In the Apicius Culinary School cook-off, one of the entries consisted of pan grilled chicken and rice wrapped in egg. I loved the presentation but I thought that the rice omelet didn’t really go well with the rest of the dish. When reader Nina commented that egg-wrapped rice is common in Brunei, I started searching for the culinary roots of rice omelet.
Found in both Japanese and Korean cuisines (probably brought by Japan to Korea during the occupation in the early 1900s), omurice, or omelet rice, is a great way of making good use of small amounts of meat and vegetables that, individually, might not be enough to complete a whole dish. And because it has everything in it, omurice is a complete meal.
Japanese omurice is traditionally made with chicken fillets but since omurice is a product of fusion cooking (ergo, it is drizzled with ketchup), any meat or vegetables can be used and what seasonings to flavor the rice with depends on what taste you are aiming for. If you want Japanese-tasting omurice, use traditional Japanese seasonings like soy sauce, sake, mirin, dashi and wasabi. If you prefer Korean flavors, you may add chopped kimchi or a dash of chili paste. My version is as fusion as fusion can get — Chinese style fried rice wrapped in egg.
The trick to the successful execution of the omurice is to use short-grain rice (generally stickier than long grain) and to keep the egg wrapper really, really thin. The sticky rice will help keep the filling together; the thin egg wrapper is easier to fold and roll than a thick wrapper. How many eggs you will need or can use depends on the width of your frying pan. I used an eight-inch pan which could only accommodate one egg per omelet. … Continue reading »