Sunday, March 29, 2015

Omuraisu: Ketchup Rice, Japanese Style


Ketchup and rice? In an omelet? You gottabekidding! Nope. Trust me, this is delicious and fiendishly simple. Omeraisu, or omuraisu, is eaten all over Japan, and millions of Japanese cannot be wrong. A scene from a famous classic Japanese movie, Tampopo, shows a chef teaching a young boy how to make omeraisu. It could not be easier.

"Omeraisu," is a portmanteau that combines the words Omelet and Rice. The red substance in the rice is the common condiment, ketchup. Don't let that turn you off, though, omeraisu is sheer genius! It's delicious and easy to prepare--plus what a great way to use a bit of leftover rice for breakfast the next day. Most often it's made from fried rice that has chicken in it, but what I remember from living in Japan was simpler--rice sauteed in ketchup then set aside. A simple omelet prepared the usual way. When the egg is almost set, top with ketchup-rice mixture, and then close up the omelet, topping with a small dollop of ketchup. Sounds yucky? Hardly--it's delish.

Now, what I usually do for fun is the same thing, only with salsa instead of ketchup--mix in salsa with the rice, set aside, make omelet, and then add the salsa-rice mixture back and close up the omelet. Serve with cilantro and avocado slices--super-delish! Mexican-style, Japanese-style, European dish. Whatever you call it, call it all gone--everyone will eat it up if you don't go into too much detail about how you made it. Three cheers for rice for breakfast!

Omeraisu


  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (optional, but authentic)
  • 1/2 cup chicken breast or ham, cut into small pieces (optional, but authentic)
  • butter
  • ketchup
  • 6 large eggs
  • salt and pepper
Sauté the chopped onion until transparent in butter. Add the chicken or ham and sauté until done. Add the rice and toss until heated through. Add about 3 Tbs. of ketchup and toss rapidly. Season with a little salt and pepper, and then set aside.
Melt more butter in the frying pan. In the meantime, crack the eggs into a bowl, add a little salt and pepper and whisk until well-blended. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and make an omelette that is still slightly runny in the middle.
Add the rice mixture to one half of the still-cooking omelet. Flip the other half over to cover all the rice, and cook through, without allowing a skin to form on the omelet. Slice the cooked omelet into as many pieces as their are diners (three or four) and slide the chunks onto warmed plates.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How Lentils Could Save the Earth, Part II


In the first installment of "How Lentils Could Save the Earth," I introduced the almighty, super-studly, protein-rich lentil, and explored where it came from, how it's used, and why it's a fabulous, inexpensive and should be an important part of our diets. Now, I'd like to share a nifty recipe that has the power to change your mind about lentils forever--if you didn't love them already, you will after one bite of this.

Coconut Lentil Curry, with Garden Vegetables

1 medium onion
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
10 cloves minced or crushed garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
6 cups water
1 12 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup lentils (the standard size--not the small ones), rinsed and sorted
2 medium or 1 large zucchini, cut into chunks or half discs, as you prefer
1 (14 to 16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes, or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 large or 3 medium carrots, cut into half discs
3 cups fresh greens (spinach is particularly wonderful, as it melts right in. If using Swiss chard, remove the spines and use just the leaves, chopped)
Salt to taste, but add only after lentils are cooked

  1. Saute the onions in the butter or ghee until tender and translucent.
  2. Add all the ingredients except the greens and the salt to a pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are well-cooked (no more than 30 minutes). Taste the soup and add salt to taste. I recommend using either Vege-sal vegetable salt blend (it's tasty and works like vegetable stock), or Himalayan pink sea salt, which has fantastic health properties. Anyway, be sure not to add salt until after the beans are cooked (this is true of all beans, as salt hinders bean water absorption). If using Swiss chard, add now and cook until tender (five minutes). If adding spinach, add and cook only for one minute, until wilted.
  3. Serve over basmati rice, or basmati rice pilaf. Also include minced, fresh chili peppers, for your guests to add in as they like. This dish is also wonderful when sprinkled with cayenne powder and/or smoked paprika.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Wonderful Infographic Illustrates Beer Relationships

There really are only two kinds of beer: ales and lagers. Lagers are too difficult for most homebrewers, as they require cold storage--although it can be done, I've heard. I have brewed only a variety of ales, from pale ale to Belgian tripel to oatmeal stout. I've brewed with freshly harvested hops that grow in our front yard and even tried all-grain brewing myself (and failed--I need help on that part). Much to learn--fun and scary but worth studying.

The Wide World of Beer