Okonomiyaki Recipe

I am a huge fan of Japanese food and cooking. And while my number one favorite Japanese food is Ramen, my secret favorite is Okonomiyaki (tied with Onigiri). Okonomiyaki is absolutely delicious, and you'd think that there would be a restaurant somewhere, anywhere in the US that would actually serve this stuff, but you can't find it at all.

It's not really that hard to make either. Most Okonomiyaki restaurants in Osaka and Tokyo basically let you make these things yourself. They'll mix everything in the back, bring it out to you, and give you the opportunity to fire 'em up. The steps are quite easy. Dump everything on the grill into a pancake, steam/fry it for 5 minutes, flip it, steam/fry it for another 5 minutes, and you're done.

Not all Okonomiyaki is made the same, though. I've been to a few other restaurants that have their own set of instructions. In Nagasaki, just down the road from Chitosepia, there's an Okonomiyaki vendor that builds the pancake first, then piles on all the cabbage, then all the other ingredients. In Kumamoto, Dave and I visited a restaurant that had Choboiyaki, the regional version of Okonomiyaki. They followed similar instructions to the Nagasaki version, except it was twice as large, and folded over in a burrito fashion. The burrito was sliced up, and you ate those pieces. Here's the blog post: http://www.theschlock.com/blog/?p=884

I didn't want to do anything that complicated with my own rendition. I don't even have a flat surface to fry these on anyway. I'm using a wok. For my recipe, I started using the instructions from here: http://okonomiyakiworld.com/best-okonomiyaki-recipe.html

Ingredients

All you need is the following: Okonomiyaki Mix, Water, Eggs, Cabbage, Green Onion, Bacon, Okonomiyaki Sauce, Japanese (or Kewpie) Mayonnaise.

Equipment

You'll need a measuring cup to measure the flour and water, and you'll need a mixing bowl to mix everything in, along with a whisk to do the mixing. You'll need a knife and a cutting board to chop up the cabbage and green onion. You'll need a pan with a cover to fry and steam/fry everything in. And you'll need a spatula to flip the pancake. You'll also need a plate to eat it off of.

Step 1. Mix Mix Mix

Take 1 cup of Okonomiyaki Mix, and place it in the mixing bowl. Add 2/3 cup of Water. Mix everything completely. Add 2 Eggs. Mix everything completely. Add a bunch of cabbage. The original recipe says 6 cups of Cabbage, but it's pretty easy to tell if you need more or less. Just keep mixing everything together until all the Cabbage is covered. If you have an amount of mixture left that hasn't covered cabbage. Add more Cabbage. Chop up (or mince?) 2 stalks of Green Onion. Mix everything completely.



Step 2. Pancake

With everything mixed completely, it's time to fry the sucker. Flip on a stove top to medium heat, and add some oil in your pan. Let it heat up. Take HALF of your mixture and plop it right on top of the oil. Smash it down into the pan and squish all the cabbage. Try and flattened it out a little bit, but make sure to keep it as a circle. When satisfied, take 3 strips of Bacon. Cut them in half. And cover the surface area of the pancake. Then cover the pan, and let the pancake steam/fry for 5ish minutes.



Step 3. Repeat

After 5 minutes, the bottom of the pancake should start to get crispy. Separate the pancake from the pan with a spatula, and flip that sucker over. Cover, and wait another 5 minutes.


Step 4. Complete

After 5 minutes, it's complete! Flip it over again so the bacon side is up. Fry it a little bit longer if you think it needs it. Plop the pancake on a plate, and add the Okonomiyaki Sauce and Mayonnaise across the top.


Step 5. Rinse and Repeat


You should still have half of the pancake mix left. Do the same steps with that to create 2 pancakes.

Not Bad!

My first attempt tasted pretty damn good. I had Fishy and Chaos over to give it a try, and they liked it quite a bit. :) Though, what really brings out the nostalgia and flavor of the Okonomiyaki is the sauce and the mayonnaise. Underneath, the cabbage and mix seemed... pretty regular. Very safe, and normal.

Today is Saturday, and to fix the problem of the boring Okonomiyaki, I went to the farmer's market to find some delicious vegetables and food in hopes to shake things up.

I picked up some Shiitake Mushrooms, a Red Pepper, a Purple Pepper, some Okra, some Garlic, some Onions, and Edemame. I also bought a bottle of dark honey. It's amazing what you can get for a mere $10 these days.

For my next attempt, I mixed in 2 mushrooms, half a red pepper, and half an onion, along with the cabbage and green onion. It started smelling a lot like coleslaw... I think that was the onions fault.

The resulting pancake was pretty large. I think dividing the mixture into thirds would have worked out much better than halves, but it was much better than my first attempt. The mushrooms, pepper, and onion contributed so much to the overall texture of the pancake. It was quite good.

Salmon!

A couple of weeks ago, I bought some Smoked Salmon from the Public Market in Seattle, and figured it would be the perfect ingredient for Okonomiyaki.


I read a little tip online on how to introduce Salmon into the mix, and it worked out pretty well. The following steps details what I did. Start doing these steps just after Step 1 at the top. Also, for veggies I used 3 stalks Green Onion, 1/2 White Onion, and 1/2 Red Pepper.

1. Cook the Salmon. I think it's always a good rule of thumb to cook the meat before adding it to anything you may consume. I basically crumbled and mashed it all up in the pan though. I basically turned the salmon into fish flakes.

2. Use 2/3 in the mix. Take 2/3 of the salmon you've cooked and mix it in with everything else. Leave 1/3 of the salmon in the pan.

3. Pancake! Put your pancake mix over the 1/3 salmon remaining in the pan so you have a layer of salmon on the bottom, and a layer of bacon on the top.

Oh my god, this turned out the best of the 3. The salmon flakes on the bottom gave a delicious earthy texture, and the salmon internally gave a much more robust flavor to the entire meal.


Results!

Okonomiyaki is pretty easy to make once you purchase the flour, the sauce and the mayonnaise. Just mix everything together and throw it in a pan.




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