By Naohiro Yoshida / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterChef Kimio Nonaga puts a twist on a classic Japanese sandwich by adding an unexpected ingredient to the omelet filling: cocoa. The chef suggested making two omelets, one plain and one featuring cocoa as a seasoning to give the sandwiches a pleasing visual contrast.
Nonaga is the third-generation owner of Nihonbashi Yukari, a restaurant in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. To make cooking more enjoyable, he encourages people to expand their repertoire by freeing themselves from old habits.
In washoku, omelets are often seasoned with soy sauce, but Nonaga suggests adding fresh cream, or covering them with kuromitsu dark molasses and kinako soybean powder.
The methods to prepare a regular omelet and one containing cocoa are basically the same.
First, Nonaga melted salted butter on a pan over medium heat. “Just like sprinkling salt on a watermelon, this can bring out the flavor of eggs,” he said.
Pour all the beaten egg mixture into the pan in one go. As the eggs begin to cook, don’t turn the heat lower. Instead, raise the pan from the stove to prevent them from being overcooked.
“Adjust the heat level by raising or lowering the pan,” Nonaga said. “Just return the pan to the stove when you want to cook the eggs a little more.”
The chef uses this technique to pay close attention to just the right heat level.
Then form the cooked eggs into a square to match the size of the slices of bread you use. Nonaga tilted his round pan slightly to the left to fold the right cooked edge of the eggs toward the center. Then he tilted the pan slightly to the right to fold the opposite side. When the edges are straight, he then folded the eggs toward the handle.
“After setting the shape of the omelet, slightly brown it to make the sweetness of the eggs stand out,” he said.
Make the sandwich and cut it into six portions. Nonaga applied his knife to the bread to reveal the beautiful cross sections of bread and omelet.
“The key to cleanly cutting the omelet sandwich is to sharpen a long knife well and make back and forth motions when cutting,” he said.
The simple omelet sandwich has a moist texture and the aroma of butter, while the cocoa version has a bittersweetness that brings out the overall flavor.
Recipe for regular & cocoa omelet sandwiches
Ingredients (serves 2):
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
20 grams salted butter
4 slices of bread
1. Beat three eggs and 3 tbsp of sugar in a bowl.
2. Melt 10 grams of butter in a pan over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan in one go and stir until half-cooked. Then flatten the mixture with a rubber spatula.
3. Form the eggs into a shape about the same size as the slices of bread.
4. Make the sandwich and cut it into six portions.
5. For the cocoa version, follow the above steps, beating the cocoa powder with the eggs.
To find out more about Japan’s attractions, visit http://the-japan-news.com/news/d&d