If you love ramen to the point that you've begun making it at home, then you probably know that an excellent bowl of ramen doesn't end with noodles and broth. The toppings are just as important.

That's where the ramen egg, otherwise known as 味玉 ajitama (literally "seasoned egg") comes in. Perfectly soft-boiled*, not too hard, not too runny, and bursting with the flavor of egg and delicious seasonings, a ramen egg done just right can elevate a bowl of ramen into a meal to remember.

* If you're concerned about Salmonella, in many countries, you can buy pasteurized in-shell eggs that are safe to eat raw.

We'd like to introduce a foolproof recipe that not only lets you make perfect ajitama every time, but also makes a batch of 焼肉 yakiniku sauce you can use to cook Japanese-style grilled meat. The idea comes courtesy of Kikkoman's Twitter account.

This recipe is great for those times when you buy a bottle of yakiniku sauce but have a lot leftover and don't know what to do with it. For those who can find Kikkoman's excellent 『わが家は焼肉屋さん』wagaya wa yakinikuya-san ("My home is a yakiniku restaurant") yakiniku sauce at Japanese or Asian markets or online retailers, you'll only need to provide a few more ingredients for this recipe.

If you can't find this sauce, no worries. Just follow the additional instructions below for making your own.

We've even included tips on making perfect soft-boiled eggs (see below).

Ingredients (for 6 soft-boiled eggs)

  • 6 tablespoons Wagaya wa Yakinikuya-san yakiniku sauce (medium spicy) or use yakiniku sauce recipe below
  • 90 ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated garlic (not necessary if using yakiniku sauce recipe below)
  • 1/2 green onion, finely chopped

All you need to do is blend all the ingredients together, put the mix in a large ziplock bag, squeeze the bag a few times, add the soft-boiled eggs, and put the bag in the fridge overnight!

When you're done, you'll have perfect ajitama eggs!

They're not only delicious in ramen but you can also eat them alone as a side dish, either as they are or with drizzled hot chili oil on top.

Yakiniku Sauce

  • 150 ml Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (or honey/sugar)
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 knob ginger, thinly sliced
  • 80 grams apple (peeled, cored and roughly chopped)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Aadapted from Kikkoman's recipe for grilled lamb chops with yakiniku sauce.

Making soft-boiled eggs

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl and fill it 3/4 full with water and ice. If you're using refrigerated eggs, leave the eggs in the refrigerator for now.
  • Once the water is boiling, carefully add the eggs into the pot with a ladle to ensure that they don't crack.
  • Boil for 6 minutes for refrigerated eggs and 5 1/2 minutes for room temperature eggs. Lightly stir the boiling eggs around with chopsticks or other wooden or plastic utensils to bring the yolks to the center of the egg as you cook them.
  • When the time is up, swiftly remove the eggs from the boiling water with a colander and soak them in iced water for 3 minutes.
  • Working inside the bowl of iced water, gently smash the eggs together to break their shells, and carefully peel them, making sure not to pierce them (you may want to wear plastic gloves if you have long nails and remove any rings with protruding parts).
  • You're done!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.