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
- 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
- 280g Steamed Rice cooked with less water (10 oz)
- Baby Salad Greens
- Tomato Ketchup
- Begin cooking rice in the background
- Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and season evenly with salt and pepper
- Dice onions, slice mushrooms, mince garlic, and thinly shave the Bouillon cube
- De-frost peas, re-hydrate, and lightly salt
- Lightly coat frying pan with olive oil over low heat
- Saute garlic until aroma is strong
- Add the onions and stir until translucent over medium heat
- Add the chicken and cook until it begins to brown
- Add the button mushrooms and stir until oil is evenly distributed
- Pour in white wine and allow to evaporate
- Add the canned tomato, tomato ketchup, Bouillon cube, and bay leaf and combine evenly
- Being careful to not burn the sauce, allow liquid to reduce before adding peas
- When sauce begins to sizzle, remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper as needed
- Add the warm steamed rice and mix thoroughly, making sure to break apart any clumps
- Set mixture aside
- Crack two eggs into a bowl and beat well with cream/creamer, salt, and pepper
- Coat a heated pan with oil; pour in egg mixture when pan is ready
- Immediately stir the egg mixture for 5 secs. before swirling pan to coat evenly
- Turn off burner
- Place half of the rice mixture into the middle of omelette
- Fold both sides of egg over towards the rice–they do not need to completely cover the rice mixture
- 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.
- Adjust the shape of the omurice as needed
Note: I took the video’s suggestion and used a paper towel to do this.
- Repeat steps 16-23 for second serving
- 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.