Omurice – a Japanese favourite recipe

Omurice – a contraction of the words ‘omelette’ and ‘rice’ (duh) is a hugely popular dish across Japan, whether cooked at home or eaten in a dedicated omurice restaurant, it seems to be among everyone’s favourites.

We had it for the first time at a restaurant with friends, having been taken there specifically to try the dish! They had described it beforehand, so we had an idea of what to expect; omurice is effectively ketchup fried rice, wrapped up inside a thin omelette and formed into a rugby ball/American football shape. The sound of it didn’t appeal to us at first, but it was surprisingly tasty. The vinegary nature of Japanese tomato sauce means the rice doesn’t simply become a sweet and sticky red mess, but rather a flavourful filling.

I decided to make it at home as a bit of a challenge (not really knowing how it is done) and was very happy with the results. Here is my (rough) recipe.

Ingredients:
Note: I am not putting quantities as I tend not to measure anything. Use your judgement based on your taste and appetite!

• Rice (of choice, we used brown this time) cooked and cooled
• Chicken (breast or thigh) cut into cm cubes
• Vegetables of choice (I used onion, garlic, carrots, and aubergine) diced
• Ketchup (any brand you want – we had Heinz so I only used a little)
• Soy sauce
• Mirin
• Sesame oil
• Olive oil
• 1-2 eggs per person
• Dash of milk (optional)
• Salt and pepper
• Chili powder/flakes

Method:
For the fried rice filling:

• Fry up the diced veg, season with salt and pepper, and chili powder/flakes to taste, set aside• Fry chicken until golden brown and juicy. Season with salt, pepper, chili, and a little soy if desired. Set aside with the veg

• Fry the rice – this is where I feel my recipe differed from traditional omurice as I catered it more to our taste. First I slightly browned the rice, then lowered the heat and added seasoning and sauce. Make the rice to your taste

• Add ketchup or tomato sauce. Recipes I saw online called from anywhere between 2-6 tablespoon of ketchup. I used 3 tablespoons of Heinz (obviously if you are cooking for more people, you will require more!)

• You want your rice to be flavourful and slightly sticky so that it can be shaped

• Return the veg and chicken to the pan and mix it in to the rice

• Once well combined, set aside (I moved it into a bowl as I wanted to use the same frying pan for the omelette – save on washing up!)

For the omelette wrapping:

• Beat your eggs (I used only one egg for myself, 2 for Devin. Both worked fine, only the thickness of the omelette will change)

• Add a dash of milk if desired

• Season with a little salt and pepper

• Heat a small amount of oil in your pan before adding beaten egg(s)

• Cook your omelette over a low heat – you do not want it to brown

• If possible, use a lid to slightly cook the top – no need to flip, you want a little runny egg left

• Once your omelette is cooked, place one portion of rice slightly off centre – make it as oval as possible

• Jiggle the pan to free the omelette, then fold the edges of the egg over the rice

• Place a plate against the rice/omelette shape and flip the pan and plate together to transfer the food onto the plate

• Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, grab a sheet of kitchen paper and use it to form a rugby ball/American football shape with your hands

• Decorate with tomato sauce and garnish as desired – your omurice is ready!

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