Omurice is a modern Japanese dish that combines fried rice with an omelet. Usually prepared at home, omurice starts out with fried rice mixed with pieces of chicken which is then topped with eggs which can be prepared in different ways. However, the fried rice can also be combined with bits of ham or bacon.
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The classic omurice is topped with a thin, fluffy layer of egg, which draped over the top of the rice, which has been molded into a mound shape, although it can also be topped with creamy scrambled eggs. The omelet can either be wrapped completely around the rice or a fluffy omelet can be balanced nearly on top of the rice. Another version is called tornado rice, in which chopsticks are used to create a twisting cone shape which envelopes the rice like a tornado.
One signature component of the fried rice is that it should be flavored with ketchup – the American kind. This type of Japanese food which is inspired by Western flavors is known as yoshoku.
On omurice, the omelet is the star of the show. Once the dish has been plated and served, the eggs are topped with more ketchup. The more theatrical chef can then take a knife and slice the omelet open lengthwise, letting the creamy eggs inside spill out onto the plate.
Although omurice is often served at home, you can also find this dish served at kissaten, a type of Japanese coffee shop that serves snacks.
There are many stories behind the origins of omurice: Conflicting legends say that it was first prepared in Osaka in 1927, or in Tokyo in 1900 at a restaurant called Renga-Tei. One story claims that the “idea was to make a dish that could be easily eaten with one hand while working in a busy kitchen.” No matter what the true origin of the dish, one thing is for sure: Eggs weren’t widely eaten in Japan until the 20th century when Western culture began to influence Japanese cuisine – hence the advent of omurice as we know it today.