Bento no. 52: Special Occasion Omuraisu (Omurice) Bento
- Fried rice made with 2/3 cup brown rice and assorted chopped vegetables, 250 cal
- 1 1/2 wiener sausages, 200 cal
- Omelette made with 2 eggs, 230 cal
- Broccoli, 20 cal
Total calories (approx): 700 (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 20-30 minutes
Type: Japanese, kyaraben-ish, special occasion bento!
This week actually marks the real first year anniversary of Just Bento. Although I officially opened the site in late October (see Welcome to Just Bento) I started writing up some articles and designing and installing the site after 2 years of procrastinating about it in early October. It's rather like the olden days in Japan, when a baby would be officially registered some time after being born so that the official birthday would be a bit later than the actual birthday.
I'm planning a bigger celebration for Just Bento's 'official' birthday later on, but in the meantime, to commemorate the moment when the site actually popped out from my head onto my server so to speak, I've stepped out of my usual pattern of quick-assembly bento to make a special occasion one, featuring an omuraisu (omurice) or rice omelette. The THX on the top is um, LOLspeak for Thanks (I meant to cut in Thanks but I cut the T in too far to the right, and too big) to thank all Just Bento readers for your support and encouragement. Without you, the site wouldn't exist!
Since I'm no kyaraben/charaben artist, this bento can be assembled quite easily without any experience. It took me about 20 minutes to make. While the calorie count is a bit higher than usual, it is still loaded with vegetables and is quite a nutritionally complete bento.
Omuraisu (omurice) or rice omelette is a Japanese yohshoku (Western-style Japanese cooking) classic, and a perennial favorite with kids of all ages. This omuraisu is adapted for bento. It differs from the recipe for an omuraisu meant to be consumed immediately, since it's safer to cook the egg through if you intend to use it in a bento. The omelette part is really a large thin omelette or usuyaki tamago, made without adding sugar or soy sauce.
For the wiener and broccoli 'flower meadow':
- 1 1/2 regular or 2 thin wieners or frankfurers. A vegetarian frank will sort of work, though you won't get the spreading-petal effect that much .
- About 2 cups of broccoli florets
For the omelette:
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Oil or butter (1 tsp. or so)
- Equipment: a large non-stick frying pan
For the rice filling:
- 2/3 cup (about 130g) cooked brown rice (from my frozen rice stash)
- About 1 1/2 cup+ chopped vegetables, whatever you have: I used 1/2 a red pepper, a bit of celery, and peeled broccoli stalks left over after cutting off the florets
- 1 green onion, chopped (Chopping up the vegetables the night before will make your morning tasks easier.)
- The bits of sausage left over from cutting the flowers, chopped up
- About 2 Tbs. ketchup
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tsp. oil
Here are the steps to follow:
- Make the omelette: Beat together the eggs, salt and pepper while heating up the large non-stick frying pan. Add the oil to the pan and spread around (or use a cooking spray). Add the egg mixture and swirl the pan around to spread the mixture evenly and thinly. Lower the heat, and let the egg set through. Turn it out of the pan onto a plate, and let cool.
- In the meantime, heat up some water in an electric kettle (or a regular kettle).
- Chop up the vegetables, cut the broccoli florets.
- Heat up the frying pan again with a little oil. Add the chopped vegetables . Spread around, lower the heat to about medium-low, and put a lid on. You can leave it like this to cook on its own while you work elsewhere.
- Cut the wiener flowers. Cut the ends of the sausages off (chop them up and add to the sautéeing vegetables), then cut into about 2cm / 1 inch long sections. Cut into both ends of each section in a criss-cross 3 times, to make the 'petals', then cut each section in the middle in half. (Having a bit longer lengths of sausage to work with makes things a lot easier.)
- Put some of the boiling water from the kettle into a small saucepan. Add the broccoli with a little salt, and boil for about 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pan, add more boiling water. Add the wiener bits and boil until the 'petals' spread apart, about a minute or so. Drain and set aside.
- The sautéeing vegetables should be soft by now. Turn the heat up to high, crumble in the rice, and stir-fry. Add the ketchup, salt and pepper and toss around well.
Now the fun part - assembling the bento!
Spread the omelette out on a plate (a concave one like this pasta plate is ideal):
Mound about 4 tablespoons of rice in the middle of the omelette. The rice shouldn't cover more than half the area of the omelette.
Turn your bento box upside down on top of the plate.
Fiip the bento box and plate and take the plate off. If the omelette fell apart a bit, tuck the ends underneath neatly.
Arrange the rest of the rice around the omelette.
Stick the broccoli florets around the omelette into the rice.
Tuck the wiener 'flowers' in between the broccoli.
Cut a design into the top of the omelette with a sharp knife, or a cookie cutter. Clear up the edges of the bento box. (I actually messed up the H, but patched it up with the piece I accidentally cut off.)
Even if I made this bento myself, it was still fun to open up at lunch time. Try making something like this for someone special on their birthday, or to cheer them up - it's just as fun, if not as sugary, as a cake! You could cut in their initials perhaps, age, or even their full name if you're adept with a knife.
Alternative decoration for the omuraisu: Draw a face or other decoration on with ketchup! Note that the nozzle of a regular size Heinz ketchup squeeze bottle is too big to make a neat face, so you may want to transfer some into a fine-nozzle decoration bottle. I used the squeeze bottle pictured here.
While this bento may seem a bit complicated, it really isn't! There are just two burners in use, 1 frying pan and 1 saucepan.