Omurice is a Japanese rice-and-egg dish that fuses local cuisine with the Westerner’s love for ketchup. This version adds a Korean touch by cooking kimchi fried rice, wrapping it in an omelette and slathering the dish with ketchup before serving.
Western dishes, including the omelette, were introduced to Japan during the last quarter of the 19th century. It was the Meiji era, Japan had discarded the hereditary class system, and opened its doors to Western technology and the modern capitalist system. That explains the extent of Western presence in Japan at the time that omurice was born in 1902 at a Western-style restaurant called Renga-tei in Tokyo’s Ginza district.
Except for the presence of the omelette wrap and the ketchup on top, there is no universal formula for making omurice. In fact, there is even no single formula for cooking the omelette. It can be thin like a crepe or it can be fancy like when the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks to make a fluffy omelette or when the still-wet beaten eggs are twirled in the pan with chopsticks to resemble a tornado.
As for the rice, in Japan, the default is chicken fried rice and the seasoning can be something as basic as salt.
In this omurice recipe, executed by my daughter Alex, we decided to go fusion over fusion. Instead of a simple fried rice seasoned with salt, Alex cooked kimchi fried rice with thin slices of pork. So, this version of omurice is both Japanese and Korean.
Kimchi fried rice
- 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 150 grams thinly sliced pork
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 3 cups cooked rice preferably day-old
- ½ kimchi finely sliced
- ½ cup thinly sliced scallions divided
- ¼ cup kimchi juice
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon guchujang (Korean chili paste)
For the omelettes
Make the kimchi fried rice
- Heat the sesame seed oil and saute the chopped onion and garlic until fragrant.
- Add the pork and cook until no longer pink.
- Pour in the soy sauce and mirin. Continue cooking the pork, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and the meat has soaked up the liquid.
- Spread the rice in the pan. Add the kimchi, half of the scallions, kimchi juice, a teaspoon of salt and the gochujang. Stir fry until the rice is heated through.
- Taste the fried rice. Adjust the seasonings, as needed.
- Divide the kimchi fried rice into four portions.
- Mold each portion with a bowl and invert on a plate.
Make the omurice
- In a clean frying pan, heat a tablespoon of sesame oil.
- Beat two eggs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and one teaspoon pepper.
- Pour into the hot oil. Swirl the pan to allow the eggs to spread.
- When the omelette is set, scoop out with a spatula and lay on top of the molded rice. Optionally, tuck in the edges.
- Repeat with the rest of the eggs and kimchi fried rice.
- Drizzle ketchup generously over the omurice and sprinkle with the remaining scallions before serving.
If you cooked this dish (or made this drink) and you want to share your masterpiece, please use your own photos and write the cooking steps in your own words.