A staple at home and found in many cafés, omurice (オムライス) is a very popular, classic dish in Japan. Sweet and savoury chicken fried rice is covered with a thin, fluffy omelette. It’s easy and fun to make, and tastes great too!
Omurice is a type of yōshoku (洋食) – a western-influenced Japanese dish. It is considered a dinnertime meal, and it’s a favourite among children. It’s easy to understand why. Just look at that delicious fried rice spilling out.. yum.
To make this recipe, there is something that you’re really going to need – Japanese ketchup. I know, ketchup on rice sounds a little strange. But not with Japanese ketchup. It’s much less sweet than the western kind. In fact, the flavour difference is significant enough that you can’t use it as a substitute. The most popular brand is Kagome. It’s fairly easy to get online or find at an Asian market.
How to cook Japanese omurice
This recipe makes two servings. Prep by cutting the onion into a small dice and the chicken into about one centimetre pieces.
Sauté them together with vegetable oil in a frying pan until the outside of the chicken whitens and the onion begins to turn translucent.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Mix in the ketchup and chicken bouillon powder, followed by sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir until they are well mixed in.
Once the chicken has cooked through, melt the butter in the pan.
Add your cooked rice and mix, making sure to coat every grain of rice in the sauce. Sauté until the rice gets a slightly glossy sheen, then remove it from the heat.
Plating the chicken fried rice
Pack half of the cooked chicken rice down into a small bowl. Place your serving plate upside down on top of the bowl.
Flip them both over together.
When you remove the bowl, you will have a perfect dome of rice. Repeat this with the other serving of rice.
You will be making each of the two omelettes separately, so these are the instructions for one serving’s omelette. Crack two eggs into a bowl and whisk them very well. Add two tablespoons of milk and one teaspoon of Japanese mayonnaise then mix well. Don’t worry about little lumps of mayonnaise remaining. These will melt when the omelette is cooking.
[ Japanese mayonnaise is made from egg yolk (rather than the whole egg), which gives it a richer flavour, more golden colour, and a custard-like texture. It also uses a higher quality vinegar than the western kind – apple cider or rice vinegar rather than distilled. The most popular brand is Kewpie. It is pretty easy to find as well, but this recipe uses so little of it that you can easily substitute it with regular mayonnaise here. ]
You will want to use a small, non-stick frying pan. Preferably one with a bottom that is small enough to make the omelette just big enough to fully cover your chicken rice. Heat the pan over high heat until it is very hot. Add a half tablespoon of butter and rotate the pan to coat it.
Immediately reduce the heat to low and pour in the egg mixture. Allow it to sit untouched for five seconds. Then you are going to take chopsticks and stir like crazy from the outside of the pan inwards, as much as you possibly can for just ten seconds. The more you stir, the fluffier your omelette will be.
Then you’re going to let it set without touching it for another ten seconds before removing the pan from the heat.
Plating the omelette
Use chopsticks to loosen the edges of the omelette from the pan. You’re going to drape the omelette on top of your plated chicken rice, with the side that was touching the pan facing upwards. Wipe the pan clean, then repeat the omelette making process for the other serving.
Finally, decorate your omurice with ketchup. Japanese ketchup comes in a squeeze bottle with a small tip that makes this easy. In fact, it’s very popular to decorate omurice in Japan with cute messages or drawings.
Time to enjoy! It’s so satisfying to cut into the soft and fluffy omelette to get at that flavourful chicken fried rice.
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Sweet and savoury chicken fried rice is covered with a thin, fluffy omelette in this much loved Japanese classic.
1/2 cup chicken breast, cut into 1 cm pieces
1/4 onion, diced small
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups cooked white rice
3.5 tbsp Japanese ketchup*
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tbsp salted butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp Japanese mayonnaise (or regular) **
1 tbsp salted butter
Sauté chicken and onion in a frying pan until the chicken whitens on the outside and onion begins to become translucent.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in ketchup and chicken bouillon. Add sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
When chicken is cooked through, melt the butter in the pan. Mix in the rice and sauté until it gets a shiny glazed look. Remove from heat.
Pack half of the chicken rice into a small bowl. Set a serving plate upside down on top, then flip both over to set the rice in a perfect circle shape. Carefully lift the bowl to remove. Repeat with other serving of rice.
Omelette (1 serving):
Break two eggs into a small bowl and whisk well. Mix in 2 tbsp of milk and 1 tsp mayonnaise. Don’t worry about small lumps of mayonnaise – it will melt when cooking.
Heat a small, non-stick frying pan (with a bottom large enough to cover the chicken rice) over high heat until very hot. Add 1/2 tbsp butter and rotate the pan to coat the bottom with butter.
Quickly turn the heat to low and pour in the egg mixture. Let sit for 5 seconds without touching it.
Using chopsticks, mix the omelette for just 10 seconds. You don’t have much time, so stir as quickly as possible, working from the outside edge of the pan inwards. The more you mix, the fluffier your omelette will be. Stop mixing and let the omelette cook without touching for 10 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat and use chopsticks to loosen the edges of the omelette from the pan. Slide the omelette on top of your plated chicken rice with the side of the omelette that was touching the pan facing up. If the omelette is a bit too big you can optionally trim the edges.
Wipe the pan clean and repeat with the other serving’s omelette.
Decorate the omurice with ketchup and serve.
* Japanese ketchup is very different in flavour from the western kind. It is much less sweet. I highly recommend using Japanese ketchup in this recipe. The most popular brand is Kagome ketchup, pictured above.
** Japanese mayonnaise is also different from the western kind. However, for this recipe you can substitute regular mayonnaise for the Japanese kind. Japanese mayonnaise uses only the egg yolk (rather than the whole egg) giving it a richer flavour, more golden colour, and a custard-like texture. It also uses a higher quality vinegar, such as apple cider or rice vinegar, rather than distilled. The most famous is Kewpie brand, recognizable by the doll on the bottle.
Keywords: omurice, chicken omurice, Japanese omurice