August 24, 2016
WHOA! How excited am I!!! SO EXCITED!!! When I was living in Korea, I was able to learn many Korean recipes from hanging out with my friend Seokbok. Later on as I was able to read Korean, I was able to browse Korean recipes and blogposts and learn new things. Now that I’m in Japan my Japanese isn’t good enough to read Japanese blogposts or recipe sites. Now I know some of you might say, “Martina, why not just read them on English sites?” but I have to say, I noticed a big difference in Korean recipes written in English vs the actual Korean ones from people living in Korea.
So when it came to Martina’s Midnight Munchies I really wanted to share some authentic Japanese recipes with you, and although I’ve been playing around on my own, I really wanted a lesson from someone who could cook in Japan. That’s why I was so excited about meeting Togashi! He is a legit amazing chef in Japan who has cooked for many famous celebrities. While he can do super mega fancy food, we met him at our friend’s house where he was cooking up Japanese comfort food. He made us six or seven delicious dishes while we all chatted and drank together. I spent a lot of time hanging out in the kitchen with him watching him cook and asking him questions. Eventually he said he’d love to come over to our house and show me some basics. I was thrilled! So we filmed a couple dishes with him and I feel comfortable now to share some more Japanese recipes with you on Martina’s Midnight Munchies very soon!
But for now, I though it would be cool to show you what I learned from Togashi. He wants to share and spread Japanese food with the world and so he also has his recipes up on Tokyo Bytes along with some mini-instructional videos. He told me he is still working on filming more stuff!
ONTO THE RECIPE!
So here is today’s simple recipe. Togashi’s recipe is the levelled up version, and you can click on the link here! I’ll be sharing the recipe of what we made in this video together.
So first lets talk about the Okonomiyaki flour mix that I’m using. If you don’t have it, you can use just plain flour and it will be fine. You can also add some yam starch/potato starch/rice flour to add that extra bounce. I’m sure you’re also curious what is inside the flour mix to make it so special…if you actually don’t care (HA) skip down to the recipe!
The Magic of Yam: TORORO とろろ
The mix is just plain old wheat flour but it also has dried ground yamaimo powder in it which is a starchy root vegetable and a type of Japanese yam. There are many names for it: taro root, nanaimo, yamaimo, and tororo. The vegetable itself looks like a big tree branch meets a potato. When you grate it, it is called “tororo” とろろ and ends up looking really slimy and it is super duper sticky. Honesty, it looks totally disgusting like a bowl of white snot but it adds a bounce to the okonomiyaki. If you follow us on twitter you might remember I mentioned making okonomiyaki with just tororo! OH! Also one of our first EYS episodes Simon talked about eating a slimy bowl of something for breakfast! Turns out that was とろろ.
Bonito Flakes: Katsuobushi
For some reason, whenever I say “oh these are bonito flakes” most Japanese people don’t know what I’m talking about. I think this might be an English word…haha! What Togashi called it was “katsubushi” and it is a type of dried tuna that has been shaved very thinly. You saw at the end of the video we sprinkled it with those pink/brownish flakes that look like they are moving due to the heat? Well that’s bonito flakes! Inside of okonomiyaki mix there is dried and powdered bonito which is why not all okonomiyaki mixes are suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
Bacon Okonomiyaki Recipe
-7 heaping tbsp Okonomiyaki flour mix
-1/2 head of green cabbage
-4-6 stalks of green onion
-3/4 cup of cold water
-5-6 thinly sliced bacon strips
-real mayonnaise (made with egg not olive oil)
-okonomiyaki/tonkatsu sauce or BBQ sauce that isn’t smokey (optional substitution: 3 tbs of ketchup + 1 tbs worcestershire sauce +1 tsp soy sauce)
-large mixing bowl
-flat frying pan + fitted lid
1. Finely chop the cabbage and green onions.
2. In a big mixing bowl, whisk one egg and the water.
3. Add the flour and whisk together until mixed. It should resemble pancake batter. Don’t keep whisking it until it is totally smooth or your pancake will be tough!
4. Dump in all the cabbage and green onions into the batter and mix up. It will look like there is not enough batter but the cabbage will give off water as it cooks!
5. Bacon time! Head to a large flat frying pan and cook the bacon for around 2-3 minutes on each side on medium-low heat. The bacon will keep cooking as you cook the pancake so you don’t want to fully cook it right now.
6. Drain the excess oil out of the pan before you add the batter so that the pancake isn’t super greasy. We didn’t show that in the video but it is an important step!!!
6. After you drained off the bacon grease, rearrange the bacon back into the pan and dump the batter onto the bacon. Spread the batter out evenly into a circle pattern over the bacon, pressing down so the bacon sticks to the batter. Cover the lid tightly, set it to medium heat, and set the timer to 4 minutes.
7. After 4 minutes, using the flipper, check under the pancake to make sure your bacon isn’t burning. If it looks nicely browned, flip your pancake over. Use all the skills Togashi. DO IT. FLIP IT! I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!
8. After you destroyed your pancake trying to flip it, smooth it back out into a circle (I mean…you totally did it!!! WOW!) and cook for another 3 minutes with the lid on.
9. BEEP! Time’s up! Check the centre of the pancake with a wooden chopstick or toothpick. If it comes back dry, it’s ready! If it is gooey, keep cooking with the lid on for another 2 minutes, periodically checking so you don’t over cook it.
10. Dump it onto a cutting board. Cut it up into pieces and place it on a plate. Coat it in the sauce, mayonnaise, and sprinkle on bonito flakes. This part is really up to your taste, but Japan really does love mayo. The mayo in Japan is actually really amazing and tastes different than North American mayo!
That’s it!! Once you make it once, it is so easy to make. You can substitute SO MUCH! For example, you can chop the bacon into thin slices and cook it that way. You can add shrimp. Scallops. Cheese. The world is yours to discover! Or you can re-watch our Okonomikayi video we filmed in Tokyo and be inspired from that video.
In order to try to do something for all our vegans viewers (we didn’t forget you!) we also had Togashi teach us a super simple vegan version of okonomiyaki with just green onions. Add more veggies and seasoning if you like! Is there vegan BBQ sauce and mayo…there is right? I must know!
Enjoy the videos and let me know if you make it and how it turns out!