Omurice

Omeu-raiseu 오므라이스

Today I’m going to introduce you to a popular dish that came to Korea from Japan called omurice, or omeu-raiseu: 오므라이스 in Korean. It’s sweet sour, and savory fried rice packed with crispy vegetables wrapped in a soft and thin omelette.

This dish has an interesting history. For a long time Japan had a very strict foreign policy where it interacted very little with the West, until around 1866. Korea also had a similar policy, which is how we got the nickname “The Hermit Kingdom,” because we didn’t associate with a lot of countries.

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Once the policy was lifted Japan started trading with foreign countries and they got new ideas for food, too. These foods included “beefsteak,” curry rice, cutlets, and spaghetti, all of these were new to Japan and they called them “Western foods” even though they were Japanese interpretations of Western-style foods. They often used tomato ketchup and Worcester sauce, which were a new thing at the time. They also used Japanese pronunciations of English words like raisu (for”rice”) and sutēki (for “steak”).

How did Japanese omurice come to Korea?

When Japan occupied Korea (1910-1945) they introduced these new Western-style foods there. Eventually Korean had “Western restaurants” (Kyoungyang-sik: 경양식, “light Western food”) all over.

We adapted some of the recipes to our own tastes, and we used the Japanese pronunciations of these English words, which had no meaning at all in Korean. I ate omeu-raiseu for many years but when I learned English I figured out that “omeu” was supposed to be “omelette” and “raiseu” was supposed to be “rice”! It suddenly made a lot of sense.

I ate omurice as a kid and I made it for my own children when I grew up. It was a lunchbox favorite of theirs and I hope you enjoy it too!

Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 1 cup (6 ounces) mixture of green and red bell peppers, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped carrot
  • 5 white mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup (4 to 5 ounces) chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 smoked sausage (4 ounces), chopped
  • a few chunks of aged cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 green chili pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • a few bay or mint leaves for garnish (optional)

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Directions

It’s a two-step dish: first we make fried rice and a thin omelette, and then we wrap the rice in the omelette.

Make the fried rice:

You can put almost anything you want into the fried rice, but I like to fill it with delicious, nutritious stuff.

  1. Heat up a large pan. Add butter, sausage and garlic and stir for 1 minute until the garlic turns a little crispy.
  2. Add the green bell pepper, red bell pepper, celery, carrot, mushroom, and onion. Stir a few minutes until the onion turns a little translucent.
  3. Stir in ¼ teaspoon salt and the ½ teaspoon of black pepper.
  4. Add the rice, ketchup, and mix it well. Let it cook without stirring for a minute, so that the bottom of the rice gets a little crunchy. Stir it again.
  5. Remove from the heat.
  6. Transfer the fried rice to a bowl that can fit all of it, plus a bit more. Fill it about halfway with the fried rice, then if you’re using cheddar cheese stash it in there before filling the rest of the bowl.
  7. If you’re using chopped green chili pepper, put it on top. Gently press everything down with a spoon so that it’ll mold nicely to the inside of the bowl.

Make a beautiful round omelette:

Our goal is to make a beautiful, smooth, thin omelette that’s a uniform color, in a similar way that we make a traditional Korean egg garnish (gyeran-jidan: 계란지단).

  1. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl with ¼ teaspoon salt and sugar.
  2. Put a strainer over another bowl and strain the egg mixture through, to make it smooth, remove any lumps, and to catch the chalazae (white thing that hangs off the yolk).
  3. Heat up a non-stick pan. Add vegetable oil and swirl the oil around so it covers the pan. Then wipe off the excess heated oil with a paper towel so only a thin layer remains. Turn down the heat to medium low, so we don’t burn or brown the egg at all.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and swirl the pan around to make a nice round circle. Keep moving the pan around and let the low heat cook the egg until it doesn’t flow anymore. Remove from the heat.

Put it together:

  1. Put a large plate over the bowl of stir-fried rice. Flip everything over and remove the bowl, so you have a perfect dome of fried rice.
  2. Place the omelette over top of the dome. Tuck the edges close under the rice.
  3. Top with a bit of ketchup and or any other garnish you like, and serve.

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26 Comments:

  1. elmerg Kentucky joined 1/18
    Posted January 6th, 2018 at 12:02 pm | # |

    My fiance and I love your blog and youtube videos. We’ve made a number of your recipes, and made omurice using steak for brunch today. It turned out wonderfully.


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 15th, 2018 at 9:55 pm | # |

      Wow it looks superb! Your way of splashing ketchup makes me think you have confidence in cooking! The juicy stir-fried rice topped with an omelette will be a great brunch!

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