Marina Eats: Hanasaku Iroha’s Message of Omurice


Omurice takes up quite a bit of spotlight in the 2011 spring anime Hanasaku Iroha, displaying a wide range of emotions by those who cook and eat it.  Despite the simplicity of its appearance, the hearty meal demands a surprising amount of time and effort that is often done for the sake of another.  One of the most memorable aspects about omurice is the popularity of the ketchup design.  Anything from abstract squiggles, to images, and even to words can be drawn as a finishing touch.  Such a simple gesture can have a powerful effect on the ones who give and receive, as displayed time and again by Ohana and her friends.

There are two particular examples from Hanasaku Iroha that spring to mind, one of which is shown in the topic image.  The message is clear: this is an omurice of love, of big love.  It encompasses the entire plate and is a bit overwhelming to perceive as a viewer–imagine how much that feeling magnifies for the one who receives the plate! Minko’s strong feelings for Tohru-san threatens to spill over and engulf him, but his immediate surprise to its presentation is eclipsed by similar messages he sees on other customers’ plates.  Note for others seeking to confess: do not attempt this in a maid cafe setting!

If you can’t read the above, it translates to, “I hate Mama.”  The omurice is also surrounded by Ohana’s mother’s most hated vegetable, broccoli.  In complete opposition to the previous example, this is a dish of revenge from a disgruntled daughter to her workaholic mother.  The words are carefully written out (which I can now affirm is difficult to do unless you have a special dispenser for decoration) to minimize any amount of misunderstanding.  Much like how Minko’s heart poked the edges of her plate, the broccoli crowds into every nook and cranny and demands attention.  Ohana wishes to see her mother accept punishment for her failures as a parent.  I would perfect her particular dish by serving it cold!

Whether the message be one of love, or even hate, the act in itself reveals the giver’s desire to communicate with another.  The following act of eating the omurice, with message and all, is an agreement of sorts that acknowledges these emotions.  So if you’re making the below recipe for another, take a moment and consider the message that you’re folding up into the omelette or displaying on its surface.  What feelings do you want to convey?


Ingredients (Serves 2) Time: 30 minutes at the most
Source: cookingwithdog

  • Savory Ingredients
    • 130g Boneless Chicken Thigh (4½ oz)
    • ¼ Onion (70g / 2½ oz)
    • 4 Button Mushrooms (50g / 1¾ oz)
    • 1 Clove of Garlic
    • 30g Frozen Green Peas (1 oz) or 1 Bell Pepper
    • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Egg Mixture Ingredients
    • 4 Eggs
    • 2 tsp Whipping Cream or Non-Dairy Creamer
    • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Sauce Ingredients
    • 200g Canned Tomato (7 oz) – I used sauce, but you could use diced
    • ½ Chicken Bouillon Cube (2.8g / 0.1 oz)
    • 1 tbsp White Wine – I recommend dry vermouth
    • 1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
    • 1 Bay Leaf
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt & Pepper
  • Extras
    • 280g Steamed Rice cooked with less water (10 oz)
    • Baby Salad Greens
    • Tomato Ketchup
  1. Begin cooking rice in the background
  2. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and season evenly with salt and pepper
  3. Dice onions, slice mushrooms, mince garlic, and thinly shave the Bouillon cube
  4. De-frost peas, re-hydrate, and lightly salt
  5. Lightly coat frying pan with olive oil over low heat
  6. Saute garlic until aroma is strong
  7. Add the onions and stir until translucent over medium heat
  8. Add the chicken and cook until it begins to brown
  9. Add the button mushrooms and stir until oil is evenly distributed
  10. Pour in white wine and allow to evaporate
  11. Add the canned tomato, tomato ketchup, Bouillon cube, and bay leaf and combine evenly
  12. Being careful to not burn the sauce, allow liquid to reduce before adding peas

    Mushrooms omitted until end since I’m the only one who eats them 
  13. When sauce begins to sizzle, remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper as needed
  14. Add the warm steamed rice and mix thoroughly, making sure to break apart any clumps
  15. Set mixture aside
  16. Crack two eggs into a bowl and beat well with cream/creamer, salt, and pepper
  17. Coat a heated pan with oil; pour in egg mixture when pan is ready
  18. Immediately stir the egg mixture for 5 secs. before swirling pan to coat evenly
  19. Turn off burner
  20. Place half of the rice mixture into the middle of omelette
  21. Fold both sides of egg over towards the rice–they do not need to completely cover the rice mixture
  22. Slide the omurice towards the edge of the pan and flip over onto a plate
    Note: This may take some practice to perfect.  The quality of the pan does matter, even if you properly oil it.  My omelette stuck a bit since I was using an older pan.
  23. Adjust the shape of the omurice as needed
    Note: I took the video’s suggestion and used a paper towel to do this.
  24. Repeat steps 16-23 for second serving
  25. Decorate with ketchup and garnish with greens
    Note: You might have extra of the rice mixture if you didn’t want to over-stuff the omelette, so you can go ahead and serve it on the side if you like, or save for the next day. You can also lightly coat the greens with extra virgin olive oil and salt–I went a step further and drizzled on a bit of balsamic vinegar, as well.

    Apologies for the break in the surface. The pan is old and so the egg still stuck to it when I tried to flip the omelette.  And drawing with ketchup is harder than it looks!


23 thoughts on “Marina Eats: Hanasaku Iroha’s Message of Omurice

    • Thanks 🙂 And hey, you could do a version of this by just using your already cooked mixed fried rice (if you do order it) and placing it into an omelette. Easy!


      • This recipe topic makes me want to pick up Hanasaku Iroha again and enjoy the blissful duo of Nako and Yuina. Ah, such lovable lasses, though Ohana’s 1000 expressions was also delightful.


  1. My mother made the simple Korean version of this recipe frequently when I was growing up, and the dish was most definitely a comfort food for me, as it was for many of my friends.

    These days, I occasionally make it at home and yeah, as you say – it’s not easy writing in ketchup. -_-‘


    • I’m very curious about what a Korean version entails! I was actually kind of hesitant to try the Japanese omurice since I had never really had an omelette before that didn’t include copious amounts of cheese. But when I finally ate it, I didn’t even miss it :p


      • I’m really looking forward to trying the recipe you gave – it’s a lot more involved than the Korean one is. Also, I like button mushrooms. 🙂

        The Korean version is very simply fried rice with the egg on top (instead of an actual omelet). Veggies are also used, along with a meat. Known as bokumbap, it becomes kimchee bokumbap if you one adds the spicey Korean staple, which makes is especially delicious. The egg is prepared in the same manner as with an omelet (what would you call that? Kinda scrambled?), but simply place don top rather than wrapped around the rice. Ketchup is added, though as far as I know, actually writing words is a Japanese thing (which I’ve now copied!).


        • Ahhh, I’ve had bibimbap, so this bokumbap doesn’t sound too strange. I would definitely give your mother’s a try! I would also toss in some kimchee since I’ve currently got a bit of a thing for it these days ^^


  2. Perhaps not unexpectedly, these instructions are clearer and more helpful than what I normally encounter in cook books. I know where I will be going to get the instructions when I want to try making this!


    • I’m glad that they’re fairly easy to understand. I know one of my biggest frustrations with cookbooks is the lack of step-by-step photos, which is why I’ve started leaning more towards video instructions.


  3. Haha just when I went to the supermarket I thought hey I want to do Omurice for next week and thought of you saying you were going to do a post about it.
    Come back and bam you did one XD awesome!
    Im definitely going to try it out, Im scared mine will break or will be even worse but ganbatte!
    I cook fired rice so I thought it would be easier to understand but heck the one i make is the singaporean style lol


  4. Before I read your blog and forget it’s I get the feeling it’s more like a ebay for custom made stuff or something.

    I’d have to edit that recipe a lot to account for my taste lol. I’m pretty sure it’d be a unique creation. Then again I’m know as a really strange eater anyways so it wouldn’t be anything new.

    Unrelated to this post really, but the writing and drawing on the food and the way you so eloquently stated how they showed the emotions invloved made me wonder what could be read into my recent actions. I may have seen a large sandy creek bank from up on a hill on the other side and then proceeded to spend four days digging a girls name into it…


    • The beautiful thing about fried rice and omelettes is that they’re so easy to tailor to your own tastes. You can pretty much just throw in whatever veggies or meats that you like, and it should be fine. If you ever do find a combination that you like, feel free to share it 🙂

      And if you did do what you mentioned, then I hope the girl knows how you feel! If she doesn’t, I hope you are able to tell her face-to-face some day (it’d be better than her stumbling across that hill and finding out that way, I think).


  5. Well I can tell you I’d go with chicken, peppers, onions (late so they’re still crisp) and any other veggies I’d toss in on a whim. I’d also have to substitute ketchup likely for a hot sauce I can’t spell of the top of my head. Maybe some other kinda sauce from the Asia just to get the feel.

    If? Lol I did it alright. I took pics and sent them to her. I’m sure you noticed I’m an open book. I don’t hide anything and will share anything on a whim. You know that deepest darkest secret everyone keeps to themselves? I blogged mine. Anyways the point is she knows. Everyone does. I could never hide how I feel.


    • Your version of the omelette sounds pretty good! Those are all ingredients that I wouldn’t mind trying out myself. Anyways, I hope your confession goes over well and that she appreciates your feelings regardless of her decision.


    • I love how Minko showcases that fluffy omelette which she cuts open and it just flows over the chicken rice. That’s a technique I’ll have to practice!


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