Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More adventures in the kitchen

Okonomiyaki, for the uninitiated, is a big fried vegetable pancake with various ingredients and toppings, most popular in the Kansai region of Japan (particularly Osaka) and in Hiroshima. Okonomiyaki restaurants are frequently equipped with hot plates directly in front of the customers so you can assemble your own ingredients and fry it however you like.

Given that okonomiyaki batter typically includes egg (and possibly some type of dashi, a broth that more often than not contains fish), I'm not likely to experience the joy of restaurant okonomiyaki any time soon. But why should that stop me? Thanks to my trusty cookbook, I can prepare some of my own.

Here's the result:

This the second time I've made okonomiyaki. This time, I included sweet corn kernels, fresh shiitake mushrooms, green onions, and cabbage. Slathered on top are a store-bought tonkatsu sauce, which is kind of like a mild barbecue sauce, and a home-made tangy mayonnaise that uses silken tofu as a base, also taken from this book.

I was surprised how much easier it seemed the second time. I'd removed a step by using store-bought sauce instead of making my own, but the first effort left the kitchen counter covered in flour and cabbage bits. This time, things were a lot more orderly, which my OCD-addled brain is much happier about. The other thing was that the mushrooms came out really juicy and tender, which was nice. The overall quality of various mushroom types here seems to be much better (albeit based on my limited experience with them so far!). Maybe they just match my cooking style more. Who knows?

As you can see in this Wikipedia article, there are all sorts of regional variants that involve different types of toppings (noodles, etc.) and different methods of preparation. I think I have my work cut out for me in the coming months!


  1. Greg, you're making me anxious to return to my kitchen and cook Asian. We found a very nice shop here in Firenze that serves vegan sandwiches and desserts - along with the traditional fare. ...LaValle

  2. Greg, I think you have found your calling! Who knew? Love Mom