Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Serious Eats Weekend Cook and Tell project this week is pancakes.

The first thing that popped into my mind was okonomiyaki (お好み焼き). The literal meaning of the two kanji are "like" and "cook."

SE Another Okonomiyaki

When my mother was busy during the weekends, she would occasionally cook a quick and easy version of okonomiyaki for lunch. It wasn't as thick or dressed up with stacks of toppings as the Hiroshima variety. She also wasn't from Hiroshima...

I never got her recipe, but I recall that it was basic: flour, water, eggs, cabbage. My job as her assistant was to make the sauce, which was merely Best Foods mayonnaise whipped with shoyu, to taste.

Basic ingredients:
2 c flour
3/4 c water or dashi
2 c cabbage, shredded
3 eggs
neutral oil

Kewpie mayonnaise
okonomiyaki sauce

Makes 2 servings, 2 pancakes per person

1. Mix the flour and water (or dashi).
2. Add cabbage to batter and mix.
3. Add egg to cabbage and batter mixture.
2. In a heated, oiled pan, pour batter in a circle and cook to desired crispness.

SE Okonomiyaki0
Semi-naked lunch

For a Hiroshima flair, I added a yakisoba layer. Sapporo Ichiban yakisoba (chow mein) is my preferred variety, since the noodles are a desirable texture. For my concoction, I added sliced bamboo shoots and mushrooms to the yakisoba and took the liberty of sprinkling the laver that came with the yakisoba package, as well as shichimi togarashi for a little zip.

I would have used shrimp, cut up in smaller pieces, but the bag in the freezer we thought was shrimp was, instead, a bag of dumplings. Boo.

My mother would have served just the two pancakes for lunch with a mayonnaise-shoyu sauce.

SE Okonomiyaki
Dressed pancake

A typical okonomiyaki will have katsuobushi shavings layered on top. The shavings are made of preserved tuna and look like wood curls.

This is no where near what I have had in Hiroshima at an okonomiyaki restaurant our relatives took my father and I. It was piled at least 4" high. I'm rubbing my belly just thinking about it!

I have yet to make okonomiyaki like my mother's, but through trial and error, I hope to obtain that texture and flavor one day.

- Cassaendra

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