In this new GaijinPot series, GP contributors test out Japanese recipes they found online with varying degrees of success.
Japan may be in a state of emergency, but that doesn’t mean your kitchen needs to be. If you’ve found the last few weeks to be a constant culinary challenge, there’s nothing like being stuck at home to force you to learn. Yes, it’s time to break up that instant noodle monotony.
Hungry and inspired, I scoured through the pages of the internet in search of something to whip up, mash up, or screw up and decided on this dry curry rice omelette. Joy was sparked, and after following the recipe to the letter the first time around, ideas for improvement were flared. It only took some minor adjustments to elevate this simple recipe to the “I’d Make That Again” club.
Thankfully, everything on this list is easy to find or has probably laid dormant in your pantry for the last year. The recipe serves two.
- 180ml short-grain rice
- 200ml chicken stock
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 120g ground pork
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
- ½ cup sake
- 2 tbsp sushi vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 3-4 shiso leaves, cut into thin strips
For the curry seasoning
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder
- ⅓ tsp salt
For the omelette
- 4 eggs
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 pinches of salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- black pepper
A few notes on some of the ingredients
If you don’t have garam masala laying around and instead happen to have ground versions of cumin, coriander seeds, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg… then you can make your own!
Sushi vinegar is a basic pre-mixed vinegar commonly used for seasoning rice in, you guessed it, sushi. If you don’t have this in stock, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt for the same effect.
The shiso leaves are used as a garnish in this recipe and don’t have any profound impact on the overall flavor of the dish. I’m not saying to leave them out, but you won’t be missing out if you omit them.
1. Stir-fry the ground pork with a tablespoon of the oil over high heat until all the excess liquid has evaporated and the meat starts to brown. Remove from the wok and set aside in a prep bowl.
2. In the same pan, fry the onions with the remaining oil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for five minutes just until they are aromatic.
3. Reintroduce the browned mince to the pan as well as the salt and spices and cook for a minute or so.
4. This sounds crazy but next, you’re going to add the uncooked rice to the pan and allow the heat to permeate the grains for five minutes.
5. Add the sake and allow it to cook for about five minutes before adding the soy sauce, vinegar, and chicken stock.
6. Lower the heat to a medium-low flame and cook the rice via the “evaporation method” or roughly 20 minutes uncovered. Once the rice is cooked, use a small bowl to mold the mix into a tidy dome-shape and flip it over onto a serving plate.
7. Next, make the omelette. Add the salt and sugar to the eggs, and beat until combined.
8. Preheat a frying pan over medium heat and melt the butter, then pour in the beaten egg.
9. Fold the cooked egg into thirds and gently place on top of the rice dome. Top with thin strips of shiso and sprinkle with black pepper to serve.
So, how did it come out?
After creating this hybrid of Indian-style pilaf and Japan’s favorite omurice (rice omelette) the first time around, I found the original recipe to be tasty but oddly specific. It called for me to beat my eggs 50 times, exactly.
What counts as one beat? If I beat the eggs 51 times, is that considered assault? Honestly, I got so caught up in counting my egg beats that I neglected to ensure the salt and sugar got involved in the party.
Instead, a sad lump of salt-sugar sludge settled at the bottom of the mixing bowl. I fundamentally disagree with being told how many times I should beat my eggs. This is cooking, not kindergarten. When it came to my adapted recipe, I did not beat the eggs 50 times nor did I pay attention to how many times I beat them.
If I beat the eggs 51 times, is that considered assault?
Adding the rice to the pan to be cooked in combination with the existing flavors and chicken stock was a knock-out improvement. Think of this method as being akin to making risotto. While it’s perfectly reasonable to use pre-cooked rice as per the original recipe, allowing the rice to absorb the flavors of the dish not only makes it taste better, it makes you seem more adult.
I wouldn’t necessarily call this dish a “dry curry” rice as it was more of a spiced, aromatic rice. I appreciated the hint of sweetness provided by the sushi vinegar, and overall, there was no need for additional salt. My partner even asked if there was any more of the rice mix left, but alas, there was none. This is why we always use recipes that serve four or more in my house.
What’s recipe would you like to see us try next time? Let us know in the comments!