Why It Works
- Sautéing the rice in batches keeps the skillet nice and hot, for optimal browning and flavor.
- By not rolling the eggs into a true omelette shape, you'll find it far easier to drape them over the rice, as the dish is served in Japan.
Japan's omurice, which also goes by the names omumeshi and omuraisu, is an addictive dish of fried rice served with an omelette. It's surprisingly easy to make at home.
In this recipe, inspired by a version served at a restaurant in Ehime Prefecture, Japan, the rice is fried with cabbage and diced pork belly or bacon, then tossed with sweet-savory okonomiyaki sauce. (The sauce is typically served with the Japanese pancake that's also called okonomiyaki, but here it gets to play a new role.)
- 2 cups cooked white sushi rice (12 ounces; 350g); see note
- 4 tablespoons (60ml) vegetable or canola oil, divided
- 1/2 cup minced yellow onion (100g; about 1/2 medium onion)
- 1/2 cup (40g) diced green cabbage
- 2 strips (50g) thinly sliced fresh pork belly or bacon
- 1/4 cup (60ml) okonomiyaki sauce, plus more for garnish (see note)
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
- Kewpie mayonnaise and ao-nori, for serving (optional; see note)
If using day-old rice, transfer to a medium bowl and break rice up with your hands into individual grains before proceeding. Heat 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil in a 10-inch carbon steel or nonstick skillet over high heat until lightly smoking. Add half of rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until rice is pale brown and toasted and has a lightly chewy texture, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon (15ml) oil and remaining rice.
Add another tablespoon (15ml) oil to skillet, return to high heat, and heat until smoking. Add onion and cabbage and cook, stirring and tossing, until just tender and lightly browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Add pork and cook, stirring, until cooked through and starting to lightly brown, about 3 minutes.
Return rice to pan and toss until well combined with vegetables. Add okonomiyaki sauce and cook, stirring and tossing, until sauce is reduced and each grain of rice is separate and coated in a shiny sheen of sauce. Toss in scallion, then season with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Scrape rice mixture into a small heatproof bowl, packing it down. Invert a serving plate on top of the bowl of rice, then rotate both so that bowl is sitting inverted on top of plate. Set aside.
Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and return to medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil and heat until shimmering. Add eggs and stir rapidly with a spatula, while shaking pan to agitate eggs; make sure to move spatula all around pan to break up curds and scrape them from bottom of skillet as they form. Stop stirring as soon as eggs are very softly scrambled and creamy (but still loose enough to come together into a single mass), 1 to 2 minutes.
Using spatula, gently spread egg in an even layer around skillet and scrape down any wispy bits around the edges. The top surface should be loose and creamy, but if it looks too liquid and raw, let cook, undisturbed, for another few seconds. (If it still flows, you can swirl skillet to send loose egg to the edges, where it will set more quickly.) Remove from heat.
Lift bowl from rice; rice should hold a mound-like form. Slide open-face omelette on top of rice mound. Garnish with a squeeze of okonomiyaki sauce and Kewpie mayonnaise, if using. Garnish with ao-nori, if using. Serve right away.
10-inch nonstick skillet or 10-inch carbon steel skillet
Rice should either be cooked fresh, spread on a tray, and allowed to cool for 5 minutes, or, alternatively, transferred to a loosely covered container and refrigerated for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days. Ao-nori is powdered green sea laver; it can be replaced with finely shredded nori, or omitted. Okonomiyaki sauce is a sweet and savory sauce; it can be replaced with Bull-Dog sauce or equal parts Worcestershire sauce and ketchup seasoned with soy sauce. Kewpie mayonnaise is a Japanese-style sweet mayonnaise; it can be replaced with regular mayonnaise.