An omelette is a sweet or savory dish made from whole beaten eggs, cooked in a shallow pan without stirring until set. The word comes from French, but omelettes were made in Europe as long ago as Roman times. The etymology of the word may come from the Latin “lamella,” a thin flat plate, possibly referring to the flat shape of an omelette, or the clay dish in which omelettes were cooked.
In Japan you will find egg dishes very similar to European omelettes: usu tamago yaki (thin omelette) or tamago yaki (rolled omelette) are both classic recipes.
Yoshoku dishes would include: Omuraisu is rice wrapped in a thin omelette and served with gravy or ketchup.
Kanitama-don is a crab omelette served over rice and topped with sauce, which Mr. Tess thought tasted like egg foo young. (I suppose egg foo young might be a Chinese-American omelette.)
And today’s recipe is a tofu omelette made with colorful summer vegetables. Ms. Shimbo also includes a recipe which her mother made using traditional Japanese ingredients. When it comes to omelettes, I like them plain, or maybe with a little cheese. Ask Mr. Tess—he makes omelettes with just about anything edible in them. I was pleasantly surprised that this recipe was very nice and light, and very tasty. We’ll be trying Ms. Shimbo’s mother’s recipe soon!
Tofu Omelette with Colorful Summer Vegetables
serves 3 as a main dish, or 6 as an appetizer
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, sliced thin (about 4 ounces)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 ounces)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares (about 3 ounces)
- 1/4 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (aobut 2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup dashi
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to low, add the onion, and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes—don’t brown the onions. Adding a pinch of salt during the cooking will help the onion to soften.
Increase the heat to medium, add the cubed vegetables, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the dashi and sugar, increase the heat to high, and cook the mixture, stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Add the soy sauce and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl. You can make the vegetables ahead to this point if you like. Refrigerate, or proceed…
The Tofu and Eggs:
- 1 block firm tofu (11 ounces)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Place the tofu in a clean, tightly woven cotton cloth, and squeeze it to remove excess water. Transfer to a bowl and mash the tofu with a fork. Beat the eggs in another bowl. Add the tofu and vegetables to the eggs, and fold with a spatula. Season with salt.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Heat an 8-inch skillet, and add the oil.When the oil is hot, adjust the heat to medium, and add the tofu mixture. Cook the omelette and egg, covered, for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, gently shaking the skillet to prevent the omelette from sticking. The omelette is ready to turn when the bottom is golden, after about 4 or 5 minutes. Use a spatula to lift the edge to check.
Place a flat platter over the skillet and invert the omelette onto the plate. Slide the omelette back into the skillet and cook, browned side up, covered, until the other side is golden. About 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Mixed salad greens tossed with ponzu dressing
Cut the omelette into bite-sized pieces and arrange them over the greens. I liked the look of the wedge shaped slices and the omelette is tender enough to eat with chopsticks so I went with that.
Notes: the original recipe called for a lot more olive oil, but my skillet is a very well seasoned cast iron pan which is better than non-stick cookware, so I cut back on the amount. I also used a little less sugar—I don’t have a sweet tooth.
Coming as soon as time allows will be a post about the wonderful eggplant and tomato salad you see in my pictures…
Other Japanese Pan-Fried Recipes from Tess
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