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I am sadly not Asian…unless you want to count the family rumor that my grandfather’s grandmother was Mongolian. Asian culture has always been an interest to me and my husband. I wouldn’t say we’re complete ‘weeaboos’ though. We understand there’s more to Japan than it’s anime. We love to watch Basho (Sumo Wrestling) and I often keep up on Japanese news through the NHK channel. Strangely, Eastern art in general has found it’s way into our home- through lanterns from Marrakesh to Japanese wall hangings of cranes in our dinning room. A few years ago, we even got to enjoy an 16 hour layover in Tokyo where we went to Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku (that trip is for another blog post entirely).
Asian food has also been a “thing” in our marriage. Our love for Chinese Buffets, Sushi, and other “unique eats” have led me to try to find recipes I can do at home.
I found this recipe (Chef Taro’s Okonomiyaki) on Pinterest. Unfortunately the website it links to is not that great and in Portuguese, but you can find it HERE if you want to browse.
So I decided to show you how my experience was. I you’ve ever had takoyaki (also called Octopus Balls) you know how delicious it is (and no, while it does contain Octopus and is ball shaped, it doesn’t not contain any below the belt parts of the Octopus).
I have a takoyaki pan and while I love making it, it can be extremely messy and you have to have a quickness I have not mastered yet. So when I found this recipe and tasted the final product I was ecstatic that I had an easier alternative to takoyaki and it didn’t involve buying expensive Octopus which usually went mostly wasted.
So without further delay here’s the Okonomiyaki recipe!
This recipe makes 4 pancakes and this requires a 1 hour chill so make sure you have time!
- 1 1/4 cups of sifted All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups of Ichiban Dashi (though I used Hondashi which comes in little pellets that you dissolve in water. I actually use 2 cups, but feel free to go with the original suggestion.)
- 1 tablespoon grated yam (also known as sweet potato)
- 4 cups of thinly sliced cabbage (I’ll direct you to a link that will show you how to do this if you don’t know)
- 4 large raw eggs
- 4 tablespoons of Tenkasu which are Tempura Flakes (I used Panko crumbs because it was easier to find at my grocer)
- Beni Shoga also known as red ginger. (I used a kind of pink pickled ginger that was sold for when you make sushi)
- 8 slices of Sliced Pork Belly. I ended up using regular, non-flavored, center cut, thick bacon. Because the pieces where so big, I ended up only using four slices which I cut into to pieces.
- Okonomiyaki Sauce. This is a necessary topping. It tastes slightly like Molasses, but don’t let that turn you off. It goes really well with the savoriness of the pancake. You can find this in the Asian part of your grocery store, or any Oriental food center. OR you can click the Amazon link below to order it, and the best thing is IT’S PRIME so you can get it in a couple of days!
- Japanese Mayo (I like the Kewpie brand)
- Bonito Flakes
- Dried Seaweed
1.) Okay, first thing’s first: I like to do what the French call “mise en place” which means to “put in place” by measuring out and prepping all my ingredients before I even start cooking.This means dealing with that cabbage. While I eat cabbage and know how to use it for taco cups and things like that, I had no idea how to shred it, but luckly Martha Stewart had put together a perfect how-to video HERE.
2.) Now that you’re all prepped and ready to go, we’re going to start on the batter. You’ll want to mix your flour, baking powder and liquid Dashi (you’ll want to leave about a 1/4 cup for the next step). Mix well until there are no lumps.
3.) Slowly pour in the rest of the Dashi and the grated yam and mix well again.
4.) Cover your batter and put it in the fridge for one hour.
NOW TO START COOKING!!!!
5.) I used a non stick pan for this over Medium Heat and I sprayed it with Pam just to be safe. You will be making one pancake at a time because these can be pretty large.
6.) Pour or ladle a 1/4 of the batter into a separate bowl and add 1 cup of the shredded cabbage.
7.) Next, add 1 tablespoon of the Tenkasu (or panko) to the batter along with 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of the Beni Shoga (pickled ginger) and mix well. You want to get a lot of air in this if possible.
8.) Pour the batter onto your hot frying pan.
9.) Take the bacon or pork belly and stretch it a little (because it’s going to shrink) and lay that on top.
10.) When the sides of the pancake seem stiff and if you peek and see the bottom is getting brown and toasted looking, it’s time to flip! Because of the size of this, the goal is to only flip it once. You’ll want to cook this side a little longer, because you have raw bacon that needs to be fully cooked before you serve it.
11.) Okay! Now to plate it. Transfer it to a plate and put a generous amount of the Okonoyami sauce on it as well as a lot of the mayo, slivered seaweed, and Bonito flakes and be sure to eat it while it’s hot!
This is one of those foods that is great for a Friday night with a nice beer. We also had it with sake and it was equally delicious.
If you make this, please let me know how it went in the comments! – Heather Astaneh