Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cooking Adventures: Okonomiyaki

So I tried out a fairly flexible recipe – and I say flexible, because I didn’t have half of the ingredients and it still came out edible. I looove okonomiyaki and just had to try it out! This isn’t the most flavorful rendition in the world, but I still enjoyed it, and it was incredibly easy to make. Okonomiyaki is generally pretty forgiving. Here’s the recipe I originally referred to, although like I said, I didn’t have a ton of the ingredients and improvised most of it.

If you don’t know what okonomiyaki is, it’s pretty difficult to explain, but hopefully this post will give you a better idea. It’s kind of like a pancake, kind of like a pizza, kind of like an omelette… but not. I’ve seen a ton of different variations, and you can do almost anything you want with it, but this is what I did the first time I made okonomiyaki.

First cut up the veggies. One of the most basic components of all okonomiyaki (as far as I know) is cabbage. Shred it up into tiny pieces, along with any other vegetables you like – in this case, I added some carrot in there. Altogether, I had just under a cup of cabbage and a single carrot.

Next, make the batter. It’s basically just flour, water, and egg. To make a small okonomiyaki I just put in a single egg, along with about 20 grams of flour and 2 tablespoons of water. I’m used to putting milk in any type of batter, but that’s not the case here. Have your veggies at the ready and…

Mix it all together! This is where I really felt the difference of the lack of milk – the whole thing felt so dry! But this is fine, and it should be pretty chunky; you won’t want it to drip all over the place when you go to cook it. I just used a fork to mix it all up, but if you have a spatula, it’ll come in handy in a second…

Now to cook this up! But a tad of oil in your pan, just so that the batter doesn’t stick, and dump your mixture onto the pan. Use a spatula to get it all out of the bowl and make the pancake as even as possible. Now we need to steam it.

Look at how unprepared I was! I didn't have a cover for the pan I was using, so I just used a different one that was for a much bigger pan. Just goes to show how much time I put into preparing for this... and how easy it is to pull off. Just improvise with what you have in the kitchen. :P

Let the batter sit for a while and cook. Use a spatula to lift the edge every once in a while and see if it's solid yet. Once the bottom is solid enough that it won't fall apart, go ahead and flip it over with your spatula. Use a knife, fork, another spatula, or something to help you turn it over if you need to.

Let it cook for a while longer on the other side. Don't press down on it or anything, though, since you want it to stay pretty airy and fluffy inside. The edges on mine were totally uneven, and didn't cook as well as the rest of it. This wasn't really a problem in the end for me, but if anyone has any tips on cooking okonomiyaki better please let me know! ^^ The recipe I followed said to only flip it over once, but I think that might have mostly been due to the other ingredients making the process more complicated, and I actually just kept flipping it over until it looked a little more golden and solid.


While still in the pan, I put on the sauce. I didn't have any okonomiyaki sauce, nor the proper ingredients to make one, but that didn't end up being a problem. Apparently it tastes just fine with soy sauce, but I actually put katsu sauce on it and thought it tasted great. I also ripped up some nori (seaweed) into little pieces and put some on there too. I tasted it with and without the nori and liked it both ways - I ended up just covering it in nori completely. If anything, it makes it look a little more interesting. 

Here's the final product! A very simple, rough version of okonomiyaki. Now, I don't think my version really makes this dish justice - if you ever have the opportunity to have some authentic okonomiyaki, I strongly urge you to try it. But if you just want to try something different, tasty, and easy to make with ingredients you already have lying around, then keep this recipe in mind!

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