tofu pockets, my sweetheart does not like them. So when I get a can, there are way to many in there just to make basic rice-filled ones for one person. And since poached eggs=heaven…boom. Would it be lame to use the liquid that’s in the can with the tofu skins as flavoring for the poaching water instead of gathering all the ingredients?

stef, I did think of using

stef, I did think of using the liquid, but I found when it’s diluted in enough water to poach the bags it becomes a bit too weak. You can use the liquid but you may need to boost it up a bit with a bit more soy sauce or dashi granules or even a stock cube or something like that.

did it!

I made these treasure bags last night. Well, I tried. It was nearly successful…I just need to find taller inari bags. I couldn’t get the tops neatly tied up, so I did the best I could and used a spider to lower them gently into the broth. Worked well enough. Thanks again for posting this!

Maybe this would be easier

Maybe this would be easier with quail eggs, if you’re using the smaller canned skins?

You might need 2-3 quail

You might need 2-3 quail eggs in that case…

Thanx Maki

I will try to make it soon. Just wondering is there any particular brand for the inarizushi or aburaage?
I think the last time I went to the store they have the similar thing but not in freezer... Is it the one?
How do you know which is inarizushi and which is aburaage, since I cant read Hiragana or Katakana >.<
Thank you so much, Maki.

If you look at the list of

If you look at the list of ingredients, and you see anything listed other than fried bean curd or tofu (and oil) such as soy sauce, sugar, etc. then it’s inarizushi no moto. Aburaage is unflavored. I don’t have a specific brand to recommend, but just look for the sturdiest skins you can find (since they are easier to stuff and so on).

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

I think we must have bigger eggs or smaller inarizushi bags here. I couldn't even fit an egg in a bag, let alone tie it at the top! I ended up making them with just the yolks and a tiny bit of white. And I fastened them with those cute little pick things with the animal heads - I wouldn't have been able to gather the tops together properly even with just the yolk in.

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

I made these last night and they were great! I will definitely need to get some smaller eggs, though. Or bigger inarizushi. I poached them in my current addiction; Tsuyu soup stock. I could drink it from the bottle.

We loved them.

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

I made them for lunch today... The result is here: http://ifeelallright.blogspot.com/2009/03/pura-falta-do-que-fazer.html
Not cute... but delicious!
Thank you very much!

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

Just made mine tonight! They were great! I used med eggs and toothpicks to hold them together. Thanks for the recipe!

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

Hi, you mentioned being in Switzerland, do you by chance have any recommendation on where to find aburaage in Geneva?

Thanks
Rozmin

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

I tried this today, and it is harder than it looks!
I had some problem putting the egg into the bag and tying it, so much so that my niece asked innocently why can't i just boil the egg, and eat it together with the inarizushi skin ^^
But 20 minutes later, when she saw the finished product, she was squealing happily and asked if I can make it for her again tomorrow

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

Ugh I wasted so many eggs trying to make this, but they all ended up in various states of goo on the floor or the counter. I think i'll stick to onigiri, i'm good at that!

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

Gosh, these are good. I absolutely love inari and I'm so glad to have something else to make with them other than inarizushi (as much as I love those)!

For people having problems, I used medium eggs and they were just the right size. I also cracked the egg into a cup, and then slid the egg from the cup into the tofu skin. Then I skewered them shut with toothpicks. They went off without a hitch! I think this will be one of my new favorite things to make.

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

After having the same problems others struggled with, this is what I did: For 8 tofu skins, I cracked 6 large eggs (the only size in my area) and gave them a rough scramble. I propped the skins open in muffin cups and carefully poured in the egg to the rims of the inarizushi bags and left them open. Then I poured hot stock into the muffin cups around the bags and popped the whole thing into the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. (I tent some foil over it to minimize browning.)

They don't have the separation of white and yolk, so they aren't as pretty...but my way makes the eggs fit. They are all propped up in the cups and so I don't have to tie or toothpick them shut. They still get poached and are delish. This has become one of my kids' favorite bento proteins, and they hardly ever agree on anything. ;)

Thank you, Maki, for the recipe!

Re: Eggs in treasure bags (Tamago no takarabukuro)

I made the Takara bukuro for my lunch. It was very dericious!! Thank you for your Recipi.
40代の会社員兼業主婦です。このレシピ、おいしかったです!過去に自分なりに調味料を調合してもうまくいかず市販のそうめんツユなど使って試していました。
よくこのホムペをのぞかせていただいています。今まで3つのレシピを試してみましたが どれもおいしかったです。もっと 英語を勉強して、伊藤さんの本も買いたいなあと思います。ありがとうござました。これからもよろしくおねがいします!

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