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.