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