One great way to instill smart, healthful lifetime eating habits in your kids is to have them planning menus, preparing dishes, and cleaning up right alongside you. By doing so, you can expose youthful palates to a wide variety of foods, teach kids to ascertain the freshness of ingredients, show them the right way to use utensils and other cooking equipment, and get them to read recipes, follow directions, and pick up some elementary math. And it really doesn’t end with young kids, as I am now helping my college-aged daughter to expand her culinary repertoire from afar.
Omuraisu (Rice Omelette) Recipe
In any case, kids’ innate curiosity and creativity are definitely worth harnessing in the kitchen. In Japan and the US, the trend is evidenced by a whole spate of cookbooks, cooking classes, and television cooking shows aimed at children. Boys as well as girls will quickly find that cooperative cooking can be an easy and enjoyable daily activity involving the whole family, including dads. And best of all, very few children would refuse to sample at least a few bites of something they had a hand in cooking! Their creativity really comes out in how they decorate the top of the omelette using ketchup: hearts, the peace sign and smiley faces are all popular favorites. This recipe is derived from Yoshoku: the Japanese interpretation of Western dishes, which originated during the Meiji Era (1868-1912.)
Omuraisu (rice omelette), an all-time favorite of Japanese children (and most of their parents, for that matter), is a perfect dish to start with in this quest. It’s surprisingly easy to make – the most exotic seasoning you will need is ketchup. It is also an easy, great and tasty way to use up cooked Japanese rice!
Omuraisu (Rice Omelette)
Vegetable oil as needed
- Butter as needed
- 3/4 cup white onion, peeled & minced
- 2/3 cup boneless ham*, finely chopped
- 7-8 tbsp Ketchup, or to taste
- 2 cups Japanese white rice, day-old firm, cooked & warmed up
- 4 tbsp dry white wine (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 eggs
- parsley sprigs
To make the filling, first heat a small amount of oil in a 10-inch frying pan. Drain off oil and
reserve. Melt two tablespoons of butter in the same pan. Sauté the onions and
ham over medium heat until the onions are transparent. Add ketchup and mix
well. Add the rice and wine (if desired) and stir well until combined. Season to
taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the rice mixture to a bowl and cover with
plastic wrap to keep it warm.
To prepare the omelette, first break two eggs in a bowl and stir lightly. Season to taste with
salt and pepper. Prepare the same pan by heating the oil reserved previously in
it and then pouring off any excess. Add one-half tablespoon of butter and heat it
until it sizzles. Add the eggs and make a very soft, light-colored omelette.
While the eggs are still soft, place a quarter of the rice mixture in the center, cover with a
plate and turn over. Place a paper towel over the omelette and use it to shape
the omelette into a long oval, tucking in the edges neatly. Garnish the center
with ketchup and parsley. Make the other three omelettes in the same manner.
*You can replace the ham with small pieces of skinless and boneless chicken breast (sautéed with salt and pepper or herb salt).
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