Omu-rice

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Broadcast date:April 4, 2014

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Rice
  • Eggs
  • Beans & Tofu
  • Flour
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Ingredients (Serves 4 )

・600 g warm, steamed rice
・1/2 (120 g) onion
・120 g chicken meat with the skin removed
・30 g butter
・100 ml (1/2 cup) ketchup (tomato sauce)
・6 eggs
・40 ml vegetable oil
・Salt & pepper
・Extra ketchup for coating the finished omelettes

Preparation

  1. Cube onion into 1 cm size pieces. Likewise cube the chicken into 1 cm pieces. Sprinkle the chicken with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Fry the onion over low heat until soft. Add the chicken and fry until it has cooked through. Add the ketchup, stirring well.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the warm rice, ensuring the rice is well mixed with the other ingredients. Return pan to the heat. Fry over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper. Divide the fried chicken rice into 4 portions. Shape each into a large almond shape on a plate with the aid of plastic wrap.
  4. Crack the eggs into a bowl, removing the whitish thread (chalaza) from around the yolks. Season with salt, and beat with a fork. Divide the mixture into 4 portions.
  5. Warm a small frying pan (about 20 cm in diameter) over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil, and ensure the oil spreads across the pan. Add one portion of egg mixture. Stir once or twice with a fork, then lift the pan about 10 cm from the heat and tilt it to ensure the egg mixture spreads evenly. Once the omelette has lightly set, remove the pan from the heat and place a portion of the fried rice in the centre.
  6. Use a fork to lift the edges of the omelette and lay them over the fried rice. Start from the back of the pan, and work your way to the front. Place a plate over the pan, and upend the pan to turn the omelette out on to the plate. Correct the shape with the aid of paper towels. Give the omelette a topping of ketchup.

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The Origins of Omu-rice

Omu-rice originated in Japan.  Rice fried with chicken and flavoured in a “western” style with ketchup is cloaked in an omelette, which are associated with French cuisine.  

The dish is thought to have appeared about a century ago when western-style cuisine was spreading around Japan.  Japan had only opened up to the outside world about fifty years earlier.  People were adapting western-style dishes to suit Japanese tastes.  Various western-inspired dishes were created, including omu-rice. Omu-rice is believed to have been devised by restaurants offering reasonably priced, western-style cuisine to the masses.

Several theories exist as to which place first created this dish.  One theory is that it was created as a meal for staff at a western-style restaurant in Tokyo.  It is thought to have devised something that could be eaten single-handedly by the busy kitchen staff, giving them a free hand to tend to pans over the heat.  Another theory is that the dish was created by a western-style restaurant in Osaka.  It is said to have offered regular patrons rice fried with mushrooms, onion and ketchup, and cloaked with an omelette.  It was so popular that it became a regular item on the menu.

One thing for certain is that this dish has always been popular among children.  And its popularity among adults is such that there are a number of restaurants specialising in omu-rice.  Numerous versions of omu-rice exist.  A deluxe version cloaks fried rice with a very lightly cooked omelette and a topping of demi-glace sauce.

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