Japanese food may seem intimidating to some….well, it was to me but over the years I’ve struck on an epiphany, ingredients-wise they’re not all that complicated, it’s more the technique of cooking. Take a simple sushi for example. Main ingredients; rice, vinegar, seaweed. Not that unusual right, but what makes it special? The rolling technique. Sushi masters took years and years to master this art of clumping the rice together and pairing it with the right kind of accompaniment. Okonomiyaki got me started cooking Japanese food cause a friend of mine (who happens to be Japanese) made it look so easy. To make okonomiyaki, it’s best if you have the appropriate accompaniments.
With Okonomiyaki, once you got the basics down, anything goes with this dish. You can add seafood, leftover chicken dinner, certain odds and ends veges sitting in the fridge. But the main ingredient has to be cabbage.
About half of a medium sized cabbage head, cut to shreds
Half a white onion chopped
Carrot, shredded finely
Pre-cooked bacon pieces or any other proteins of choice, they have to be slightly pre-cooked.
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour / okonomiyaki flour
1 packet Dashi powder
Okonomiyaki brown sauce
Aosa seaweed (fine seaweed flakes)
1. When cutting the cabbage, make sure you discard the hard core in the middle.
2. Cut up the harder parts of the cabbage finely, you can also do this in a food processor.
3. Prep all your other vegetables as mentioned.
4. Put all your vegetables into a big bowl.
5. Mix the batter together with the ingredients, add your water till you have a consistency that coats the back of your spoon but still flows down smoothly. Be cautious with the salt because dashi powder can be quite salty in itself.
6. Pour your batter slowly to the vegetables, do not drown them, just half-submerged.
7. Mix it together gently.
8. Heat your flat griddle or a frying pan on a medium fire. Grease the pan using a paper towel. Scoop your okonomiyaki mixture and spread it flat around. If you clump it together too thick in the middle, it might not cook. Let it brown for about 5 – 10 mins on the first side.
9. While one side is cooking, take your pre-cooked bacon pieces and place it on the uncooked part. Spread a bit of the batter over the bacon with the back of a spoon so that it will adhere to the okonomiyaki.
10. Flip it around and brown the other side.
11. When the okonomiyaki is cooked on both sides, plate it and quickly squeeze the brown sauce onto it in a zig-zag motion, then the mayonnaise. Sprinkle the bonito flakes on top and lastly the aosa seaweed. Eat while hot.
Note: You can use the bacon grease from your pre-cooked bacon to grease your pan. Do not keep the batter in the fridge, cook everything and then re-heat them for later if you can’t finish all of them. Also, do not sprinkle bonito flakes and seaweed under a whirling fan cause it’ll fly everywhere.