If you're like me and secretly enjoy covering your scrambled eggs in ketchup, then you'll love omurice(オムライス). "Omu" is an abbreviation for "omuretsu" (omelette pronounced with a Japanese accent) and "rice" (pronounced raisu) refers to the sweet and savory chicken rice it's filled with.
It's unclear where the dish originated, but in Japan omurice is considered yōshoku(western food) and it was probably created around the turn of the last century when western style cafes became popular. In older preparations it's made exactly like an omelette in that the chicken rice was wrapped in a thin sheet of egg. However, in more recent years, most places ditch the thin papery egg for a luscious blanket of soft scrambled eggs on top. There are even some restaurants that specialize exclusively in omurice.
The rice is seasoned mainly with ketchup, which makes it the perfect sweet and tangy contrast to the creamy egg on top. For my omurice, I like using this homemade ketchup because the red peppers and spices make for a more interesting flavor profile than plain old ketchup. I also tend to make this with leftovers when I roast a chicken. This not only saves time, I almost always have leftover roast carrots and onions as well, which I just chop up and add to the rice.
If ketchup with rice isn't your cup of tea, don't worry. The technique I outlined below for making the egg creates a rich, fluffy blanket of egg with curds that have just barely set, making this a tasty way to serve just about any kind of fried rice. I also like adding some cheese to the egg from time to time. Another way to change this up is to top the finished omurice with Hayashi sauce or Japanese curry
- Add the eggs, cream and salt to a bowl and beat until the whites and yolks are well combined.
- Add the oil to a 10" nonstick frying pan, then add the onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until the carrots are tender.
- Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken and continue sautéing until the chicken has warmed up. Add the rice to the pan, and use a spatula to break up the clumps and combine evenly.
- Add the ketchup and stir-fry until everything is well combined. Taste the rice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mound the rice on a plate, then put the pan back on the heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan.
- Use a spatula to gently stir up the curds a few times, but stop stirring just before there isn't enough liquid left to spread out across the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and turn down the heat to medium low.
- The eggs are done when they aren't runny anymore, but the top surface still appears wet. If you use a glass lid, the egg should be done when the glass is hot to the touch.
- Slide the egg out of the pan and onto the rice. Garnish with ketchup and parsley to serve.