Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Little Chick Omurice オムライス Onigiri おにぎり

I grew up loving omurice...

It was always the food that the very younger me ate whenever my family went to Japanese restaurants. You know... Omurice served in cute plastic chick, penguins, animals or airplane plates with matching utensils, innovative food pickers, colourful jellies and fruits cut into interesting shapes. The younger me was always happy and amused whenever I ate my omurice... Until today, the very much older me is still amused with these cute Japanese food... Do you?

Omurice? It is an omelette made with fried rice filling and usually topped with ketchup. It is a common and popular dish served in most western style restaurants in Japan and also Japanese restaurants in Asia. For all these years, I reckon that omurice has never failed to impress most kids including the used-to-be-little me and also my son of today!

My son was jumping with joy when he saw these omurice in the form of onigiri (Japanese rice balls) and little chicks! I must say that these omurice balls are fabulous! And even my fussy non-nonsense husband was impressed! LOL!

little chick omurice onigiri
My Little Chick Omurice Onigiri

This is how I made these onigiri ...

Start by soaking Japanese short grain rice in water until the grains look swelled. 
Measure the volume of the soaked uncooked rice and add equal amount of water to cook.
Instead of using frozen vegetables, I'm cooking my omurice with these.
Combine these seasonings and set aside.
Then I fried the rice with vegetable, chicken mince and seasonings.
Next I cooked the egg crepes.
... and cooked many of them.
To assemble, I did these.
Using the cling wrap, wrap the rice balls with the crepes tightly and leave for them to mould for about 10 mins.
Ta-dah! Proudly presenting... my omurice onigiri served with extra tomato sauce.
To transform the plain onigiri into something cute, I'm using this food puncher to cut thinly sliced carrots and nori into shapes that make the eyes and feet of these little chicks.
Ta-dah! Proudly presenting... my little chick onigiri!
Whether these onigiri are in the shapes of little chicks or not, they are all so delicious!

I hope you like these easy and delicious onigiri that you can make for picnic, party or just a simple summer meal. Stay tune for more my simple bento style cooking / baking in the near future :)

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from the book, Simply Onigiri by Sanae Inada

Makes 8
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
300g chicken mince
1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced*
1/2 cup corn kernel*
~500g cooked Japanese short grain rice** 

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chicken stock powder, optional
salt to taste
ground white pepper to taste
2 tbsp tomato sauce, plus more to serve

For the egg crepes:
5 large eggs
5 tbsp milk
5 tsp potato starch
1 tsp vegetable oil for cooking
This amount will make 8 x 21 cm diameter round egg crepes, extra crepes (maybe one or two) will be required if you need to decorate the onigiri into little chicks.

For the chick onigiri:
a few thinly sliced carrot
1 nori, roasted seaweed sheet
1/4 tsp or just enough mayonnaise to stick the decorations onto the rice balls, optional

* can replace with adequate amount (~50g) of frozen mixed vegetable
** 100g uncooked rice makes 300g cooked rice. So 200g (1 cup) uncooked rice makes ~600g cooked rice which is slightly more than we need here in this recipe.

To cook Japanese sushi rice:
Wash uncooked rice with adequate water several times using your hand and drain. To do that, add adequate water into the rice, mix rice with your hand in a circular motion gently for about 10 times, drain and rinse with enough water. Repeat this step for 5 times or until the drained water becomes almost clear.

After washing, leave the rice in a colander and cover with a wet cloth for 30 mins. While resting, the rice will absorb water and the grain will swell. Measure the volume of the the uncooked rice and add equal amount of water into it. Place rice into the rice cooker and cook according to the rice cooker instruction.

To fry the rice:
Combine seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Using medium high heat, heat oil in a frying pan. Cook onion and chicken until both are nicely browned and fully cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan. add carrot (or frozen vegetable) and cook until soften.

Add rice and mix well. Add cooked onion and chicken, then corn and seasoning ingredients. Mix well. Remove from heat and transfer rice mixture to a plate and allow it to cool enough to touch.

Place cling wrap in a rice bowl and scoop 60g fried rice into the bowl. Pull out rice together with cling wrap and mould rice into shape of an egg. Repeat with the remaining rice.

To cook the egg crepes:
Combine eggs, milk and potato starch in a mixing bowl.

Using medium heat (not too hot), heat oil in a flat 21 cm diameter frying pan and pour 1/8 of the egg mixture. Swirl the egg mixture around the pan to make a thin crepe that is at about 20 cm in diameter. When the crepe is set, flip and cook for 30 secs (not too long because you don't want to make brown chicks!), then set aside to cool. Repeat this process until the egg mixture is used up. You will yield about 8 crepes

To assemble:
Transfer each egg crepe onto a cutting board and cut about 5-6 slits measuring about 2-cm (1 inch) along the edge of the egg crepe. 

Place each crepe on a sheet of cling wrap. Remove the cling wrap of the rice ball and place rice ball in the center of the crepe. Wrap the rice ball with the crepe followed by cling wrap tightly and leave for 10 mins to mould egg around rice ball. Remove cling wrap.

To decorate omurice onigiri into little chicks:
Take an extra crepe. Use a kitchen scissor to cut out two small pieces in the shape of the wings for the chick.

Using a kitchen scissor and a bento shape puncher, cut the cooked carrot into the shapes of a beak and two feet.

Using a kitchen scissor or a bento shape puncher, cut the nori sheet into two small dots and use the dots as the chick's eyes.

Apply a thin layer of mayonnaise on the wings, nose, feet and eyes and arrange the decorations on the rice ball accordingly

Pack omurice onigiri into your lunch boxes or serve at any time (within the same day) with extra tomato sauce.

Happy Cooking
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  1. Hi Zoe,
    I don't usually get omurice when I dine out, but if I saw your version, I would definitely love to try! It looks super cute and the small size is perfect for me! :)

  2. They are so cute...and I like your crepes...looks so soft and thin...thumbs up for you, Zoe!

  3. Really cute! Never had rice in an omelet before, but I like the idea. And the ketchup is such a striking garnish! Fun food -- thanks.

  4. Omurice is such a simple and delicious treat, love the fact it's made into these small onigiri, so cute!

  5. Hi Zoe,
    Thanks for the recipe and idea. I can make it for my kid.

  6. That sounds so new to me....never ever heard of it before....looks yummm...I should try it soon

  7. That is soooOooOo cute, Zoe! Lovely presentation. x

  8. Delicious one..... awesome pics :)

  9. Gosh, they are so cute Zoe! I love fried rice and remember loving the "japanese" style fried rice my mom would make with some ketchup!

  10. Very cute!!! Omurice is one of my comfort food...whenever I feel yucky, I let my husband to make omurice for me. He cooked this dish so many times that he is very quick...I will let him know next time that I would like to have it in chick fashion.