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Okonomiyaki Party!

Okonomiyaki Party!

One of my many fond memories of living in Japan is the Okonomiyaki Party.  The host would supply the staples and the friends brought the beer, along with any special ingredients they wanted to include–because that’s the beauty of okonomiyaki, basically you can put whatever you want in it–and the party was on. I love communal cooking, because everyone has a slightly different take on what’s tasty. So people would create all of these interesting variations of okonomiyaki, some with meat, others without, some with kimchi, or seafood or yams or…whatever they want. The possibilities are endless! So start with the easy okonomiyaki recipe below and get creative.

For those who don’t know, okonomiyaki is like a vegetable fritter, a basic batter with a vegetable ingredient, usually cabbage, fried and topped with a sweet sauce. But that description does not do the okonomiyaki justice because it is way more complex and delicious than that.

The toppings in all their glory
The toppings in all their glory

This is a simple recipe designed for you to add whatever you want from there. The dried goods you will need are okonomiyaki flour, panko (to make the batter a little more fluffy) and katsuobushi, or dried Bonito flakes.

from left to right: Okonomiyaki flour, Katsuobushi, and Panko
From left to right: Okonomiyaki flour, Katsuobushi, and Panko

Cats love Katsuo by the way

photo bomb
photo bomb

Toppings are the other thing you might have to hunt around for. Any Asian market will have these though. For an authentic okonomiyaki experience you should use Kewpie Mayonnaise (the one in the creepy doll bottle) but I didn’t have any so the Wafu Mayo worked just fine.

Okonomi sauce and Wafu sesame Mayo for toppings
Okonomi sauce and Wafu sesame Mayo for toppings

From here on it’s super easy.  Mix your flour and water (measurements below) then add your wet ingredients:

The humble cabbage

Green onions, prawns and homemade pickled ginger
Green onions, prawns and homemade pickled ginger

And things will start looking like this:

Batter ready to go
Batter ready to go

Heat up your pan and add your batter and now it’ll look like this:

Carnivores can add bacon at this point, just sayin'
Carnivores can add bacon at this point (just sayin’)

Flip it and it will look like this:

yum
yum

And then once it’s cooked and topping have been added you will get something like this.

Presentation not perfect but It doesn't matter beause it tastes so good
Enjoy with beer

Good friends, good food, good fun–it’s the perfect combination. So get on your contacts list and gather your people for an Okonomiyaki Party. It’ll leave you with fond memories, I promise you.

Cheers!

(What’s your favourite okonomiyaki combo? Let us know in the comments section below.)

 

Easy Okonomiyaki Recipe

Ingredients (makes 2 large pancake/fritter thingies)

1 cup okonomiyaki flour
¾ cup water (or stock)
2 eggs
4 cups cabbage shredded
2 stalk of green onion sliced
¼ cup panko
½ cup raw shrimp cut into chunks
2 Tbs. pickled ginger (diced)

Toppings

Okonomi sauce
Kewpie mayonnaise
Katsuobushi (dried Bonito Flakes)

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together okonomiyaki flour and water until smooth
  2. Add eggs, cabbage, green onion, panko and ginger and mix
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat until pan is hot (200C / 400F)
  4. Spread half the batter in a circle on the pan. It should about 12″ (30cm) in diameter and about ¾” (1.5 cm) thick
  5. Sprinkle ½ of the shrimp onto the pancake (Carnivores can layer bacon over surface at this stage)
  6. Cook for 3 minutes then flip over (always an adventure!)
  7. Gently press the okonomiyaki to ensure the middle is getting cooked. Cook for another 4 minutes
  8. Flip one final time and cook for another 3 minutes or until pancake is cooked through
  9. Store finished okonomiyaki on a warm plate in the oven and repeat steps 4-8 with second pancake
  10. Drizzle with mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce and sprinkle katsuobushi over everything

 


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