Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nagasaki Cowboy Okonomiyaki

Just when you thought that I’d given up cooking for good & taken up a career in laundering socks & underwear, I have decided that dinner shall remain a staple in our daily diets. Truth be told, I’ve got plenty of pictures of food but not quite enough time to turn them into a simple blog bit. For example, I could take these here pictures & say, “ Okonomiyaki is a cabbage pancake that I'm crazy about, try it, you’ll like it!” But…..Oh, no, I’ve got to go & turn it complicated by adding 25 different toppings & turning it into some gourmet-dinner-of-science. I feel very neutral about this dish. Personally, it’s a favorite but I’ve had to deal with so many strong opinions on the matter that I’ve opted to make it very rarely if ever. And to make matters worse ever since my mom introduced me to “Nagasaki style” I just can’t make it right unless I’ve got the whole kit & caboodle. So join me now & let us make ourselves some Okonomiyaki.

Let’s just be honest here & say that when it comes down to it, Okonomiyaki IS indeed a cabbage pancake. If you want to get terribly crude about it, you could just make a generic pancake batter & throw some cabbage in there & that would be it. But thank God we've progressed since Combo cooking & now know that you can even add a carrot to the batter & it will taste a world better.

And if you are a gaijin who is put off by that then just stop reading here because I won’t subject myself to paragraphs of defense against this great Japanese dish. Nuff Said! And even if you are of the understanding nature depending on where you are from or your heritage you may have a totally different idea of what a good okonomiyaki consists of. There are so many different types but this is the type that I made for dinner. And if you’re wondering where the cowboy part comes in; I used bacon slices instead of beef or pork strips, Okey-dokey? So…..on we go. MY list of ingredients is as follows:

For the batter:
Suiton Flour (conveniently donated for suiton dumplings & wonderful for our okonomiyaki pleasure)
¾’s Cabbage
2 carrots

250g. bacon, sliced & pre-cooked (we got several bagfuls donated, this has made for some Veeerrrry pleasant pasta experiences going on recently!)
5 packs of yakisoba (fried up & kept warm)
a pack of eggs (10-12)

Now for the fun! The batter was made with about 1 c flour & ½ c water ratio. I used about 6 cups of flour. Shred & dice cabbage & carrots (I personally like the cabbage very FINE, to avoid big hard uncooked chunks)
So mix that up & try not to think of the work “pancake” while doing so.

Next is assembly time. Turn the heat on low on an oiled frying pan (or better yet a yakiniku hot plate) spread a ladleful of batter out & flatten it out. Be careful if it’s too thick it will be raw & gummy inside before you’re done & that is a NO-NO!!
Now put some yakisoba on top of the batter & a few slices of bacon.

Here comes the fun part, if you don’t like timing your cooking perfectly, then this is going to be BIG FUN for you. Hee hee!! Crack an egg next to the okonomiyaki and poke the yoke. Check out mine, all it’s missing is an eyeball & it looks like a regular embryo. Let the egg cook for long enough so that it’s not yet, like a really wet sunny side up egg with the yoke broken. (NOT how I like my eggs)
Ready for the fun part? Put your spatula under the okonomiyaki & flip it (yakisoba/bacon & all) on top of the egg. It may take some practice to get it right, but it should hold together pretty well, with only a stray bacon bit here or there. Let it cook a minute or two longer & then flip it over again (back to the “batter-side down” position) to let the batter cook a bit longer.
Caution: don’t let the flame be too high or you’ll end up with a raw inside & believe me, (as I’ve already said) that’s not the way we like it in Japan.

This is the end result. Ain’t that purrrty?And, here’s the fun bit….TOPPINGS. Here are the traditional toppings you can choose from generally the sauce & mayo go first & the rest follow in whatever order you like:

- Mayo
- Bulldog sauce (Okonomiyaki sauce, for that matter, yakisoba sauce & tonkastu sauce will work fine too, they’re nearly all the same thing, anyway)
- Fish flakes
- Ao nori
- Normal nori (cut into tiny strips)
- Tempura bits
- Negi, diced
- Beni-shoga

And that’s the end of the story folks. Pull up a chair, turn on your Masturi music & be sure to wash it down with a glass or two of Nama-beru!! Enjoy your Okonomiyaki.


Cherish said...

too cool, AL! okonomiyaki made gourmet! (or maybe it always was and i just didn't realise it)
And I love how you put "here's the fun part" so many times - it almost makes me want to try this recipe out on my rest night instead of watching a movie!! (tonight) lol ... almost!

Cherish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nina said...

Nama bi-ru janaindesuka? Heheh.

I miss that kind of okonomiyaki; it is rather gourmet. Nice to know Cherish is thinking about trying it out! ;)

babylove said...

har har, yea Nina it is biru isn't it. I guess I was in a hurry.

Yeah, mom taught us a good thing. I almost wish I could look at that okonomiyaki book you guys have again. It was soooo weird.

Florence said...

I HATE THOSE CHUNKS OF CABBAGE! Little okonomiyaki usurpers. I like how you show them no mercy.

象さん said...

Hey youve got an okonomiyaki recipe here! I was just over looking for something using hakusai.....I have so many vegies at the moment, wish I could blink some to you!

Amy said...

Me and mom are looking at this okonomiyaki, and she was just telling me about this hiroshima style okonomiyaki with the noodles inside. Amazing!