Best Omurice Recipes
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When a western omelette meets a typical Japanese fried rice, this gives the omurice! Find out why this tasty dish is so popular on Japanese family tables.
What is omurice?
Omurice is a Japanese dish made with a thin, airy omelette wrapped in a chicken stir-fried rice mixture seasoned with ketchup sauce. The Japanese like to decorate the top of the omelet with small ketchup designs.
This dish, composed of ingredients found everywhere, is very easy to reproduce on our Western tables. In Japan, it is common to make an omurice with leftover chikin raisu (chicken fried rice) from the day before.
If the addition of ketchup in the sautéed rice seems surprising, this condiment gives this slightly sweet taste that is the hallmark of the dish. For convenience, most Japanese use commercially-purchased ketchup in bottles. However, you can make your own homemade ketchup to create a richer and more personalized flavor.
For those who do not like ketchup, a variant of omurice uses hayashi rice sauce, a traditional stew of beef and vegetables.
What is the origin of omurice?
Omurice (オムライス), also called omuraisu, appeared in the early 1900s, along with many other iconic yōshoku dishes. The concept of fusion cuisine, born in the Meiji era, consists of adapting dishes from Western to Japanese origins.
If the exact origins of this recipe remain uncertain, it is thought that it was probably created in Tokyo, in one of the western-style restaurants of the time. Renga-tei, a restaurant famous for popularizing tonkatsu (Japanese fried pork), also claims to be at the origin of this dish.
The name omurice is what the Japanese call a wasei-eigo, that is, a type of term borrowing words from the English language. Omurice is thus a contraction of the Japanese word omuretsu, meaning “omelette” and rice.
In Japan, it is one of the most popular dishes among children and is often found on the menu of family restaurants. Lovers of anime, these Japanese series and animated films, will also recognize the dish that makes frequent appearances.
Over the last century, omurice has crossed the borders of Japan to invite itself to the plates of other Asian countries. After the Japanese colonization, it became particularly widespread in Korea.
The B-kyu gurume, the casual Japanese cuisine
Omurice is both part of the family of yōshoku, these recipes of Western inspiration, but also of B-kyu gurume, literally “second-class gastronomy”. This type of cuisine refers to family dishes, simple to make and inexpensive.
Born in the mid-80s, B-kyu gurume became popular in the 90s, when the economy of the country was in crisis. Before this period, it was customary for Japanese to dine in upscale and gourmet restaurants to confirm their social class. The appearance of this second-rate cuisine then upset the Japanese culture and the idea that it was absolutely necessary to pay a high bill to eat well.
In addition to omurice, B-kyu gurume includes dishes like ramens, yakisoba, okonomiyaki or tonkatsu.
What are the variants of omurice?
In Japan, there are almost as many versions of the omurice as homes: each achieved a little in its own way and according to people’s tastes. To vary from the chicken, you can complement the rice with beef, pork, shrimp or simply vegetables to make it vegetarian.
As the wrapping of the omelette can be tricky, many people just make scrambled eggs and put them on a bed of stir-fried rice.
A more elaborate version of the omurice is called “explosive omelette” or tampopo omurice, in reference to a scene from the famous Japanese film. Here, the eggs are cooked like a very creamy omelette, rolled up. The rice is on the side of the plate, shaped in an oval and compact form. The half-cooked omelette is then placed on top and split lengthwise to come to spread on the rice.
On the island of Okinawa, the inhabitants have their own variant of omurice called omutako. Instead of the classic fried rice, they use taco rice to stuff the omelette, a typical regional dish that mixes rice and beef with a seasoning of Mexican spices.
Finally, omusoba is based on the same principle as omurice, but with yakisoba, Japanese noodles sautéed in a pan.
How to make omurice
As is the case with any fried rice, use day old rice if available. If you need to make fresh rice, make it slightly drier by using a little less water than usual. It also helps if you rinse the rice well by vigorously swishing around with your hand. This washes off the starch on the surface of the rice, so the cooked rice won&rsquot be as sticky.
If you don&rsquot favor ketchup in fried rice, it can be omitted. The fried rice will still be delicious inside the soft egg omelette. Likewise, you can increase or decrease the amount of ketchup to your liking.
Japanese omurice is typically made with chicken, but Koreans commonly use beef, pork or ham as well. Shrimp is another good option. For vegetables, I used carrot, onion, and scallion. You can also add a couple spoonfuls of chopped celery, zucchini, or mushrooms.
I used 2 eggs per serving for this recipe, but you can use 3 if you want a thick omelette covering your rice. You can also add a little bit of heavy cream or milk for a softer omelette, but I didn&rsquot include it in this recipe.
If you are interested in trying more omelette recipes, consider the following:
For more Korean cooking inspirations, follow along on YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
8 oz. boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut in small cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large scallion stalk, finely sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup ketchup
4 cups cooked white rice
2 Tbsp. butter
Salt to taste
ketchup or tonkatsu sauce
For the omelets
2 tsp. milk
2 Tbsp. butter
Stir together chicken stock and ketchup until smooth and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken cubes and sauté for one minute. Add the carrots and scallions and sauté for another three minutes. Add the ketchup mixture, turn up the heat and simmer it until most of the liquid has cooked out and the chicken mixture is glazed with a thick ketchup sauce, 5-7 minutes. Stir it frequently so the sugars from the ketchup don’t burn. Add the rice, breaking up any clumps. Stir mixture together until well coated, add peas, and remove to a separate dish.
Clean the skillet. Beat together two eggs, one teaspoon of milk, and a pinch of salt. Melt a tablespoon of butter in the skillet, distributing it evenly. Pour egg mixtures into medium hot skillet, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. Gently pull edges of the egg inward to allow uncooked egg to flow to the edge. You should have a smooth thin egg disk. Cover the pan, turn the heat down quite low and allow the egg to cook until the top of the disk is nearly solid. Fill half of the omelet with a large mound of warm rice mixture. Don’t go crazy—you still want to the omelet to fold over neatly to enclose the rice, but it should be plump-looking. Use chopsticks or a spatula to fold the other half of the omelet over the rice, and slide onto your dinner plate.
Repeat omelet procedure above for second omurice. You will have rice filling leftover, but that’s a good thing as it’s still tasty the next day for lunch.
Ketchup Omurice With Chicken
To make the fried rice for both this recipe and the one below, I followed Kenji's fried-rice techniques, using a carbon steel skillet in place of a wok. You can also use a nonstick skillet if you don't have carbon steel cast iron will be difficult, unfortunately, since a cast iron skillet typically has straight sides, making it hard to toss its contents.
Because this is a Japanese dish, I opted for Japanese-style short-grain rice (the kind commonly used for sushi), which, as Kenji found in his fried-rice testing, delivers an awesome chewy bite, but can also be a little more prone to clumping due to its high amylopectin content. This isn't too hard to deal with, though: The key is to fry the rice in batches in a very hot pan, breaking it up as it cooks.
The reason for working in batches is twofold. First, it's easier to break up any clumps of rice when there isn't too much rice in the pan. Second, and even more important, it keeps that pan as hot as possible. Add too much cold or room-temperature rice to the hot pan, and its temperature will drop, making it more difficult to brown the rice properly (an issue home cooks tend to have, since our burners are generally much weaker than a restaurant's).
As each batch of rice finishes, just transfer it to a bowl and fry the next one.
Next, I sauté diced carrots and onion until they're just tender and browned, then toss in some diced boneless, skinless chicken thigh until it's lightly browned and just cooked through.
Then the rice goes back into the pan, and I toss it with the vegetables. At this point, it's finally time for the sauce, which, in this case, is just ketchup loosened slightly with water. I toss and stir it all together again until the rice is coated in a lightly saucy, oily sheen. I scrape it out into a bowl, packing it down and eventually turning it out onto a plate as soon as the omelette is done.
As for the omelette, it couldn't be easier. Simply beat four eggs with a pinch of salt, then pour them into a preheated 10-inch nonstick skillet with a little bit of oil. Rapidly stir and shake the pan to quickly form small curds, stopping before the eggs begin to scramble.
Use a rubber spatula to push them around and form an even circle in the skillet. It should have soft-cooked curds on top, and be set on the bottom after a few seconds.
Just slide it out of the pan onto the mound of rice. Top it off with a squeeze of ketchup and maybe some Kewpie mayo, and you're all set.
How to make Omu rice?
There are two popular versions of how it's cooked
The traditional way and much easier way is to scramble the eggs on a bowl, pour it on the pan and let it cook. Wait until the downside is cooked slightly but the topside is still moist. Then pour the rice on top then fold the sides of the egg is wrapped around the rice.
The other, more difficult way and the one you are likely to see in Japanese restaurants, is where you first cook your fried rice separately then put it into a plate and shape it like an inverted boat. After that, a half-cooked scrambled eggs delicately folded around itself, thereby enclosing the half-raw center, will be placed on top of the rice. It has to be sliced open for the inside to ooze out blanketing completely over the rice. A demi-glace is then poured on top.
Being a glutton for punishment (but only from time to time), I opted to make the second one!
Omurice, omelet rice, is ketchup fried rice wrapped with a crepe-like thinly fried egg. Doesn’t sound like Japanese food, does it? Omurice is a “western style” dish created in Japan in the early 1900s. For over 100 years, Omurice has been a very popular food for people of all ages, especially kids.
Omurice is often served at western style Japanese restaurants where Hamburger Steaks and Curry and Rice are also on the menu. Today, there are omelet specialty restaurants in Japan, and they have a lot of different and elaborate kinds of Omurice. Omurice can be covered with cream sauce or demi-glace brown sauce, while basic Omurice is usually finished with ketchup. At restaurants recently, more eggs are used and the trend seems to be for the eggs to be soft and runny, although more traditional Omurice egg is cooked very thin.
Ketchup fried rice may sound a little strange, but it is more like tomato pilaf. The typical meat used in Omurice is chicken fried in butter which has an aroma that makes this dish taste western. However, you could use ground beef, shrimp or anything you like.
We put rice and eggs together separately because it may be a little easier, although many people wrap rice with eggs in a frying pan. Do whichever works for you. It tastes great either way!
- 1 chicken thigh
- 1 small onion
- 1Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp oil
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp ketchup
- 1/4 cup frozen green peas
Spirited Away is one of the best anime movies of all time where food plays a significant role. This classic anime is packed with delicious traditional Japanese dishes and popular snacks, that will give you some serious cravings.
Restaurant to Another World is a fun and magical show about a seemingly normal restaurant in Tokyo, where they offer a lot of Japanese versions of Western dishes. Their opening hours are also usual with the weird exceptions that they close up shop during holidays and weekends.
When they’re closed to everyday people, they open their magical door that creates a doorway to another world that’s inhabited by all kinds of magical beings.
You will get to meet dragons, animal men, elves and all kinds of magical beings who visit the restaurant for it’s exotic and delicious food.
-20g mixed vegetables (optional)
-30g boneless, skinless chicken thigh
-pinch of salt and pepper
-2tbsp butter (1 for eggs and 1 for rice)
-2tbsp okonomi (sweet and savory sauce) or Japanese-style Worcester sauce (may be available at an Asian supermarket). This can be substituted by an HP sauce.
-2tbsp red wine
What it is: A simple bread roll with strong coffee.
Why it's awesome: Before Oreos dunked in milk, Filipinos had pandesal and coffee. Perfect for those quick bites before school or work. Recipe here.