Thursday, March 12, 2015

Emperor's Forbidden Omuraisu







     Emperor's Forbidden Black Jasmine Rice Omuraisu!
     Omuraisu is a trendy street food style item in recent years.  Omuraisu was originated in the 1900's as an American style omelette entrée in Tokyo restaurants.  Basically, Omuraisu is a thin omelette wrapped around fried rice with ketchup.  Many say that it is not a real Omuraisu, unless it is painted with ketchup!
     The rice filling can be simple plain steamed rice, fried rice or just about any style of rice.  Many Japanese restaurants offer a unique rice filling for Omuraisu and it is marketed on the menu as "House Special Omuraisu."  

     There are several Asian Black Rice varietals.  All rice varieties have subtle differences in their flavor profile.  Indonesian Black Rice has a good earthy rustic rice flavor and the grains of rice are somewhat long.  Indonesian Black Rice has a small proportion of red or brown color rice grains in the black rice mixture.   
     Thai Black Jasmine Rice is a very special black rice hybrid.  Food historians say that Black Jasmine Rice was an Indonesian Black Rice Varietal that was bred to perfection in Manipur, India.  Black Jasmine Rice was brought to Manipur by traders, but the exact details of where the traders obtained this rice variety are sketchy.  
     Black Jasmine Rice grains are uniform in shape and size.  The color is shiny and jet black.  Black Jasmine Rice grains are much shorter than Indonesian Black Rice varietals.
     Later in history, the perfected Black Jasmine Rice from Manipur was introduced to Thailand and China.  Emperors of ancient China claimed that Black Jasmine Rice was truly fit for only members of royal family circles.  Black Jasmine Rice was then forbidden to be eaten by the general public.  

     In recent years, companies have marketed Black Jasmine Rice as Emperor's Rice, Forbidden Rice or Emperor's Forbidden Rice.  Thailand produces a large proportion of the world's Black Jasmine Rice supply.  Rice from Thailand is always of high quality.  Thai rice farmers take pride in growing Jasmine Rice varietals in a way that achieves peak aromatic quality.  White Jasmine Rice and Black Jasmine Rice from Thailand both have a nice aroma.  
     In modern times, Black Jasmine Rice is not often used in Chinese cuisine or Manipur Indian cuisine, but it is featured in Thai cuisine.  Thai Black Rice Pudding is favorite breakfast entrée that is also offered as a dessert in Thai restaurants.  

     Since the rice filling for this omuraisu was made with Thai Black Jasmine Rice, giving this entrée a catchy name was a good choice.  Calling this entree by the name "House Specialty Omuraisu" would be okay, but something would be lost in the translation.  The name "Emperor's Forbidden Omuraisu" creates intriguing customer interest!  

     Black Jasmine Rice:
     Black Jasmine Rice requires a little more water than regular white rice. 
     Boil 2 cups of water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 3/4 cup of black jasmine rice.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer and steam the rice, till it is tender.
     Keep the black jasmine rice warm on a stove top.       

     Emperor's Forbidden Rice Filling:
     This recipe yields enough filling for two small omuraisu or one large omuraisu!
     Be sure to have all the ingredients ready, because stir fry cooking moves quickly.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan or mini wok over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
     Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped celery.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped yellow bell pepper.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped red bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped seeded green serrano pepper.
     Step 2:  Sauté till the vegetables start to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced green onion.
     Add the reserved cooked black jasmine rice.
     Briefly sauté the rice mixture, till it is hot and aromatic.
     Step 4:  Add 1 cup of vegetable broth.
     Add 1 pinch of Chinese five spice powder.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground galangal powder.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of palm sugar.
     Stir the ingredients.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the consistency of the rice filling becomes thick and dense.  
     Keep the rice filling warm on a stove top.

     Emperor's Forbidden Omuraisu:
     The eggs for omuraisu should be gently cooked with no browning at all.  The omelette should be thin, but not so thin that it easily rips.  
     Step 1:  Heat a 7" to 8" wide non-stick sauté pan over medium low/low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 2 whisked large eggs.  (2 eggs for small omuraisu and 3 eggs for large)
     Tilt the pan, so the eggs are an even thin layer that is about 3/16" thick.
     Step 2:  When the eggs are cooked firm on the bottom half, flip the omelette.
     Cook the eggs, till they are fully cooked with no browning.
     Step 3:  Slide the thin omelette onto a cutting board.
     Mound a portion of the emperor's forbidden rice filling across the center of the omelette.
     Roll the omelette and filling together to create a cylinder shape.
     Step 4:  Use a large spatula to place the Emperor's Forbidden Omuraisu on a plate. 
     Use a plastic squeeze bottle to paint the omuraisu with organic ketchup.  (Ketchup is required and organic ketchup is the best!)
     Garnish with cilantro sprigs or Italian Parsley sprigs.

     This is a tasty Omuraisu that can be served for any meal! 

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