Saturday, January 1, 2011

Akemashite Omedetou (Happy New year)

Oyster Okonomiyaki in Miyajima

Happy New Year everyone! What better way to start a new year than to have Okonomiyaki! One of my favorite food when traveling in Japan. Unfortunately, I find it really hard to duplicate when in Canada. No matter how much a try it just never taste as good as when in Osaka (or even Hiroshima). I just found a very well explained recipe on a fellow blog's. I will give it a try today! Here is the link.

But first I should give a little intro about Okonomiyaki. Here a lot of westerners call it Japanese Pizza! I have to say, personally I find it resemble more a stuff crêpe or a cabbage omelet. Here is what Wikipedia has to say : Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き?) is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked" (cf. yakitori and yakisoba). Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region. 

What make this dish interesting is the distinction one has to make between Osaka-fu (Osaka-style) or Hiroshima-fu (Hiroshima style) okonomiyaki for they are quite different! In the Osaka-fu okonomiyaki, all the layers are mix together. In the Hiroshima-fu, the ingredient remain layered (like a Shepperd pie) and include noodles. Personally I much prefer the Osaka-fu but if you are traveling through Japan make sure you try both version.

I will also mention a close cousin to the Okonomiyaki from the Kanto region (Tokyo). Monjayaki, closely ressemble okonomiyaki. The main difference is the fact that it is a lot more watery. I only eat monja when I meet up with my Japanese friends since I find it a bit challenging to cook myself. 

The Okonomiyaki I will be making today will be Osaka-fu. I will modify the recipe a little since I do not have access to taro roots at this time. I will use:

  • 1/2 cup  flour
  • 2 cups cabbage
  • 3 tbsp tenkasu (tempura bits) Don't worry if you don't have any
  • 1 tbsp dashi stock in 4 tbsp of water Don't worry if you don't have any
  • 1tbsp of corn starch
  • 3 eggs
  • shrimps or Canadian bacon
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 tsp. chopped red marinated ginger 
  • oil

Chop cabbage, ginger and green onion. Mix together. In a separate bowl, mix dashi, water, corn starch and eggs. Add to the flour. Mix until smooth. Mix the batter with the cabbage. Add the tenkasu.

In a greased pan, cook bacon or shrimp. When golden, pour the batter on top of it. Press it down into a nice round shape. Cover and cook at low heat. Flip over once. It should cook about 10 minutes, or until both side are golden. (You can make 2 small okonomiyaki or 1 large okonomiyaki.)

For the topping, I use tonkatsu sauce, shredded nori, bonito flakes and japanese mayo.

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