Tuesday, November 24, 2015


It's an international constant: savory fried discs of eggy batter studded with goodies are delicious. The latest iteration of such foodstuff to cross my plate is the Japanese okonomiyaki, which I had for the first time a couple months ago at a local Japanese grocery and food stand in Ardmore, Maido!, which also provided all the ingredients necessary to make such a quick and tasty treat at home (I am beyond thrilled to have this market a mere two blocks away!). Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake which, like all other pancakes, is eminently customizable. Since I've taken to making them at home, I have made a slightly different version each time, depending on what's in the fridge. The recurring themes are usually shrimp, cabbage, bacon and the toppings, bonito flakes and the umami-licious okonomiyaki sauce. Bonito flakes really are a wonder; fine filaments of deep fish flavor that wave and undulate lightly the moment they alight onto the pancake. I highly recommend getting yourself a stockpile online if you're not close to any Asian retailer.

Forgive the photos - I have to change the lighting in my kitchen, somehow.

Makes two entree-size pancakes or four 6-inch pancakes

Recipe adapted from the recipe affixed to the packaging on my bottle of Otafuku Okonomi Sauce!

*1 cup flour
*2/3 cup very cold water
*Big pinch dashi granules
*Big pinch sea salt
*4 eggs, beaten
*1 cup green cabbage, cut into thin strips and chopped
*3 scallions, sliced thin, plus an extra sliced scallion for garnish
*1 heaving cup of mixed meat/seafood (I usually use small shrimp, sliced in half lengthwise, bay scallops and squid, plus a couple crumbled strips of fried bacon)
*Peanut or Vegetable oil, for frying
*Okonomi sauce (sold in Asian retailers, or you can find recipes online), for garnish
*Bonito flakes, for garnish
*Kewpie mayonnaise is good on this too, I just happen to be all out

Mix the flour, dashi, salt and water in a bowl, then add the beaten eggs. Stir until combined; it doesn't have to be lump-free. Throw in the meat and vegetables, then set aside and heat the oil in a skillet over medium. When hot, ladle batter out to make the first pancake. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, then dish out and top with all the garnishes. Repeat with the rest of the batter 'n dig in.

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