Now we are out of lockdown, it will be nice having friends round for dinner. Especially if we can get them to do the cooking.
Okonomiyaki is a delicious Japanese pancake, somewhere between a savoury pancake and a pizza. The word translates to ‘as you like it’.
The daughter is the okonomiyaki expert, she fell in love with this dish years ago when she first visited Japan.
The first time we offered it to friends, they bounded through the front door and asked what were we having for dinner.
“Okonomiyaki,” we replied. “And you’re doing it!”
A batter is whipped up using egg, flour and dashi, a Japanese stock. Finely chopped cabbage is added, then you slice and dice your favourite things – we used shrimps, bacon, mushrooms, red capsicum, onion and long slithers of rump steak.
A hot plate is oiled and heated, and the ingredients sizzled and fried.
Sometimes when it comes to flipping the pancake it doesn’t as much flip as flop, but this doesn’t matter, because you can just rearrange it on the plate afterwards. It gets smothered in okonomi sauce and Japanese mayonnaise anyway.
Okonomi sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and any other special ingredients, can be found at Asian food stores and most supermarkets.
And it is delicious. It is utterly addictive and we’ve taken to calling it oko-NOM-iyaki.
Our friends loved it, and were quick to grab the fish slice to flip their own creation. Since then we’ve sprung it on others as well – it always goes down a treat. Such a lovely thing to do.
Here’s to sharing food with good friends once more.
Prawns or shrimps
1 tsp dashi powder
Three cups cold water
3/4 cup dashi
1 cup flour
1/8 – ¼ cabbage
- With a large knife, finely slice cabbage, discarding the white core.
- Mix together the dashi – add a little of the water to a jug and stir in the powder. When it is all combined, add remaining water.
- Mix together the flour, egg and dashi to a smooth paste, then stir in cabbage. The cabbage should be well coated with the batter, but not awash in it – some fine adjustment might be necessary.
- Prepare toppings – remove fat from steak and chop into thin strips. Chop bacon into chunks, clean and roughly dice mushrooms, peppers etc., chop onion finely.
- Warm up a hot plate, with a little oil. When hot, fry whatever toppings you want. I leave steak until the dish is almost cooked, as I like it rare.
- Arrange toppings into a circle, and layer the batter on top of this, smoothing it down and patting into a circle shape. Not too big, about the size of a sandwich plate is good.
- Cook about three more minutes, then carefully flip with a slice. If the circle is too big, it can be sliced in half. It still looks great. Again, pat into a tidy circle.
- Continue cooking for five or six minutes, watching the heat. A fried egg can be added on top at this stage, or the steak.
- Place on to a plate, and drizzle okonomi sauce on top. Then pour on the mayonnaise, in straight crisscross lines. Lastly add parsley and bonito flakes.