Omelet rice is a Taiwanese staple that came to the island via Japan. It is so luscious and simple, and such a balanced meal, that it's little wonder danbaofan has become everyone's favorite.
Normally this is made with something like pork, char siu (roast pork), or sweet Cantonese sausages (lop chong). Nothing wrong with that.
However, I like to play around with it, and the results depend upon what’s hanging around in the refrigerator. After all, this is simply glorified fried rice, and so glorify it I do.
|Browning the sausage|
I was talking with my friend Marc about this the other day, and we exchanged notes. A chef he knows uses goat sausage and fish sauce in his version of danbaofan, so that got me thinking. Yes, I had just the thing for another, new version of this classic.
And it turns out that Merguez sausages are lovely in here, their Moroccan spices and gentle smokiness lending a savory perfume and making this even more sublime. I’ve added asparagus for good measure. Plus that fish sauce, which puts all the flavors in perspective.
In Taiwan you’d maybe add shrimp and/or peas. Obviously, this recipe is designed to be monkeyed with, so go crazy.
|Walnuts & brown rice add nuttiness|
Uptown Taiwanese omelet rice chez Huang
Huángjiā dànbāofàn 黃家蛋包飯
Taiwan cuisine with a twist
Serves 2 to 4
2 Merguez sausages (around 5 ounces | 140 g)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup | 50 g coarsely chopped walnuts
2 cups | 350 g cooked short-grain brown rice, cooled
½ bunch | 200 g asparagus, trimmed and chopped
¼ cup or so fish sauce
1 tablespoon catsup
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
|Lots of green onion for vegetal perfume|
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Catsup for garnish
1. Remove the skins from the sausages and chop very coarsely. Set a wok over medium heat and fry the sausages without adding any oil. When the sausage starts to brown, toss in the walnuts. As soon as the walnuts begin to brown, scoop the meat and walnuts up to one side and add the oil and then the cold rice.
|The omelet wrapper|
2. Stir-fry the rice to lighten it up, and once it too starts to turn golden, mix in the sausage and walnuts, as well as the asparagus. Toss these until things are beginning to smell toasty, and then add a couple tablespoons of fish sauce, the catsup, and black pepper to taste. Toss some more and taste, then add more fish sauce if needed. Scoop the rice out onto as many plates as you need (2 to 4 is normal, or you can make one big rice omelet as an entrée).
3. Set the wok back over medium heat. You will make one thin omelet to cover each serving, so drizzle a bit of oil into the wok and a portion of the eggs. Lightly cook the egg on one side only. When it is set in the middle but still slightly damp, overturn it onto a serving of the fried rice. Repeat until all the eggs have been fried and the rice covered. Decorate with a stripe of catsup and serve. Eat with a big spoon.