How to Make an Inside Out Boiled Egg (or at Least Have Fun While Trying)

Last fall our family started subscribing to the Yomiuri Japanese children’s newspaper and we love it.  It’s great reading practice and it always has interesting articles such as the one that came out last October explaining how to make an inside out hard boiled egg.  Apparently, a professor at Tokyo Women’s University read a 200 year old Japanese cookbook full of egg recipes from the Edo Period and decided to try making the recipe for an inside out boiled egg (where the yellow is on the outside and the white is on the inside).  After many tries, he was able to do it and then decided to write a recipe  for how to make it more easily than the method they used 200 years ago.  The article gave step-by-step instructions and the kids and I tried making it last year with just one change.  The recipe calls for putting the egg inside one leg of a woman’s stocking and swinging it around.  I didn’t want to sacrifice my nylons for the experiment so we used a smaller net bag that is common in Japanese kitchens.  However, after we went through all the rigamarole to make these special boiled eggs, ours just turned out to be normal boiled eggs — what a disappointment!  Of course, I knew in my heart that it was my fault for not wanting to chop the legs off of my nylons in the name of science.  So, when Austin asked again the other night to try making them, I got out the scissors and chopped away.

The process is pretty involved.  I found a great blog post in English explaining how to make the egg, complete with a youtube video (with Japanese subtitles) that shows exactly what we did so I won’t bother to write out the exact instructions myself.  Basically, though,it involves taping the egg with Scotch tape (so it doesn’t break while you’re spinning it around), securing it inside one leg of a woman’s stocking, swinging it around to get the white to move inside and the yolk to move outside (while being careful not to smash the egg into your face, a sibling or parents face, or the wall), and boiling it with the tape still on.  You also have to use a flashlight to check if all the swinging has been successful before you boil the egg. If you’re successful, the light from the flashlight won’t light up the inside of the egg as well as it did at the beginning.  I recommend trying this with a room temperature egg so that the condensation on a cold egg doesn’t keep the Scotch tape from sticking.   Before the boiling we only had one mishap: a little egg yolk managed to squirt out of the egg I was spinning, spraying my glasses and brand new sweater.  But, after running to the bathroom to rinse out the sweater, all was well.  (I’m thankful I didn’t have to sacrifice my sweater for this project too…)

Unfortunately, we still weren’t completely successful this time.  Instead of getting a perfect circle of yellow yolk around a perfect circle of boiled egg white, we ended up with a mostly yellow boiled egg with a little bit of white mixed in.  However, we felt more successful than last time and everyone enjoyed eating their weird eggs.   And, since I’m sure the request to try it again will resurface  in a few months so we can aim for perfection, I am washing and saving the nylons we used this time so that the whole project feels less sacrificial.

Obviously, this isn’t a recipe that you’d want to make on a weekday morning before rushing off to school or work.  It’s a bit time consuming compared to scrambling a few eggs in a frying pan for breakfast.  But, it is worth trying at least once.  And, I guess it was worth the sacrifice of the nylons  — my kids certainly would say so.