Omu-rice is a recurring food that always seems to pop up in anime, particularly at times when feelings of love are in the air. Perhaps this is because it is typical to have a message or a person’s name written in ketchup across the top of the egg, which is perfect for round-about confessions of love. And, besides… the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right?
The pictures in this post are from Hanasaku Iroha, episode 20, where Ohana, Minchi, and their classmates decide to run a cafe for their school’s cultural festival. A conflict arises when Minchi, determined to make a menu to impress her crush, Tohru, clashes with a classmate who wants to make omu-rice in order to confess to the boy she likes. Minchi doesn’t think they have the necessary equipment to make omu-rice, and flat-out refuses to compromise at all. But, not to worry, since Ohana helps to resolve the situation by simplifying the cooking process – and she shows the viewer some important tips about cooking the “omu” of “omu-rice”!
About the recipe:
Omu-rice is basically fried rice wrapped or covered by egg and topped with ketchup. The word “omu-rice” is a combination of “omelette” and “rice”, and this dish is commonly made in many households, as well as in Western style restaurants, izakaya, and cafes (particularly maid cafes!) around Japan.
While the ingredients are simple, the hardest part of this recipe is creating the “omu” part of “omu-rice”. As Ohana shows us in Hanasaku Iroha, there are a variety of ways to create the omelette.
I will list the two most popular ways below in the recipe directions. But first, here’s a rundown of the two methods:
Method a. is perhaps more difficult – both to explain and to do… I’ve included two gifs with the instructions so you can see how the omelette should unfold over the rice. Basically, the egg is placed in the pan and, using chopsticks, you draw lines in the egg as it begins to set on the bottom of the pan. This creates ridges of cooked egg amid the still-liquid egg on top, further from the heat at the bottom of the pan.
At this point, the egg is gently and loosely rolled up, and then placed onto the rice. If done properly, the center of the omelette (where all those ridges of cooked egg and loose egg are) should still be quite loose, so that when you use a knife to cut lengthwise across the top layer of egg, it should slide open to cover your rice.
Method b. is a more traditional way of making an omelette: that is, actually folding the rice into the center of the egg. Though much more straightforward, you may run into problems such as breaking the egg while folding it over the rice, and having difficulty flipping the omelette onto a plate without rice going everywhere and the egg ripping.
For this method, it’s important to not over fill the omelette with rice, because you want the rice completely or almost completely wrapped up in the egg, and also because adding too much rice can cause the egg to rip or tear open while it is moved around the pan and transfered to the plate.
Well, those are my comments about this recipe! I will leave it up to the chef to decide how to cook the omelette!
About the ingredients:
The nice thing about omu-rice is that no special or unusual ingredients are required for this dish. You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now! Let’s start cooking!
Makes 2 large servings.
For the fried rice:
- 2 bowls of warm rice (about 1 cup of dried rice)
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- ½ onion, diced
- 50g chicken, cut into bite size pieces
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 consome cube (or 1 teaspoon concentrated chicken stock)
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp sugar
- 100 ml water
For the omelette:
- Salt and pepper
- Butter or oil for the pan
- 4 eggs
1. Melt butter in a pan. Fry chicken and diced onion until the chicken is browned and the onion begins to soften and become translucent.
2. Add consume cube, ketchup, sugar, and water to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the water mostly evaporates, leaving behind a thick liquid. Do not brown. Stir in peas.
3. Add rice and mix gently until incorporated, making sure not to break the rice grains into small pieces. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Heat up a frying pan with butter. While it’s heating, mound half of the fried rice on a plate and arrange in the shape of an oval with it’s two ends tapering to points. Whip eggs in a bowl until thoroughly mixed, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook half of the egg mixture as per one of the following instructions:
a. After pouring the eggs into the pan, use chopsticks to gently push the egg to the center, scraping the bottom of the pan to allow for the liquid egg on top to reach the heat at the bottom of the pan. The omelette should develop ridges of bucked solidified egg with some loose egg on top.
Once the bottom is somewhat solid enough to move, begin to gently fold the omelette over itself, rolling it over so that the ridges and loose egg are hidden between and beneath the smoother solidified egg that cooked against the bottom of the pan. Make sure to also taper the two long ends to match the shape of your rice.
Immediately remove the egg from the pan and gently place onto the rice. Use a knife to cut through the first layer of the egg, along the length of the omelette, allowing the egg to slip open, covering the rice completely.
b. Pour the eggs into the pan and let rest on a medium low heat until solidified on the bottom, swirling the uncooked egg around the pan to ensure it is evenly distributed. Be careful not to brown the egg. Once just solidified on the bottom of the pan, add half the rice along the center of the egg. Fold the top and bottom portions of the egg towards the middle. Flip omelette onto a plate.
5. Serve immediately and decorate with ketchup…. The egg is your canvas!