Japanese Chicken Rice is nothing like Hainanese chicken rice, although both have the words ‘chicken rice’ in the name. Japanese Chicken Rice is a fried rice with chicken and diced vegetables, seasoned with tomato ketchup.
It is a popular rice dish among young children, perhaps because of the vivid colour and the dome-shaped presentation. The green peas in the centre also make the dish visually attractive.
About Japanese Chicken Rice
When people say ‘chikin raisu’ (チキンライス, chicken rice) in Japan, everyone think of today’s dish. The set meals for children called ‘okosama ranchi’ (お子様ランチ, lunch set for children) often include Chicken Rice (photo below).
Japanese Chicken Rice originated in the Taishō period. It was initially called ‘chikken raisu’ (チッケンライス) and the colour of the rice was not red since it did not use tomato ketchup. Chikken raisu was a Western style takikomi gohan by cooking rice with sautéed chicken pieces, and vegetable pieces together.
Chikken raisu was given to vulnerable people in a form of Onigiri at Christmas parties held by the churches. The voluntary workers thought that many children would enjoy the Western style food, chikken raisu, which has high energy and a great flavour.
Around the end of the Taishō period and the beginning of the Shōwa period, the current version of Japanese Chicken Rice was created. Apparently, one of the ketchup brands, Kagome, put in a lot of effort into marketing the current version of Chicken Rice. Kagome’s effort certainly paid off.
Chicken Rice is also known as the rice for Omurice, and my Omurice (Japanese Rice Omelette) used fried rice with tomato ketchup flavour.
What’s in My Japanese Chicken Rice (Ketchup Chicken Fried Rice)
- Chicken thigh fillets, cut into small cubes
- Finely chopped onion
- Thinly sliced mushrooms (button mushrooms or swiss brown mushrooms)
- Diced carrot
- Cooked rice (hot or warm)
- Oil, preferably the oil from chicken skin
Instead of thigh fillets, you can use chicken breast fillets if you prefer. It will make the chicken pieces slightly dry though.
If your fillet comes with skin, I strongly recommend making chicken oil out of the skin and using it to stir-fry the ingredients. The chicken oil adds an extra flavour to the rice. You can see my oil in the ingredients photo above is brownish. See the next section which includes making chicken oil.
There are a few seasonings involved in adding flavours to the rice, but all ingredients are pantry staples. Looking at the list of the Flavouring ingredients, you can easily tell that it is a yōshoku (Western-style Japanese dish), can’t you?
- Tomato ketchup
- Tomato paste
- Worcestershire sauce
- Red wine
- Boiled green peas (I used frozen peas)
Chicken rice is delicious even without green peas, but they will make the dish look pretty and catch people’s eyes, especially children.
To add a green colour to the dish, you could also add green peas, or diced green capsicum to the fried rice as an alternative.
How to make Japanese Chicken Rice (Ketchup Chicken Fried Rice)
It is fried rice after all, so the process of making Japanese Chicken Rice follows the similar steps. See the video.
Making Chicken Oil (optional)
- Spread a chicken skin on a frying pan over low heat.
- Cook for a few minutes, turning over a couple of times. The surface of the skin becomes brown.
- When about 1 tablespoon of oil comes out, remove the skin.
Making Chicken Rice
- Sauté chopped onion in a frying pan.
- Add the chicken and cook until chicken is nearly cooked.
- Add the vegetables and cook.
- Add tomato ketchup, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and sauté.
- Add salt, mix, then add butter. Stir well until the butter is completely melted.
- Add rice to the pan and mix, ensuring that every rice grain turns red. Turn the heat off.
When mixing the rice, use a spatula in cutting motion to break the lumps of rice so that you don’t flatten the grains.
Serving Chicken Rice
- Put the Chicken Rice in a mould and press down on the surface of the rice.
- Flip the mould upside down onto a serving plate.
- Put several green peas on the top if using.
A mould can be a rice bowl and make a round dome-shape, or just transfer the rice without making a shape.
About Omurice Mould
Japanese Chicken Rice is often served in a football shape using a mould. This particular shape of mould is called ‘omurice mould’ because the shape is similar to Omurice. It is also called ‘melon shape mould’ due to the similarity of the shape when the melon is halved.
Chicken Rice is so tasty. When I made it for the photo and video shoot, I could not stop eating it again and again. It is very dangerous.
Watch How To Make It
Japanese Chicken Rice is a fried rice with chicken and diced vegetables, seasoned with tomato ketchup. It is a popular rice dish among young children, perhaps because of the vivid colour and the dome-shaped presentation. The green peas in the centre also make the dish visually attractive. See the video.
Cook Time includes cooking the chicken skin to get chicken oil out of it, which takes a few minutes.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 300g/0.7lb cooked rice (hot or warm, microwave if day old/frozen)
- 150g/5.3oz chicken thigh fillet cut into about 1.5cm/⅝" cubes (note 1)
- 50g/1.8oz onion finely diced
- 30g/1.1oz mushrooms (button or swiss brown), thinly sliced
- 25g/0.9oz carrot diced into 3-5mm/⅛-3⁄16" cubes
- 1 tbsp oil (preferably the oil from chicken skin, note 2)
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
- ½ tsp tomato paste
- 10g/0.4oz butter cut into cubes
- ½ tsp salt
- A dozen green peas (boiled, note 3)
Heat a frying pan over low heat. Spread a chicken skin on the pan and cook for a few minutes, turning it over a couple of times.
When about 1 tablespoon of oil comes out, remove the skin. If you can't get enough oil out of the skin, add oil to make up to 1 tablespoon.
Put chicken oil (or oil) in a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until the onion becomes translucent.
Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes until the chicken pieces change colour and start browning.
Add carrots, sauté for a short while, then add mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms become wet and wilted. Reduce the heat to medium low.
Add tomato ketchup, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and mix well, ensuring that the chicken and vegetable pieces are evenly coated in the sauce.
Add salt and mix, then add butter. Mix well until the butter is melted.
Add rice to the pan and mix. Use a cutting motion to break the lumps of rice up so that each rice grain is coated in the red sauce and there are no white patches on the rice.
Turn the heat off.
Put a half of the Chicken Rice into a mould or a standard rice bowl. Press down on the surface of the rice gently but firmly.
Flip the mould/bowl upside down onto a serving plate. Put 6 green peas on the top if using, pressing down gently so they stay on top.
Repeat for the second serving.
1. You can use chicken breast if you prefer, but the cooked chicken pieces will be a bit dry.
2. If your chicken fillet came with skin on, use the skin to make chicken oil (see the optional step in the instructions). It adds more flavour to the fried rice.
3. I used frozen peas.
4. I used a stainless-steel rice mould called 'melon shape mould' or 'omurice mould', which is like the shape of a football or a melon that is cut in half. You can buy omurice mould from eBay and Amazon.
As an alternative, you can use a rice bowl and make a half sphere shape. You don’t need to use a mould to serve Japanese Chicken Rice, either.
5. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 319g calories: 487kcal fat: 23g (29%) saturated fat: 6.1g (31%) trans fat: 0.3g polyunsaturated fat: 3.9g monounsaturated fat: 11g cholesterol: 82mg (27%) sodium: 985mg (43%) carbohydrates: 54g (20%) dietary fibre: 1.7g (6%) sugar: 7.8g protein: 18g vitamin D: 0mcg (1%) calcium: 39mg (3%) iron: 2.6mg (14%) potassium: 418mg (9%)