Omurice (Fried Rice Omelette)

Japanese Omurice - Fried Rice Omlette by A Little Yumminess

Japanese Omurice: an omelette wrapped around fried rice…. so homey, so simple, so genius (and a great way to use up some leftovers)! We came upon our first fried rice omlette in Hawaii on the Big Island at Teshima’s in Kealakekua. It’s one of their house specialties, although in their case they do it island-style by stir frying their rice with spam or Portuguese linguica. In my subsequent reading up on this dish, I learned that it’s a one of those items you’ll often find on kids’ menus in Japan. So I suppose it’s like the Japanese equivalent of macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets, but in my opinion it’s leaps and bounds better. Don’t get me started on kids’ menus — erghhh!

For me fried rice is one of those “cooking 101” kind of dishes that every kid should learn how to make. It’s not really a recipe so much as a technique: fry an egg, fry some left over rice until it’s a little bit crispy, chop and sizzle up some leftovers, splash a few Asian sauces then toss it all together into one glorious bowl of yumminess. Lately we’ve been experimenting with some variations on fried rice: Jean George’s elegantly minimal leek, ginger and garlic version, and also with using various kinds of rices, but the leftover, “kitchen sink” version remains our favorite. I am convinced that you will always be surrounded by friends if you know how to make a tasty fried rice. And now that Luca is just old enough to start working at the stove with supervision one of our summer vacation projects is “fried rice” class. Perhaps we’ll even bring in Gung Gung for a little master class (learning from mom is good, but learning from grandpa is better!).

Omurice takes humble fried rice to a slightly new place, putting the egg on the outside and wrapping it all up into a pretty omelette package. My two main takeaways from attempting this dish at home is that you need a good pan, one that you know will absolutely not stick and will allow your finished omelette to slide easily onto your serving plate. If you succeed, you will feel like Jacques Pepin! Secondly, while I normally like the grains of my fried rice to be dry and separated (using leftover rice is the cardinal rule of fried-rice making) in the case of omurice, slightly moister rice works better. A moister rice will cling together so that your entire omelette doesn’t tumble out when you cut into it.

Omlette Fried Rice - A Little Yumminess

Omurice – Japanese Fried Rice Omelette

(makes 1 large omelette: enough for one hungry adult or 2 kids. Scale up the ingredients to feed more people, but to keep the proportions right make omelettes in 2 egg + 1 cup fried rice batches)

  • 1 cup leftover rice
  • Fried rice add-ins of your choice: chopped leftovers, grated carrot, frozen peas, etc.
  • Your favorite Asian sauces such as soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce
  • Sliced Scallion and cilantro leaves
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Make the fried rice (this can be done in advance of making the omurice, just reheat the fried rice before filling your omelette):

  1. Lightly oil a saute pan, add the rice and stir fry until some of the grains start to get crispy (about 5-8 minutes). ** In the picture above, I sauteed some leeks first before adding my rice. **
  2. While the rice is crisping, prep your fried rice ingredients (chop leftovers into bite sized pieces, defrost a handful of frozen peas, grate a carrot, etc.).
  3. When the rice is crisped, stir in your add-ins until they are framed through and well incorporated into the rice.
  4. Season to taste with soy sauce, sesame oil, and a dash of oyster sauce and garnish with chopped scallion and cilantro.

Make and fill the omelette:

  1. Heat about 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl then pour the eggs into the hot pan, tilting the pan so that the egg coats the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cook the eggs, swirling pan, until omelette sets but top is still moist (1-2 minutes). Check to make sure your omelette is not sticking by lifting up the sides and loosening it as needed. Shake the omlette in the pan to make sure it moves and will slide out after you fill it.
  4. Arrange the fried rice down center. Using a rubber spatula, slide omelette onto a plate, then roll the omelette around the filling.

If you want to be authentic, serve with ketchup, if you’re Simran pour on the Sriracha.

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You may also like: Dad’s International Fried Rice, Soy Dijon Chicken and Buttered Corn Fried Rice

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Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Goes Global

It’s Thanksgiving morning and we’re looking forward to chowing down on turkey, mashed potatoes and all the fixins with the family. My very ambitious goal for today is to somehow manage to save some room for a sliver of pumpkin pie and a sliver of my husband’s granny smith apple pie. Dare to dream!

I’m in the “I love leftovers” camp, so as I sip my coffee and catch up on Top Chef this lazy holiday morning, I’m mulling over some possibilities for the foil covered paper plate of Thanksgiving turkey that will make its way back home with us. My dad’s “international fried rice” is a definite contender (heck, throw the cranberries and sweet potatoes in there too.) But I’m also thinking about some of our favorite global recipes that would be perfect with a substitution of some leftover turkey. Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving  — happy eating!

Vietnamese Bun Thit Nuong (Rice Noodle Bowls) with Nuoc Cham

Mexican Chilaquiles

Carribbean Cha Cha Bowls

Indian Turkey Tikka Masala

Thai Lemongrass Turkey and Coconut Soup


Sesame-Avocado Brown Rice Bowls

Soy-Dijon Wings & Buttered Corn Fried Rice

I love cooking fusion food and a lot of what I end up cooking is often a fusion of East & West.  Ming Tsai is a master of fusion food and I am intrigued by almost everything he makes.  Simply Ming is one of my favorite cookbooks and it is going to take a lot for me to return my copy to the library (another cookbook purchase in the making).

The soy-dijon marinade is a breeze to make and keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Ming says it is his “classic” marinade and really does the job not only for meat and poultry, but also thick-fleshed mushrooms like portabellos or creminis.  It can also work on “steak” like fish like salmon and swordfish.  Marinate the fish for an hour before cooking it.

Ria enjoyed the wings and buttery corn fried rice for dinner.  This marinade is about to become a regular at our home.  Make a double batch and give some to a friend – they’ll be grateful for the help with dinner.

Soy Dijon Marinade (from Simply Ming by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm)

Ingredients

Makes 3 cups

  • 1/8 cup cracked black peppercorns, plus freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional if making for kids or use less)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tbsp dried
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil

Method

  1. If using, heat the peppercorns over medium high heat, stirring until the peppercorns are fragrant and just begin to smoke 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a jar and add the salt, wine, mustard, soy sauce, thyme and garlic. Cover with lid and shake to emulsify the mixture.

This was way more marinade than I needed for chicken wings for dinner so I am saving the rest in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.  I used about 3/4 cup for 2 lbs of chicken wings and cooked the wings in the oven at 375F for 30-35 minutes on a tray lined with foil and turned the wings over half-way through.  If you like some “burnage”/char on your wings, broil for an additional 5 minutes at the end.

The butter corn fried rice consisted of butter, canola oil, frozen corn, leftover rice, soy sauce, white pepper and eggs.  I broke the eggs right into the corn and rice mixture after I was done sauteing them in the butter and oil.  You can start with some chopped scallions or onions but it is not necessary.

When Life Gives You Leftovers, Make Fried Rice

My favorite food is the food my dad makes for me. He’s as apt to make an involved, multi-course chinese meal as a big pot of rustic minestrone soup. It’s hard to pick an all-time favorite, but for sentimental reasons his “international fried rice” holds a special place in my heart. The spirit of this dish really represents my dad: thrifty, inventive, laid back, homey.

The key is the rice which must be a few days old (ideally a little dried out from being in the refrigerator). The next critical component are your leftovers which can be of any international variety. I’ve seen my dad throw in everything from black bean sauce chicken to Indian take out and even on occasion, spaghetti. Some of my favorite versions of all time were cooked on the final mornings of camping trips, in a cast iron skillet over a campfire. (Yes, my family cooked rice on camping trips.). Some of you may have boundaries for crazy food combinations, but I find fried rice has virtually no limits.

After watching may dad dozens and dozens of times, I started making fried rice in college and have kept on ever since. It shows up on our table often as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Depending on what you include, it can be an “all in one meal” that even picky kids like my son will happily eat. So the next time you find yourself with a random assortment of otherwise uninspiring leftovers, consider making your own contribution to the genre of international fried rice.

Dad’s International Fried Rice

There are probably as many methods of fried rice making as there are fried rice makers, but this is how I do it:

1. Make your omelet by beating a couple of eggs well (I usually add a pinch of salt and some finely minced chives if I have some). Cook in a lightly oiled plan until set. Flip and cook through. Rough chop and set aside. (if your omelet turns out more like scrambled eggs, no worries since you’re chopping it up anyway.

2. Dice your various leftovers and set aside. You want to eliminate any excess sauce from your leftovers which will take away from the crispy, fluffy yumminess of the final dish. If I don’t have leftover cooked vegetables on hand, I usually just throw in some frozen peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking and let them warm through.

4. Drizzle a little more oil in the pan and let it get quite hot. Break up your rice into the pan. Ideally, your rice will be a couple of days old and dried out. Let it warm through and take the time to let it get a crispy in places. I’ve learned over the years, that it’s worth not short changing this step. Letting a bit of the rice get golden and crispy makes all the difference. Sprinkle the rice ever so gently with some soy sauce. If you have some grated ginger on hand (which you will if you use this handy little trick), add some in and fry along with the rice.

5. Add in your diced leftovers and vegetables. Toss well and let warm through. Add your chopped omelet (and optional frozen peas). Toss well and warm though.

6. Taste and season to taste with whatever combination of sauces you like. I sometimes use a few drops of sesame oil, and a light touch of oyster sauce or chili paste depending on how flavorful the leftovers were. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and scallion.