Vegan Omurice recipe

First things first: my first recipe book is finally launched on Amazon US! They can ship to many other countries too. UK launch will be in April 2021, you can preview the book here. Thanks for your support since the local launch last year!

Best eaten with a spoon!

Omurice is a popular dish in Japan, and it’s also pretty well-known in some other Asian countries. Savoury with a slight sweetness, it’s particularly enjoyed by children. There are 2 mains parts to this dish – fried ketchup rice wrapped in a soft omelette, thus the name. The latter part poses the main challenge here, therefore this is not the easiest recipe. Since I didn’t want to use expensive ingredients like Just Egg, I had to figure out my own blend that works well, using affordable ingredients, tastes and feels similar to omelette.

Grated nagaimo was the first thing that came to my mind, due to it’s magical binding qualities. It remains flavourless when mixed with other ingredients.

Firstly, the rice. It’s the easy part of this recipe but there are a few things we should pay attention to. Use Japonica/short grained rice if you want to be able to handle the wrapping and transferring from pan to plate easily. Jasmine rice will break apart, which makes wrapping more difficult. If you only have Thai or Vietnamese rice, add a splash of stock during cooking to make the rice slightly more sticky. You can also make the fried rice in advance and heat it up once your “omelette” is done. My favourite tool to make fried rice with is definitely a wok over fire, but in Japan, non-stick saucepans are more commonly used as not every house has gas. So feel free to choose what suits you best. 

I used Japonica brown rice from NTUC.

Next, the “omelette” is made of 3 basic ingredients – firm tofu (tau kwa), grated nagaimo (wai shan/Chinese mountain yam) and aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas). That’s all! The rest is just turmeric for colouring, black salt (kala namak) and soy sauce for seasoning. You’ll need a blender or food processor for this, just like my book’s tomato tofu scramble. Tofu gives the base creaminess, grated nagaimo contributes the starch and other components necessary for binding and aquafaba gives the lift that’ll make the tofu omelette fluffy and soft. You’ll also need some patience because this tofu-based blend doesn’t behave exactly like egg. It’s much more fragile and can break quite easily thus this consistency is thick so it can hold. Try to handle it gently too.

Black salt (kala namak) gives a nice umami and eggy flavour. Available from Mustafa or Shopee. Mine was bought as salt chunks so I hammered them down to this.

One difference between this tofu omelette base and my tomato tofu scramble’s one is the addition of grated nagaimo. Omurice’s omelette needs to be folded, so it should not break while doing so. Grated nagaimo gives the binding needed while keeping the smooth texture. For tomato tofu scramble, since it’s going to be broken up anyway, we don’t have to add this ingredient. I’ve not tried this with flaxseed powder, I seldom buy it because it’s expensive.

Simply blend the base “omelette” ingredients to this texture and pan fry.
I used onions, shimeji mushrooms and OmniMeat Luncheon (available at Green Common) in my fried rice.
The fried rice is so good that you can have it on its own.
The tofu omelette can be eaten as a veggie omelette too. Just top it with veggies of your choice when cooking.
The tricky part is the wrapping. But don’t worry, just have fun with it!

Vegan Omurice

(serves 2 very hungry people or 3 not-so-hungry people)

Fried Rice

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic/onion (use a tsp toon paste + 1 tsp grated ginger for alliums free option)
  • 2 cups overnight rice
  • 1/4 cup ketchup or to taste
  • White and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped shimeji mushrooms (or other mushrooms or hard veggies you like)
  • 1/3 cup of chopped protein of your choice (I used 1 piece of Omnimeat Luncheon since I bought it for CNY)

Heat oil in a wok or saucepan over medium heat (with a wok, I usually use medium high heat). Sauté garlic or toon paste & ginger till aromatic. Add soy sauce and let it simmer for 5 seconds to reduce. It should smell really good now. Add the chopped mushrooms/hard veggies, flip till ingredients are coated and of an even colour. Add rice, ketchup, chilli sauce, black and white pepper if using. Use a spatula to break the rice up if needed, and flip/mix till each grain is an even reddish colour. Taste and add more pepper/salt/soy sauce/ketchup if preferred.

Tofu omelette

  • 440g firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup aquafaba
  • 1/4 cup grated nagaimo
  • 1 tsp black salt, more on the side to garnish and season to taste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp oil, for frying, more if needed

Blend all tofu omelette ingredients except oil, to a creamy consistency. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over low-medium heat. Scoop about 3/4 cup of the mixture into the hot pan. Use a spatula to even and flatten it. Sprinkle a pinch of black salt and some ground black pepper over the omelette if you like. Cover and let it cook for 3-4 mins, until edges are browned. Shake the pan a bit to ensure that it’s loosened. The colour should be a darker yellow now. Remove from heat.

Side salad (optional)

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Blanched broccoli
  • Few leaves of any greens like lettuce, arugula, roquette, shredded raw cabbage etc
  • Dressing of your choice

Assembly:

Place about 3/4 cup of rice on one side of the tofu omelette, press down gently with a spatula to ensure it sticks. Using your spatula, flip the other end over the rice. Now it should be mostly, or fully wrapped, depending on how big your pan is and much rice you added. Here, I like to flip the slightly opened side to the spatula and gently transfer to a plate, so the perfectly wrapped side is facing up. Decorate with ketchup to your liking and add the optional side salad. Serve hot.

Works well in lunchboxes too!

Notes:

  • Making the perfect tofu omelette requires a bit of practice, so don’t worry if it breaks/cracks at first. The taste will still be the same and you can sort of tuck the cracked/broken edges under the rice so the end result will still look nice when plated.
  • Use a good non-stick frying pan for this. It’s important that the tofu omelette doesn’t stick, so you won’t end up with charred and scrambled tofu.
  • You can make the fried rice a day in advance. Simply reheat it before adding onto the tofu omelette.
  • You can also blend the tofu mixture a day in advance. It has to be refrigerated.
  • Sprinkling some black salt on the tofu omelette after removing from heat will ensure that the eggy flavour remains. I like to do it while cooking, as my black salt is in small chunks, so it can melt. You can skip this step if you like but I think it makes the tofu omelette taste better.
 

New site launch+Tomato tofu scramble

Hello everyone, welcome to my new site!

I started morethanveggies almost 5 years ago as a way to show the world that healthy, ethical eating doesn’t mean chomping green veggies. It’s finally time to upgrade to a better and more user-friendly site for your Asian vegan recipe needs! This is where I’ll be posting new content now, with more focus on local Singaporean and traditional Asian foods. To stay updated simply enter your email at the sidebar to subscribe! This site is wonderfully brought to life by the talented people at itwonders based on my design.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone that read, shared and contributed over the years. Hearing you say that the content have helped you, is my best reward. I be working harder to make recipes and guides as my main aim is to make the lives of fellow veg*ns easier, and to inspire people to make healthier & more ethical choices. So here’s a recipe for all you lovely people!

This dish is inspired by the classic Chinese dish, tomato egg stir fry and adapted from blissfulbasil. If you grew up in a Chinese household, most likely you have eaten since it’s a common dish that is considered nutritious. Whatever your reasons to not eat eggs, this is a tasty and easy recipe to do that is also high protein and low fat. Like other versatile Asian recipes, amounts of ingredients can be varied to your taste.

Does this taste like the egg counterpart? I’m the wrong person to ask as I don’t remember the taste of egg. Here, the eggy-ness comes from black salt, or kala namak, a salt with an egg-like flavour due to its sulphur content. It’s used traditionally in Indian and other South Asian cuisines. You can purchase them for a couple of dollars at Mustafa.

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The second serving of umami will come from tomatoes, a fruit (yes, it’s not a veggie) that is naturally high in umami compounds. Soft, ripe tomatoes are very important for a quality final result.

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Lastly, aquafaba , the magical egg replacer that is literally chickpea liquid, is used as a binder here. Simply take a can of chickpeas and drain out the liquid. Actually, it’s not a must-have here. I’ve tried this recipe with and without aquafaba – without will yield a wetter dish, more chunky tofu but still equally delicious. With it, the texture can be made more varied. Cook and stir in the pan less for a more minced and soft like mine, or cook longer and mix less for dryer and chewier bite like this recipe’s. Thus it really depends on your preferences and pantry stocks!

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Recipe:
3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, diced
300g silken or pressed tofu
1/2 cup aquafaba (slightly less than one can’s liquid)
1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp black salt (to be used separately)
1/4 tsp tumeric (optional, for colour)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Ground Black pepper, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, chopped spring onions (optional seasonings)

Steps:
Blend aquafaba, tofu, 1/4 tsp of black salt and tumeric in a blender/food processor till a pale yellow liquid. In a non-stick pan, heat oil till hot. Pour blended liquid into pan. Add tomatoes. Let simmer over medium heat for 2-3mins or so, or until the tofu mixture reaches a texture that is thick enough to be scooped up without flowing off, and the tomatoes “melted” into almost a sauce-like consistency. Stir with a spatula for 1 min to ensure the whole mixture is evenly cooked. Off heat, stir in the 1/4 tsp black salt. Transfer to a bowl, add optional seasonings to taste if preferred. Serve with steamed rice, quinoa, breads or any cooked dry noodles.

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Notes:
– Unlike western recipes involving tofu, the Chinese approach is not to drain out excess water. A lot of our dishes are meant to be paired with rice or noodles, hence they cannot be too dry.
– This recipe can still be done nicely without aquafaba like the version I’ve posted before on facebook. Simply mash the tofu, tumeric and black salt in a bowl with a fork and follow the rest of the recipe.
– Black salt is added twice, because of a characteristic that I realised while working with this particular brand. After heating, there’s barely any eggy flavour but a good umami. The eggy-ness is more pronounced when the salt is not subject to heat. Hence first addition before heating is for umami, second adding after heating is for a slight eggy flavour. You can vary the amounts and when to add based on your preferences.
– Tumeric here is only for the yellow colour. You can omit if you don’t have. Do not add too much as tumeric flavour will show up in the final dish. Also a richer yellow is brought out by heating, hence if initially you don’t see yellow after mixing / blending the tofu, don’t rush to add more tumeric.

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