Why You Need To Soy Sauce Cure Egg Yolks

After successfully whipping up a batch of meringue and baking delectable macarons, it's a shame to let those leftover egg yolks go to waste. An easy and ingenious way to use them is to marinate and cure them in soy sauce. After curing the egg yolks in soy sauce for a few hours, you'll end up with jewel-like umami bombs, rich in flavor and perfect for topping over various dishes like white rice, toast, and noodles.

This dish likely originated from Japan, where it is called shoyu zuke ranou aka soy sauce marinated egg yolk. The marinade usually consists of soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and rice vinegar. Soy sauce-cured egg yolks have gained popularity across social media and in our homes, and it's no surprise. Thanks to a period of curing, anywhere from a few hours to three days, the raw egg yolks transform into a deeper hue with a rich, lava-like texture while soaking up all the enticing flavors of the marinade. It also makes for a fun experience to poke into a soy sauce-cured egg yolk with chopsticks and watch the jammy liquid gold ooze out. 

Marinate egg yolks in soy sauce to make umami bombs at home

To begin curing, combine soy sauce with ingredients like sake, mirin, sugar, and rice vinegar or white vinegar in a storage container or food storage bag. Carefully add the egg yolks and allow them to cure. A few hours of pickling suffices for runnier egg yolks that are lighter in flavor, while the longer you cure them, the firmer and more robust in taste they become.  A few hours into the curing process, flip them for even flavor distribution since egg yolks naturally float in soy sauce.

While the traditional ingredients provide a solid and tasty foundation already, feel free to experiment and add your unique twist to the marinade. Experimentation can lead you to exciting additions, such as fish sauce, aromatic elements like garlic and shallots, a few shakes of MSG, and even the surprising sweetness of fruit juices in lieu of mirin and sugar.

It's important to remember that curing egg yolks in soy sauce doesn't equate to cooking them; these yolks remain raw. This isn't a concern in Japan, where all eggs undergo pasteurization. In the U.S., it's recommended you opt for pasteurized eggs for this dish, particularly for those worried about potential salmonella risks.