Personally I find it rather difficult to prepare a Japanese meal at home. Partly because the main ingredients I have in my pantry are catered towards local cooking. I do have some Japanese condiments and sauces but if I were to prepare Japanese dishes, usually they would be very quick and easy ones which I further localise and improvise. And partly because the Japanese (even the homemakers) are so refined and meticulous (in their preparation of ingredients, cooking process and presentation) that I find it hard to follow! Yep, I admit that I'm very clumsy in the kitchen; I could never be a Japanese homemaker!
Anyway, when Alan of Travelling Foodies and Wendy of Table for 2. or More sent open invitations to join the Asian Food Fest Japan, I'm rather hesitant as I'm not confident of producing something worthy. When the Malaysia Food Fest was in the running for the past year, I hadn't join in as I was busy and unfamiliar with Malaysian cuisine *excuses*. Since I love Japan so much, I should try hor? So I mustered my courage and attempted my first official entry for AFF Japan - Omurice オムライス.
The Omurice オムライス is a classic example of contemporary Japanese cuisine Yōshoku 洋食 which is influenced by Western cuisine. It is a popular dish that can be found at many family restaurants in Japan; and it's also supposedly an easy dish that Japanese homemakers would cook for their kids. This dish typically consists of chicken rice pan-fried with ketchup and wrapped in a thin sheet of omelette, then served with ketchup or demi-glace sauce.
I love love love ketchup so decided to challenge myself to make this dish at home! I got the recipe from youtube channel: Cooking with Dog, which specialises in Japanese home-style cooking hosted by a cool poodle Francis (very cute channel!). The chef in the show made it look so easy that I thought I can do it too!
Well, I was so wrong. This was my third attempt which looked slightly more presentable. Frying the rice was easy peasy actually. It was the omelette that killed me! During my first attempt, I think the heat was too strong when I poured the egg mixture into the frying pan, before I had time to "stir the egg mixture vigorously with a chopstick", the omelette was already cooked and hardened. LOL.
During the second attempt, I carefully controlled the heat of the pan and all seemed well until I placed the fried rice onto the omelette and tried to wrap the egg on top of the rice. I think there was too much rice so it was quite hard to wrap. Then as I flipped the omurice onto a plate, the egg broke and the fried rice dropped all over the place. Quite a disaster I must say!
I decided to give myself one last chance. And this time, it went reasonably well. I placed only half of the fried rice onto the omelette as I was afraid that the omelette might burst again. Hence my omurice looked quite slim; still presentable except for the sides of the omelette which looked quite ugly (couldn't get the omurice into shape of a rugby). So I cropped the sides of the photo. Kekekeke. Sorry!
Recipe from Cooking with dog
130g Boneless Chicken Thigh, cut into cubes and season with salt & pepper
¼ Onion, finely chopped
1 Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
4 Button Mushrooms, sliced
30g Frozen Green Peas, blanch with boiling water
200g Canned Tomato (I use canned diced tomato)
½ Bouillon Cube (I use chicken stock cube)
1 tbsp White Wine (I use Japanese cooking wine)
1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 Bay Leaf
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil (I use canola oil)
280g Steamed Rice cooked with less water (use short grain rice where possible)
2 tsp Whipping Cream
Salt & Pepper
- Heat frying pan with some olive or canola oil. Saute garlic till there's a nice aroma. Then add the onion and saute till translucent.
- Next add the chicken and stir fry till chicken begins to brown. Add the mushroom and continue to saute.
- Add the wine, canned tomato, ketchup, bouillon cube and bay leaf, frying continuously.
- When the mixture begins to sizzle, add the green peas and saute till sauce is reduced. Remove the bay leave.
- Add the rice into the mixture and fry evenly. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the fried rice from pan and divide into 2 portions.
- Preparing the omelette: Crack 2 eggs into a bowl, add whipping cream and stir till blended.
- Heat the frying pan with some olive or canola oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Pour the egg mixture into the pan (maintain low heat) and stir the mixture vigorously with chopsticks, and swirl the mixture around the pan.
- Once omelette is semi-cooked, place the chicken rice onto the centre of the omelette and wrap both sides of the omelette onto the rice. Gently push the omelette to the side of the pan and flip the omurice onto a plate.
- Shape the omurice using kitchen towel. Decorate with salad and ketchup and serve warm.
There's another method of cooking the omelette such that the centre is semi-cooked and runny and when you slice the omelette, the egg just flows down beautifully. Here's an impressive video of omurice prepared by a Japanese chef in Kyoto. Don't think I can ever do this!