Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sesame Galangal Garden Vegetable Omu with Chinkiang Vinegar Sauce

     A Tasty Asian Style Omelette!
     Many people in the western world think that the only Asian style egg entrée is Egg Foo Young.  The truth of the matter is that there are many great Asian egg recipes, but eggs are more often served as an evening meal rather than breakfast.  Traditional Asian breakfast food is usually a bowl of savory or sweet rice porridge.  
     Just because an omelette has a French name, it does not meant that an omelette is a French creation.  Ancient Mesopotamians and Indians were making fine omelette style entrées for thousands of years before the country of France came to be.  Persian baked egg entrées are similar to omelets and these items are some of the tastiest egg dishes that there is.  Persia is where the modern Italian frittata actually originated. 
     In the early 1900's, Omu was a trendy item in Japan.  Omu is the Japanese version of a 1920's style American style omelet with ketchup.  Omu eventually evolved into a popular Japanese street food and Omuraisu is by far the most popular recipe variation.  
     In modern times, fancy Asian style omelette (omu) entrées have once again become popular.  A fancy omu can be a nice lunch or dinner entrée.  In a restaurant, omu is cost effective because eggs are still relatively low in price.    
     Today's omu recipe can be cooked in less than a few minutes.  The short cooking time includes making the sauce to order.  
     Fresh Galangal (Thai Blue Ginger) has a much stronger flavor than dried Galangal.  Galangal must be sautéed till it becomes tender or it will have a hard fibrous texture.  Galangal melds with the flavor of garden vegetables and eggs in a nice way.    
     Chinkiang Vinegar is also called Black Vinegar.  Chinkiang Vinegar is a heavy fermented malt and rice grain vinegar that is often compared to Balsamic Vinegar, yet the flavor of Chinkiang Vinegar can be much more complex.  Chinkiang Vinegar is a highly respected gourmet vinegar that is rich tasting, yet it is gentle enough that it can be used to make a sauce for eggs.
     Flipping eggs in a sauté pan becomes easy with practice.  A heel slice of bread and one egg are the same weight.  To practice, place the heel slice of a loaf of sandwich bread in a dry non-stick sauté pan.  Practice flipping the bread with a forward and backward flick of the wrist.  After practicing the flipping technique with a slice of bread, flipping an omelette becomes easy!  

     Chinkiang Vinegar Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.  (2 portions)
     Chinkiang Vinegar (Chinese Black Vinegar) can be found at Asian food markets.  There are many brands to chose from.  Some brands do offer a richer flavor than others, but even so, the black vinegar is usually diluted when making a sauce for light meats or eggs.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1/3 cup of light vegetable broth.
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of chinkiang vinegar.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 1 small pinch of powdered ginger.
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water to make a slurry.
     Add the slurry while stirring, to thicken the sauce to a thin consistency.
     Simmer and stir till the sauce is translucent.
     Step 4:  Keep the sauce warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.  

     Sesame Galangal Garden Vegetable Omu:
     This recipe yields 1 petite omelette.  
     Minced fresh galangal (Thai Blue Ginger) has to be cooked for a few minutes or the texture will be as hard as wood. 
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of water.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 small pinch of Chinese Five Spice Powder.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Whisk the ingredients till they combined. 
     Set the omelette batter aside. 
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced fresh galangal.
     Gently sauté till the galangal is a golden color and it is fairly tender.
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Briefly sauté for a few seconds, till the garlic is aromatic.
     Step 4:  Add 1/3 cup of thin sliced brown mushrooms (portobello) or shiitake mushrooms.
     Add 2/3 cup of a mixture of these vegetables: 
     - very thin bias slices of peeled celery
     - thin strips of green bell pepper.
     - julienne sliced carrot strips for color
     - thin biased sliced green onion
     - julienne sliced onion
     - thin strips of red bell pepper
     - julienne sliced slow peas 
     Sauté till the vegetables start to become tender.
     Step 5:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lightly toasted sesame seeds.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of black sesame seeds
     Toss the vegetables and seeds together.
     Step 6:  Add the reserved omelette batter.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette. 
     Sauté till the eggs start to become firm on the bottom half of the omelette.
     Step 7:  Flip the omelette.  
     Saute till the omelette becomes firm and fully cooked.
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Flip the omelette a second time.  (By flipping twice, the sesame seeds can be seen on the surface of the omelette!)
     Step 9:  Triple fold the omelette into a cylinder shape, while sliding the omelette onto a plate.
     Pour a generous amount of the Chinkiang Vinegar Sauce over the omelette and onto the plate.  (About 1/3 cup)
     Garnish the top of the omelette with thin bias sliced green onion tops.  

     This is a nice tasting savory omu! 

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