Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Omelet rice オムライス

One evening, this was what we had as a shime 〆 or ending dish. I thought about what we had in the fridge and suggested to my wife "chicken omelet rice" or "omuraisu" オムライス. Omuraisu, "omu" is short for "omelet" and "raisu" i.e. rice in Japanese. It is a quintessential Japanese style Western "Yoshoku" 洋食 dish and also one "kids" like. I am not sure about the history of omuraisu but the movie "Tampopo" たんぽぽ made a version of omuraisu famous. Please see this link for the details and the actual movie footage.

The basic omurice is fried rice flavored with ketchup and covered with an omelet. I do remember my mother making it for us when we were kids. She had a special rice mold just for omurice.
You cannot really appreciate the size of this omurice seen above but this is a miniature version and probably less than 1/3 of the usual size. As such it is a perfect shime or ending dish for us.

Rice: As ususal I used previously frozen rice (about 1/2 cup) which was briefly microwaved; not warm but the grains could be separated (in my case about 30-40 seconds).

I used finely chopped shallot (1 medium or onion), leftover barbecued chicken (meat from one leg, cut into small cubes), and parsley (several sprigs, finely chopped). The more authentic recipe calls for canned green peas for greenery.

I added light olive oil (1 tbs) to a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. I first sautéed the shallot for 1 minute or until it became semi transparent, I then added the chicken meat and the rice and fried them for 1-2 minutes. I seasoned it with salt and pepper. I then moved the rice mixture to one side making an empty area in the frying pan. I added about 2 tbs of ketchup and stirred using a silicon spatula without mixing it with the rice for 1 minutes until the color darkened (which makes the flavor of ketchup a bit more complex).  I then mixed the ketchup with the rice mixture and added the parsley. I tasted (adjust the seasonings if needed) but did not need more seasonings.

After I divided the fried rice into two portions, I cleaned the frying pan and added a pat of butter and one egg (beaten) to make a thin omelet. I devided the omelet in half and draped it over the mound of rice and adjusted the shape to make it presentable. I squirted the ketchup on the top and added parsely springs as a garnish. If you have, you could erect a small Japanese flag or any national flag of your choice on the omuraisu but that is for kids. I have no idea  why a flag is used to decorate a "lunch" for kids or "Okosama ranchi" お子様ランチ in which "omuraisu" is one of the most popular items.

My wife is not crazy about "ketchup" flavored rice but I think this is a perfectly fine dish for adults to end the evening as long as you do not erect a national flag on it.

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