One of the fun things about being a kid in Japan was the children’s menu at department store restaurants. While the famous “depachika” food halls are in the basement, the restaurants with their plastic food models are always on the top floor so you can peer out the glass windows as you eat if you don’t mind a little vertigo.
The children’s menu, as far as I can recall, is prepared with as much care as is typical of almost any eatery in Japan, which is to say, a lot. There was always a little Swedish flag sticking out of the Swedish meatballs and kare-raisu might be served in a bowl with Hello Kitty or Anpanman on it but my favourite was always omuraisu. I’ve since heard there’s om-yakisoba which I’m sure would be great too.
After having just preached the virtues of making an omelette with the 3 o’clock-6 o’clock-9 o’clock technique, I now take it all back. Because the omelette for omuraisu (om-rice, see?) needs to be flat and is then filled with rice flavoured with none other than ketchup. Yessiree, ketchup, and it’s good. And to think you thought I was running a high-class establishment here.
What kids’ food do you still eat?
Omuraisu, for one
This makes a lovely lunch, and you can feel all virtuous for eating your vegetables, even if there is a generous squirt of Kewpie -and I think it really does have to be Kewpie here – mayonnaise over the whole thing. You can really use any combination of vegetables, I’ve been known to use courgettes (zucchini), peas and chopped up green beans too. It’s also common to fry the vegetables with chopped bacon or pieces of shredded chicken but I didn’t have any. It’s best to prepare all the vegetables for the rice first so you can start cooking it as soon as you finish with the omelette or the omelette will get stone cold.
For the omelette
1/3 teaspoon salt and some pepper
Kewpie mayonnaise (for later)
Beat the eggs, salt and pepper together in a bowl and heat a large frypan over medium heat.
Wipe a thin layer of neutral flavoured oil over the base of the pan and pour in the eggs, shaking the pan so the egg is distributed evenly and leave until almost set.
Flip over the omelette briefly to set the other side and slide the omelette out onto a large plate.
For the rice
1/4 medium red onion, diced
1/4 red, yellow or orange capsicum (pepper) diced
1 spring onion, sliced thinly
1/2 small carrot, diced
1 bowl of leftover rice (I usually use Japanese rice but long grain will do in a pinch)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Wipe the pan you used for the omelette out and reheat over medium high heat. Fry the vegetables until softened slightly, about 2 or 3 minutes, then tip in the rice, breaking it up as you go. When it has heated through, mix in the ketchup.
Put the rice over half of the omelette and fold over to cover. Put the mayonnaise on and sprinkle with some more spring onions, if desired.