Comfort Cooking

Crispy chewy oyster omelette

Wondering what to cook today? In this daily series, STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo whips up easy eats to try at home

ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

Fry up this hawker favourite at home with as many ingredients as you like.

The joy of cooking oyster omelette, popularly known as orh luak in Teochew or orh jian in Hokkien, is that you get to decide exactly how many of those juicy plump oysters are going into the sizzling pan.

It is best to cook this dish with a flat pan, to match the large flat cast-iron pans used by hawkers.

I used my paella pan, which is 33cm in diameter. It is the perfect size for the amount of batter in my recipe.

If you are using a smaller pan, reduce the batter so you do not end up with a thick, starchy omelette, unless you like it that way.

Then, there is the secret to achieving those sought-after crispy brown bits.

Sweet potato flour gives that nice starchy, chewy and gooey texture, while rice flour gives the omelette an edgy crispy goodness.

As for the all-important seafood ingredient, I choose to fry the oysters on the side and serve them on top of the omelette.

It makes for a neater and more attractive presentation. More importantly, it lessens the risk of overcooking the oysters.

For my take on this local classic, I use frozen oysters which come shucked.

Quality oysters have that wonderful briny flavour of the sea. To counter fishy odours, pound some fresh ginger root, squeeze out the juice and use it to marinate the oysters.

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ORH LUAK (OYSTER OMELETTE)

INGREDIENTS

16 oysters (180g)

2 Tbs ginger juice

¾ tsp white ground pepper

60g sweet potato flour

20g rice flour

180ml water

⅓ tsp salt

20g garlic chives, chopped

3 eggs (55g each)

5 Tbs cooking oil

3 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 stalk of Chinese celery, cut into 1-cm lengths

METHOD

1. Place the oysters in a bowl. Add the ginger juice and ¼ tsp of ground white pepper. Mix well and leave it to marinate for 10 minutes.

2. In another bowl, add the sweet potato flour and rice flour. Add the water and mix well.

3. Season the batter with ¼ tsp of ground white pepper and 1/3 tsp of salt.

4. Add the garlic chives and mix well. Set aside.

5. Crack two eggs into a bowl and beat. Set aside.

6. Add 3 Tbs of oil to the frying pan over medium heat. Add the batter with garlic chives to the pan and let it cook for 30 seconds.

7. Pour in the beaten egg and use the frying slice to spread it over the batter. Add the fish sauce and remaining ¼ tsp of ground white pepper. Add the sesame oil. Use the frying slice to spread the seasoning around the egg. Cook for 45 seconds.

8. As the omelette begins to set, use the frying slice to halve it. Flip each half over.

9. Crack the last egg on top of the omelette and spread it over the omelette. Cook for 30 seconds and turn the halves over again.

10. Drizzle 1 Tbs of oil around the sides of the pan. Fry for one minute until the omelette is slightly browned. Switch off the heat and remove the omelette from the pan and place on a serving plate. Wipe the pan clean.

11. Over medium heat, add 1 Tbs of oil to the pan and fry the chopped garlic. Add the oysters and fry for 45 seconds.

12. Switch off the heat and remove the oysters from the pan. Place them on top of the omelette. Garnish with Chinese celery and serve immediately.

Makes four servings

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2020, with the headline 'Crispy chewy oyster omelette'. Subscribe