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I've come across this video of a very impressive japanese omelet and I've been trying to understand how it's done and what do I need to make it at home.

I've seen this video reproducing the technique, but the omelet's surface is not smooth at all.

I'm trying to reverse engineer this omelet and learn the key techniques to accomplish that.

My attempt so far has been on comparing what I can see to what I've read on traditional french omelets.

What I have come up with:

  • Traditional french omelet is done on medium-high heat, and this one seems to be done at very high heat.
  • Traditional french omelet takes milk or water (I've read on other questions here that water works best). The second video seems to use just eggs and comes out kinda bad. The kyoto guy seems to have a very smooth egg mixture but we don't know for sure if it's just eggs or what.
  • In french omelets, on the first seconds since you pour the eggs into the pan, eggs are mixed from the outside-in in order to allow a thicker layer of cooked eggs before turning the omelet. This kind of omelet is mixed in apparently quick random chopstick movements combined with shaking the pan, possibly because of the much higher heat?
  • Once the a layer of cooked eggs start to form underneath the omelet they should be flipped over. In french omelets, ends meet sideways. In the kyoto video, it seems the ends meet on the top, flipping them with cooking chopsticks in one direction, and turning them over with hand movements in the other direction. This seems to be important for the baloony shape of the omelet. Here the second video almost falls short. The ends of the omelet meet, but they are not perfectly tied.

UPDATE 1

My omelets are successfully runny on the inside and smoothly cooked on the outside. Watching Alton Brown's omelet advice was key into mastering this, also getting a new pan with a smooth nonstick surface.

I had been on a plateau for quite some time trying to make the omelet turn on itself while in the pan.

I was practicing using traditional pan flipping motion, the same one used for doing pancakes, and it was practically impossible to make the omelet turn on itself.

Watching the videos again I think I'm starting to get it. The trick seems to be punching the pan, which leaves the omelet in free fall and makes it spin on itself.

I managed to get the omelet to spin and turn completely over. I didn't manage yet to make the ends meet, melt into each other and turn the omelet into that impressive american football shape.

  • It looks to be to be closer to soft-scrambled eggs, that you roll up towards the end to form a bit of a skin. (and then rotate like an aebelskiver to get the skin on all sizes) They both look to be using much more egg than you'd expect in that size pan than you'd use for an omelet. – Joe Jan 25 '15 at 15:22
  • Some of my attempts did come out close to American Test Kitchen's scrambled eggs from season 1. I wasn't able to turn them, not sure if lack of skill or too few eggs (since you pointed that out, I was using only two large ones), but probably both. – Juliano Jan 25 '15 at 16:00
  • @Joe I tried another batch using very little milk as in scrambled eggs, but the omelet would break on the smallest attempt to turn it. – Juliano Jan 26 '15 at 13:02
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    Milk tends to make it more tender, which is going to result in the problems you mention. I'd try just eggs first, then once you get that working, try a splash of water to see how that behaves. – Joe Jan 26 '15 at 18:08
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    Another test this morning showed that 2 large eggs in a 9" pan didn't give enough volume to pull it off. I had a little bit of sticking from cooking at a lower heat, but the most dramatic difference seemed to be the volume, as it didn't allow sufficient runny interior relative to the cooked surface area to be able to roll it into the shape in the video. – Joe Jan 29 '15 at 15:49
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Hi for anyone interested, the chef himself has put up videos of his recipe, and techniques. Apologies for the long post; I know it's an old thread lol...just thought I'd post it just in case:) Omuraisu recipe:

30g chicken thigh,70g onions,15g seasonal greens (he's using komatsuna),10g any mushrooms (he's using king oyster), 150g cold rice, 10g butter, 200ml eggs (about 3.5 eggs), demi-glace sauce (36 cl? for flavouring rice, and 36cl? for pouring over). (He says he uses these amounts to suit the rice-mould he uses for plating up).

He has detailed videos regarding the omelette-making; here is one. Pertinent points he mentions are:

  1. Usually he uses 3 eggs, with a 21-22cm frypan. The size of the pan is important.
  2. Since 2 eggs is better for at home, he is demonstrating with 2 in this video. He flavours with salt only, but says you can flavour it how you like. If you add things with a water base to the egg, like milk or cream, it makes it more difficult.
  3. (1:20-) 3 frypans: 18 cm, 20cm frypans are good sizes for 2 eggs. 24cm pan is a bit harder. (26cm pans are too big, although they are probably common in households - he doesn't demo with this one).
  4. (2:18-) 3 important points for a fluffy omelette:

    a) the temperature must be JUST right before eggs are poured in. It is difficult to turn the omelette if the temperature is too low or too high because the eggs stick.

    b) mix thoroughly and quickly when eggs are poured into the pan, left hand shakes the pan back and forth, right hand mixes egg around with cooking chopsticks. Gather in the edges that tend to cook quickly.

    c) the 'ton ton' tapping/rolling the omelette into shape at the end - do this quickly to keep the eggs half runny. You should be exposing the omelette to as little heat as possible here. This is tricky so remember the following points: tip the pan up at a 45 degree angle when doing this. Practice with a cloth - imagine the eggs closest to you in the pan, then you tap the pan so that the eggs shift towards the edge of the pan furthest away from you, by which time they have formed into an oblong shape. When there, you flip the omelette completely over in the pan to seal the open edge. When sealed, turn the omelette around bit by bit using the tapping technique (getting as little heat as possible in the omelette), then turn onto a plate pushed up against the pan in a 'V' shape.

  5. (5:08-) He then demonstrates these points with each different size pan. He uses high heat, but says you can start on a medium heat. Mix eggs thoroughly, without putting air in them (back and forth motion with chopsticks). Oil pan thoroughly, remove excess before adding eggs. The oil parts when it heats up. He runs some egg over the pan with a chopstick to test the heat - it should make a light sizzling sound and cook straight away. If it makes a high 'chhhh' sound and they overcook, he lowers the temperature by pouring in more oil for a second, then pouring it out again. The initial scrambling determines the softness of the final omelette. When done, remove from heat and scrape around the outside to prepare for the tapping stage; bang the pan to loosen the egg.

  6. He has a rubber spatula on hand to unstick eggs if they stick; if they are stuck to the pan, no amount of tapping will move them. He recommends a non-stick pan for home cooks. Once it is at the farthest end of the pan and starting to be shaped into an omelette shape, tap and turn the omelette while adjusting the heat level by taking the pan on and off the heat, to shape quickly. Then flip completely and put back on heat to close the open edge. Take off heat and tap to turn the omelette bit by bit once through in the pan, then tip onto the plate.

7.He says that the smaller pans create a shorter and plumper omelette which looks taller. The bigger pan (which he doesn't recommend) creates an omelette which is longer and not as plump. The big pan is difficult to cook with because the high heat level cooks the eggs faster (thus he keeps the pan tipped up while cooking, and only cooks at one end of the pan).

  1. He says that even professionals can't do this in one or two tries; that lots of practice is necessary - but that when you succeed it's extremely satisfying, so he encourages you to 'Let's try!':)

ps. Here's his omelette hack videofor an easier way.

pps. To cut the omelette open, he says it's important to use a very sharp knife. You make an initial cut in the centre, then cut forward to one end of the omelette, then draw the knife back through to the other end to split open.

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    Thank you so much for finding this AND taking the time to transcribe it! I hope this doesn't come as unfair to Joe, who also took his time and successfully reverse engineered this himself, but since it's the actual cook's instructions I'm marking this as the answer. It's hard to chose one answer as the right one here on Cooking! – Juliano Oct 2 '16 at 3:01
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    @Juliano : I'm glad to have confirmation that number of eggs & pan size are a factor. – Joe Oct 3 '16 at 16:24
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It's called an "omelet", but it's scrambled eggs, well formed into an omelet shape

Cook scrambled eggs, and just before they set (20 ish seconds) fold them, and tip the pan to roll them in the curve of the pan to form the classic omelet shape and serve. Since the eggs are not yet fully set, the outer surface will form a smooth omelet appearance

You need a pan with large lip, and gentle curve to achieve a nice uniform shape. After the initial cooking phase, tipping the pan is required to ensure the eggs mold into the curve of the pan, and the also have a reduced heat to stop over cooking (you don't have time to turn down the heat anyway, so tipping does it all)

If the surface is not smooth you have cooked it too long before folding, or you did not beat the eggs sufficiently. Eggs that have been fully cooked before folding cannot form a smooth skin surface, and eggs that are not fully beaten will never form a smooth surface as the different proteins congeal (denature) at different rates and elasticities

Omelet's are handled gently, scrambled eggs are handled more vigorously, and over a much higher heat. This type of egg dish requires the scrambled approach to start, and the omelet approach to finish

3

I used a pan with a rather significant lip (9" calphalon annodized aluminum with a flat bottom but is 3-4" high), with 3 eggs. Here are my findings:

  • You can (and should) let the eggs set up fairly well in the pan before rolling. You of course want to roll when there's still moisture, but because you have gravity on your side, I should have wait a bit longer before rolling.

  • medium-high heat (on an electric stove) may have actually been too much heat, as I got a bit of browning on the outside. (it may also have to do with my letting the oil preheat too long, a I put some oil in, then had to go and refill my oil can).

  • Make sure that you heat the ends of the roll sufficiently. I had leakage as I was plating it, because one of my ends wasn't completely sealed.

  • You don't need to turn down the heat, as the eggs pull a fair bit of heat out of the pan, making the initial cooking a bit hotter.

  • I achieved a texture quite similar looking to that in the videos with just eggs, no water or milk. (I did have to fold mine open; mine didn't burst open when sliced like the first video)

Also, in trying to do additional research on the sauce for it, it seems that 'omurice' started out as just a regular omelette filled with fried rice (which would still be good, although not necessarily as dramatic of a presentation). Many recipes said to use 'ketchup' for the sauce, but I didn't want to use American tomato ketchup, so I instead went with a German curry ketchup.

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    I grew up with my mum's omuraisu, where an omelette was filled with fried rice. I'd say it's still a really common household dish, often made to delight kids with a picture or their name drawn with ketchup on top. Lately there are more recipes around that pour a demi-glace based sauce on top instead (which looks like what the guy in the 1st video did), which I think would be delicious:) – lightawake Sep 30 '16 at 13:29
3

You might like to check out this video excerpt which shows what is happening in the pan quite clearly (starts 1:20): tampopo omuraisu

It is from a Japanese movie called 'Tampopo', a spaghetti western from the 80s about noodles and food. The name 'Omuraisu' = 'Omelette'+'rice', and is a staple in Japanese families - though the ones in these videos are fancy. In the Japanese recipes I've seen, you use 2 beaten eggs per person (some add salt, pepper, sugar), and you pour it into a very well-oiled pan at medium heat once it starts smoking. Apparently, the important point is to mix vigorously as soon as it's in the pan so that it doesn't stick. Good luck/ganbatte~ :)

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    In case the link ever breaks -- he only cooked it for a few seconds -- stirred until it started coagulating, then pushed the omelette to the far side of the pan (away from the handle), then lifted then pan by the handle and hit against the handle to cause the omelette to slowly roll over in the pan. Then plated, and sliced it open (but had to spread it open rather than have it pop open) – Joe Sep 29 '16 at 16:18
  • I haven't been able to reproduce that to this day haha. I never tried to fold it while it was as runny as that, also didn't oil it as much. Will try! – Juliano Sep 29 '16 at 17:23
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    Just saw hold old this thread was lol - but I found videos by the chef explaining how to make his omelette! Posted it below, in case it reignites some omelette-making?? ;) – lightawake Sep 30 '16 at 16:52
  • This is super old, but I thought I'd mention this: Netflix has this series, Midnight Diner, a Japanese drama about food (very reminiscent of Tampopo, its a really good show). There's an episode that focuses on omuraisu, and when the characters show you how to make it, they mention specifically that its necessary to use a lot of butter in the pan to get the fluffy omelette. Not sure if its meant to prevent sticking, or get mixed into the egg and fluff it that way somehow, or a combination of both, but it seemed to work for them. – senschen Dec 28 '16 at 16:03

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