My favourite omelette is the French-style, rugby ball-shaped fluffy one, which apparently gives a very clear idea of a professional chef’s skills. I often order it for lunch in France, but I haven’t mastered it yet, so whenever I make an omelette, it has to be the easiest flat one. The famous Japanese omurice (fried rice with an omelette) has two main versions: rice wrapped into a round thin omelette or topped with the fluffy thick one. I was glad to discover that Japanese Soul Cooking, from which I sourced my very first omurice, features the former version. Yesterday I decided to “koreanise” it a bit and replaced the customary ketchup with hot gochujang sauce. It proved such a great idea, I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Actually, I think I will never go back to the standard mild omurice!
For those who have never heard about this dish, omurice/omuraisu (オムライス) belongs to “youshoku” (洋食), Japanised Western dishes, the category which includes such dishes as korokke (croquettes). The dish was apparently invented in Tokyo at the beginning of the XXth century and its name is a contraction of “omelette” and “rice”. As I have mentioned, it consists of two parts: “chikin rice” (cooked rice, fried with chicken, onion and carrot, then seasoned with ketchup) and the omelette, either wrapped around the rice or made into a fluffy shape and put on top. Whatever the version, the dish is served either with more ketchup on top or with a generous amount of demi-glace sauce.
The omurice where fluffy soft omelette served on top of the rice is often called “Tampopo omurice”, with reference to the legendary Japanese film “Tampopo” (if you like Japanese cuisine, you must see it, not only because of omurice!). See the beautiful Hiroyuki’s Tampopo omurice here.
I have never tasted omurice in Japan and while preparing my first homemade version I was afraid double presence of ketchup would spoil the rather promising result, but maybe because I’ve used my own homemade ketchup, I found it surprisingly good. On one hand, I was thrilled to discover another egg dish in my long collection, but at the same time this way of using leftover rice is a nice alternative for fried rice or rice-based salads I’ve been making for years.
Apart from the gochujang sauce, I have also changed the “chikin rice” ingredients, skipping the carrot and peas and replacing them with mushrooms. As you see above, I have also made too much “stuffing” to close the omelette properly (by “properly closed” I mean something like Nami’s perfect Omurice you can admire here), so I named it “open” If you want to follow the original recipe, I invite you to buy the wonderful Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat.
TIPS: If you are don’t like ginger, you can skip it and the gochujang sauce will be equally good (I liked it here though; it added a nice fresh kick).
Egg dishes get cold very quickly, so I strongly advise serving omurice on a warmed plate (heated in the oven, set at lowest temperature).
Whenever using leftover cooked rice I always warm it a bit in the microwave. Thus grains are easier to separate.
Preparation: about 30 minutes
Ingredients (serves one):
1/4 chicken breast
3 medium or big button mushrooms (called cremini, when dark)
1 small onion or shallot
3 heaped tablespoons steamed Japanese rice
3 tablespoons chicken stock
3 tablespoons of milk or cream
2 tablespoons gochujang
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon honey or syrup
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or 1 teaspoon normal soy sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
(1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger)
toasted sesame seeds
Cut the chicken and the mushrooms into small pieces.
Slice the onion finely.
Put a bowl and a plate to warm in a cool oven (set at lowest temperature).
Fry the chicken bits, the onion and the mushrooms.
Add the rice, the gochujang sauce and the stock.
Simmer at low heat until everything is hot (make the liquids thicken if the sauce is not thick enough).
Place the rice mixture into the warm bowl and keep in the oven until needed.
Prepare the omelette mixture.
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the omelette, destroying the bubbles which will form.
When the top of the omelette is almost set, put the pan aside.
Place the omelette on the heated plate.
Place the rice stuffing at the half of the omelette. (You can also do it in the pan but I found the transferring process very difficult).
Cover it with the other half, spread some gochujang sauce on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.