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What is Niratama?
Niratama is a simple dish made of fried garlic chives and beaten eggs mixed with a variety of seasonings. The name comes from the Japanese words “nira” and “tamago” which mean garlic chives and eggs respectively.
Garlic chives, also known as Chinese or Asian chives, have a distinct taste from onion chives, which are commonly used in Western dishes. While onion chives have a mild onion flavor and are hollow in the middle, nira is flat, like a blade of grass, and has a stronger, more garlicky taste.
This dish is typically paired with rice and is a great snack to have while drinking too. It’s a popular dish at Chinese restaurants in Japan, and many people make it at home because it’s easy and quick to prepare.
How I Developed This Recipe
I wanted to make a simple and fast niratama recipe for an evening snack. The main focus was to make it delicious and quick to prepare.
Thankfully, I came up with a recipe that only takes 5 minutes to make. If you’re feeling hungry at night or want something to go with your drink, give it a try!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Garlic chives: These are central to the dish, and substituting them isn’t recommended. I typically cut them to 3 to 4 cm in length.
- Medium eggs: While I prefer medium-sized eggs for this recipe, any size will work.
- Oyster sauce: This ingredient enriches the dish with its deep flavor.
- Chinese-style chicken bouillon powder: I always use Youki’s additive-free Garasupu for added umami.
- Salt: Regular sea salt works great and helps bring out the flavors in the dish.
- Sugar: I often opt for light brown cane sugar, but any sugar will suffice.
- Black pepper: If unavailable, white pepper is a suitable alternative.
- Sesame oil: Add this aromatic oil towards the end of cooking. Kadoya’s sesame oil is my recommendation.
- Japanese chili powder (shichimi togarashi): This is optional, but a hint of spice complements the dish beautifully.
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Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Niratama at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and add oyster sauce, Chinese-style chicken bouillon powder, salt, sugar and pepper. Whisk until well combined and set by the stove.
Heat up a pan on a high heat and add a drizzle of oil. Once hot, add the garlic chives and stir fry for 30 seconds.
While it’s common to add them straight to the egg mixture and simply cook them together, flash-frying the garlic chives first will help mellow out the flavor so that they don’t overpower the eggs. It also helps remove any excess moisture from the garlic chives, which stops them from making the eggs watery.
Transfer the garlic chives to the bowl and mix before adding them back to the pan. This will ensure they’re evenly distributed before cooking.
Add a little more oil, pour the mixture into the pan, and scramble the eggs until they are almost cooked. Remove the pan from the heat when they are still a little runny, as they will continue to cook in the residual heat. Cooking the eggs fully will cause them to become overcooked and dry and lose their fluffiness.
Transfer to a serving dish and top with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili powder).
Enjoy!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
How to Store
It is not recommended to store niratama due to the nature of the dish.
If you want to store it, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. However, it is advisable to calculate the required amount beforehand, as storing it will significantly reduce its texture and taste.
I hope you enjoy this Niratama recipe! If you try it out, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a moment to let me know what you thought by giving a review and star rating in the comments below. It’s also helpful to share any adjustments you made to the recipe with our other readers. Thank you!
More Quick & Easy Japanese Recipes
Niratama (Stir-fried Garlic Chive with Egg)
- 50 g garlic chive(s) nira, 3-4cm pieces
- 3 medium egg(s)
- ½ tsp oyster sauce
- ¼ tsp Chinese-style chicken bouillon powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 pinch Japanese chili powder (shichimi togarashi) optional
- Crack 3 medium egg(s) into a bowl and add 1/2 tsp oyster sauce, 1/4 tsp Chinese-style chicken bouillon powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and 1 pinch black pepper. Whisk until well combined and set by the stove.
- Heat up a frying pan or wok on a high heat and add half of the cooking oil. Once hot, add 50 g garlic chive(s) to the pan and stir fry for 30 seconds.
- After 30 seconds of cooking, transfer the garlic chives to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Add the other half of oil to the same pan/wok and pour the egg mixture in. Scramble the egg until almost cooked and then remove it from the heat. (Be careful not to overcook.)
- Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with 1 tsp sesame oil and 1 pinch Japanese chili powder.