Okonomiyaki, as You Like It

Recently, Epicurious came to my kitchen to make this video about okonomiyaki. 

If you want to have your own okonomikayi party, here's my recipe. It's a very loose recipe, and I encourage you to improvise and make it your own.

Recipe: okonomiyaki

yields 4 8-inch pancakes

for the pancake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup dashi (homemade or instant)
  • 1/4 cup grated mountain potato (optional)*
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced negi or scallion
  • cooking oil and/or sesame oil for frying

optional add-ins

  • yakisoba
  • kimchee
  • thinly sliced or diced pork belly
  • shrimp
  • diced mochi
  • tenkasu (tempura bits)
  • whatever you like!

for topping

  • okonomi sauce or Japanese Worcestershire
  • Japanese mayo
  • bonito flakes
  • ao nori (nori flakes)
  • beni shoga (shredded pickled ginger)

 

To make the batter: Mix the flour, mountain potato and dashi to a syrupy, crepe-like consistency (slightly thicker than heavy cream, adding a little more flour or dashi as necessary. Like pancakes, avoid overmixing.

Heat a griddle or a skillet over medium-high heat. Grease liberally with cooking and/or sesame oil.

To prepare in the Kansai style: For each pancake, put a handful (about 1 1/2 cups) of cabbage, about 2 tablespoons sliced negi/scallion, and about 1/2 cup batter in a small bowl. Add whatever else you like, such as tenkasu and kimchee. Crack in an egg, and mix just so the batter coats the cabbage, but the egg still has distinct bits of white and yolk.

Dump this mixture onto the griddle/pan, and press into a pancake about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes each side, and the cabbage is tender. Dress with toppings and share.


To prepare in the Hiroshima style: Layer the ingredients instead of mixing (use two skillets if you don't have a griddle). Put about 1/3 cup of batter on the greased griddle/pan, and mound cabbage and negi on top. drizzle 2 tablespoons batter on top. (Typically you'd then put strips of pork belly and eventually flip it to crsip them, but I make it vegetarian as follows). Meanwhile, rinse a pack of yakisoba, put down some sesame oil, then the noodles and a splash of water. Fry the noodles and season with the seasoning packet that comes with them, or some yakisoba sauce.

When the bottom of the pancake has browned, push the noodles into the same diameter circle. Flip the pancake onto the noodles (so the cabbage side lands on the noodles). In another spot on the griddle (or the other pan), crack an egg or two and break the yolks. Lift the pancake onto the egg. When the egg is cooked, flip the okonomiyaki egg-side up. Dress and serve.

Share and repeat!

 

* The tuber I used in the video was not mountain potato, whoops!!! Yama-imo (mountain potato) is usually sold in chunks since the whole vegetable is very long. It's cylindrical with white flesh and papery grey-brown skin.

Hand Roll Sushi with Brooklyn Slate

This post originally appeared at brooklynslate.com.

Who doesn't love a make-your-own party whether for pizza or ice cream sundae's—or even sushi?! To serve hand-roll sushi, temaki, put out a platter of cut fish and vegetables, a bowl of rice, and a stack of seaweed, and let guests assemble their own rolls like they would a taco. To form temaki you just hold a square of nori in one hand, fill it with it with rice and whatever fillings you like, and loosely fold or roll it to eat.

When Americans think of Japanese food, we often think first of sushi. The truth is, sushi chefs spend a lifetime perfecting the craft of forming rolls and nigiri, seasoning and slicing the ingredients, cooking the rice just so, and even serving everything at the ideal temperature. That's not home cooking! When people in Japan do make sushi at home, it's more rustic. Temaki is perhaps the most casual presentation––and you can have fun making hand-rolls with your friends instead of struggling to impress them by constructing neat maki. 

Throwing a sushi party requires more shopping than cooking. You'll be in the kitchen only as long as it takes to cook a pot of rice, slice some vegetables, and snip standard-size sheets of toasted nori into quarters. Though a Japanese market will offer more variety of authentic ingredients, you can probably find everything you need in any large grocery store these days. Don't be afraid to experiment with some unconventional fillings (in Japan you'll even find things like creamed corn and tuna salad on sushi). A more traditional assortment includes sashimi, roe, sprouts or microgreens, julienned carrot and daikon, cucumber matchsticks, umeboshi (pickled plums), and shiso leaf.

You can get sashimi grade fish from a good fishmonger or a high-end grocery store and cut it up yourself, but you will need a very sharp knife and a little skill. The easier route is to buy pre-cut sashimi. If your fishmonger or grocery doesn't have it, get an assortment of sashimi from a Japanese market or even as takeout from a sushi restaurant. Perhaps it goes without saying that you'll want to serve soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger alongside the sushi — if you buy pre-cut sashimi, they'll come with it.

Take care with the rice, and you won't be disappointed. Cook it precisely and flavor it gently. Sushi rice isn't really sushi rice without seasoning; making your own seasoned vinegar is easy, and you can adjust it to your taste (but if you can only find seasoned vinegar to buy, just omit the sugar and salt in the recipe). You won't become a sushi chef overnight, but you can make something really tasty and fun. Here's the only recipe you'll need to throw a great sushi party!

View more photos on Brooklyn Slate's website.

 

Recipe: Seasoned Sushi Rice

serves 6

  • 3 cups sushi rice
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1  4–inch square piece konbu (optional)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

In a heavy bottomed pot, rinse the rice in several changes of cool water, until the water runs clear. Pour off all the rinse water. Add the filtered water and the (optional) konbu.

Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Do not remove this lid until the rice is finished, listen to the pot to know what is happening inside.

Bring the pot to a full boil. You will hear it rumble, and steam will push its way out at the edges of the lid, and the water may even boil over a little.

Turn the burner down to the lowest possible setting, and set a timer for 18 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, make the seasoned vinegar. Combine the sugar and salt with the vinegar in a jar, and shake until they dissolve; set aside.

When the timer goes off, return the heat to high for one minute, or until you hear the rice crackle. Turn off the heat, and leave the lid on for five more minutes (if your stove is electric, remove the pot from the burner).

Lift the lid and gently fluff the rice using chopsticks; discard the konbu if using. Transfer the rice to the largest bowl you have, or better yet to a large cutting board. Enlist an assistant if you can: you need to sprinkle the seasoned vinegar onto the rice and toss the rice to coat it evenly, at the same time as you fan the rice to cool it (a small rectangle of cardboard makes an effective fan). When the rice is evenly seasoned, shiny, and dry, it's ready. Serve right away or within a few hours.

In cool weather, leftover rice can be stored at room temperature overnight. Refrigeration will make the rice hard, but then it's perfect for making fried rice the next day.