Japanese Scotch Egg

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First off, I haven’t actually uploaded a complete bento here in ages, so here is one! It features Japanese Scotch eggs, which you see in the near-most box. (The rest of the bento consists of cucumber slices with sea salt; a carrot and celeriac salad; onigiri with umeboshi filling; banana and mini-cupcakes. The whole bento is about 1100 calories - I intended it to be for 2, but ended up eating the whole thing by myself!)

The original Scotch egg is a British pub snack, made by wrapping a hardboiled egg in sausage meat and deep frying it. The Japanese version uses a ground beef/pork meat mix, and is either deep fried, panfried or baked in the oven. I usually bake them or panfry them, though deep frying is best if you want perfectly round Scotch eggs.

Japanese style Scotch egg is considered to be rather retro in Japan these days. They are typical of yohshoku or youshoku, Japanese-style Western cooking, where foods from the West have been adapted (mostly in the post-WWII period up to the 1970s or so) to suit Japanese tastes and available ingredients. (More about yohshoku.)

I rather hesitated to post this recipe since it doesn’t quite fit the usual criteria for recipes here. It takes some time and effort to make, so it’s not practical for a busy morning. It’s not very low in calories. And, it doesn’t really freeze well, because frozen hard boiled egg turns rubbery (though I have frozen it on occasion), so it’s not even a good make-ahead staple item! Other than that though, it is quite delicious at room temperature, so very well suited for bentos. You can make a few and keep them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Or make them for dinner and leave one for next day’s bento! That bright yellow and white egg against the brown of the meat is very cheery.

Update: If you found your way here from this entry on the Guardian Word Of Mouth blog, which in turn references an entry on the Chowhound forum, Scotch eggs are categorically not a staple of the Japanese New Year feast (osechi). It could just be that the Chowhound poster who said this just happened to encounter it at some time, in someone’s house. Hey, my aunt liked to serve mounds of vegetable tempura at New Year’s to feed a crowd easily, but tempura isn’t really a traditional part of New Year’s in most households either. Maybe your aunt likes to serve her special coconut cake or something at Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that coconut cake is a Christmas staple in most households. This is how erroneous information spreads on the web, I guess. Anyway….enjoy this very Japanese recipe with English roots!

Recipe: Japanese Scotch Eggs

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Amounts are for 4 Scotch Eggs. Each is 450 to 550 calories, depending on how fatty the ground meat is and your cooking method. (You can make one, and pack just one half per bento. Even a half is quite substantial.)

  • 350g / 12 oz combined ground beef and pork, or just beef or just pork. If you’re using beef, get one that is at least 10% fat (or in U.S. supermarket parlance “90% fat free”.)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbs. panko or bread crumbs
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Black pepper and nutmeg (both freshly ground if you can) to taste
  • 4 hardboiled eggs (I use ‘small’ size eggs, otherwise the Scotch eggs turn out huge)
  • Flour
  • Oil for cooking
  • Ketchup

If using an oven, preheat it to 200 °C / 400 °F.

Combine the meat, onion, raw egg, bread crumbs and seasonings in a bowl. Mix well with your hands until the meat gets paste-like and a bit sticky.

Divide the meat mixture into 4 portions. Flour the surface of a hard boiled egg.

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Take one portion of meat and spread it out on your palm. Place a floured egg on top.

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Carefully wrap the meat mixture around the egg.

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Completely surround the egg with the meat mixture, and form into a ball with your hands.

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Lightly flour the surface of the meat ball.

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Repeat with the rest of the meat mixture and eggs.

If you’re going to bake these, put them spaced well apart on a lightly greased baking sheet (or line the baking sheet with a silicon liner or parchment paper). Bake 20 minutes, then turn and bake another 15 to 20 minutes.

If pan frying, heat up a large frying pan with a little oil. Put in the Scotch eggs, and fry them on one side until browned, then turn to brown the other side. Keep turning until all sides are browned. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil, and continue cooking until the meat is done, turning a couple of times. This takes about 20 minutes total.

If deep frying, do so in medium-hot oil that is deep enough so that the Scotch eggs are at least half immersed. Deep frying takes the least time, about 10 minutes, but it is the most caloric method, and cleanup is messy (as it is when you deep fry anything meaty).

When the Scotch eggs are done, let them cool down before packing in a bento box. Cut in half to expose the egg inside. I like to brush a little ketchup on the cut sides of the meat part and a little on the outside, but this is optional.

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32 comments

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Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

Ermmmm Maki, you forgot to add the step about putting on the breadcrumbs!!!

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I think the breadcrumbs get mixed in with the meat.

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

she didn't. the crumbs are mixed into the mince.

Combine the meat, onion, raw egg, bread crumbs and seasonings in a bowl. Mix well with your hands until the meat gets past-like and a bit sticky.

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

See, thats where I'm mixed up, traditional scotch egg has breadcrumb on the OUTSIDE. My mistake, sorry!

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

When I make them I panko the outside too. Then fry them up.

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

Good lord that scotch egg looks good. I'm gonna have to make me some..

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I can sometimes find medium eggs near my home... but I've never seen "small" eggs sold in any stores.

Where did you find them?

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

A medium egg will be fine - just the smallest size you can get! (You could also make these with quail eggs, if you can get a hold of them and have the patience...)

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

This looks awesome! I was just going to ask if this could be done with quail egg. I've never cooked with them before so I'm curious as to this "having patience" concept. What do you mean?

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

Mmm, it's like a Scottish version of an onigiri! Only 3000x the calories! (But so delicious.)

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

That is right, these Scotch eggs are not coated with breadcrumbs. If they were to be, I'd have specified that they should be floured then dipped in egg then coated, otherwise the breadcrumbs would just fall off. If you want to breadcrumb coat them, do that, and be sure to deep fry it for a crispy surface. And add about 100 calories per Scotch egg!

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I quite like the fact that these Japanese style scotch eggs don't have a crumb coating. I think scotch quail eggs would be amazing, too! Perhaps if I have half a day and enough patience, I'll try!

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

They are indeed very tasty, but certainly not low calerie and are a bit of a gut bomb. One per adult is plenty!

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

oh neat! i have bantam chickens that lay eggs the third the size of regular chickens but bigger than quail eggs. now i have a place to use these eggs instead of cracking 9 eggs to make a 3 egg scrambled eggs! LOL

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

Mmmm, these look really good lol.
And they look wonderful in a bento too :D

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

You can also purchase vegetarian "sausage" -- it has the same texture as raw ground sausage.
Wrap this around the egg the same way, I like to panko the outside too, and you have a lovely vegetarian option!

(and also, it's not *quite* the bomb that a meat-based scotch egg is!)

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

Ari wrote:

You can also purchase vegetarian "sausage" -- it has the same texture as raw ground sausage.
Wrap this around the egg the same way, I like to panko the outside too, and you have a lovely vegetarian option!

(and also, it's not *quite* the bomb that a meat-based scotch egg is!)

I actually came on here to say I made these with vegetarian sausage the other day and they turned out great. I also baked them instead of frying to make a "healthy" version!

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

Hi there, I was wondering what brand of vegetarian sausage you used—Tofurkey, Yves, something else?

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I was just thinking that I have chicken-apple sausage in the fridge. I work graveyard shifts and end up craving breakfast in the middle of my shift! Hmm, I'll definitely have to try this.

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I'm just doing them, but they kind of split open while baking. Not just a bit, everyone got a pretty big hole on one side now with the egg poking out. Doesn't look too great. I even used the same amount of meat for just 3 eggs.
I hope the eggs don't burn too much.

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

You do have to pat the meat securely around the egg to prevent it from splitting (but it splits for me sometimes too). Still tastes good though!

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

It was a solid enough ball when I put it in the oven. As I took them out, it was more like eggs in a basket, the eggs where halfway visible. They got pretty leathery too.

Troubleshooting

That is probably caused by meat coating shrinking too much, which can be caused by several things, namely: the meat mix was not mixed enough; not enough egg; or (most likely) the meat itself had too much moisture in it (leading to the moisture evaporating = more shrinkage). So...what you could do is to try another kind of ground beef, or try mixing beef and pork (and possibly veal, which is more gelatinous, but I know a lot of people object to veal...), adding a tad more breadcrumbs, or cooking it gently on the stovetop in a frying pan (which is more manual labor I know).

As I said it's not the easiest of things to make, but when it turns out well it's good!

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

Looks delicious

I can't remember the last time I had scotch eggs without all day exercize being involved, but soon I will be free of my well meaning mother. I'm going to gain so much weight in the first time, unless I forget to eat of course.

I think quails egg scotch eggs would suit my appetite and box size better, but quails eggs are even more of a treat.

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I just found this on a Moroccan cooking blog, and it seemed so similar. Except the egg looks spectacular!
It's a potato wrapped in meat....
http://sousoukitchen.blogspot.com/2009/08/meatballs-stuffed-with-potatoe...

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I imagine you could also use quail eggs for this, for a smaller portion?

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

Sure...just shorten the cooking times.

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I made this last night to test out how eating a bento is (as I just got my bento in the mail the other day). I had to use large eggs cos I couldn't find small ones. I should have spread out the meat more around the egg because when I baked it in the oven it started to split off the egg. It was good though for me not really trying hard boiled eggs before. =^_^= \/

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I remember that when Maki posted this recipe last year, I laughed out loud; although of Irish ancestry and having lived in the UK for some time, I had just learned of this English dish called Scotch Egg from a Japanese woman living in Switzerland. ~8-D

Without giving too much detail for a comment, my version of this recipe uses quail eggs which the local supermarket stocks in little clear plastic 18-count cartons year-round, and dark-meat turkey sausage ground by the butcher and spiced up by me with fennel seed, cayenne pepper, thyme, cumin, garlic and fenugreek, that sort of thing. They come out perfect every time, nary a 'peeking egg' and are a great cool-weather favorite here!

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I tried doing this with quail eggs for a bento box one time, but at the time our kitchen was undergoing a renovation so I had to try to boil the eggs in the microwave... which I'd done successfully with chicken eggs so I thought I could make it work... not so much. I didn't want to over-cook them so I ended up way under doing it. Like, 3 times. Once I finally did get a soft-set egg I couldn't peel the dainty little things without smushing them. Heidi, or anyone else who has made quail-scotch-eggs... any tips for me? How long do you cook the quail eggs before peeling? Any tips for making them easier to peel?

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I have just made two batches of these. I baked half and deep-fried the other half (coated with panko). The deep-fried ones were a bit more successful, in that they didn't split open. I really don't need the extra calories, but I am so looking forward to trying them both.

I am finding myself wondering whether I can eat them all before the children get back from school in 3 hours...! What a lovely recipe.

Re: Japanese Scotch Egg

I worked in a 5-star hotel and at one point, they actually served miniature Scotch Eggs; they used quail eggs which I thought was a fantastic idea!

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