With the arrival of spring, the parks and the areas around the temples become the focal points of the city. Outdoor picnic, music, shows and above all, lots of food.
Not only Obento prepared at home by mothers or sweethearts in love, but also that delicious street food that can be found in the stalls around the temples. After greeting the winter, it feels like the season of the Matsuri (Japanese Festivals) finally began.
Huge lollipops made of sugar and fruit, bananas dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with colored candy, yakisoba sautéed in front of your eyes, chicken and fish skewers roasted to the right point and … the list is really long.
But there is one street food in particular that can never be missing (and around which the crowd of people, seeing him prepare, always comes out with a resounding “woow”). I’m talking about Okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki: a pleasure for the eyes and the palate
For the ones who don’t know, the Okonomiyaki is a kind of savory pancake with a base of flour, water, and chopped cabbage. The term “Okonomi” literally means “as you like” and indicates the possibility of flavoring as much as we like and according to our tastes.
Place of origin: the city of street food, Osaka!
You can find Okonomiyaki with seafood, covered with fried bacon, eggs, soba … even here, use your taste and imagination! Common element of all its variants: the Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise! Without a doubt, the final taste of the okonomiyaki, the one that pushes us to eat immediately another bite, lies in this sweet and sour sauce combined with mayonnaise. Clearly, the okonomiyaki is not a meal for people on a diet, but a gluttony that is hard to say no!
Preparing it at home is really simple, but some ingredients require some research, in particular for the preparation of the base. In fact, the recipe needs Nagaimo and Dashi Broth (difficult to find and I’m not 100% sure everyone like the taste). So, for these two ingredients, here what they are and some tips:
- Nagaimo 長 芋: is a tuber also called Chinese potato. Once grated and added to the dough, it will make your Okonomiyaki soft and fluffy. Possible substitute: grated potato.
- Dashi: we have already talked a lot about what dashi is in different articles. This ingredient will allow your Okonomiyaki to have that extra Umami flavor so much appreciated by the Japanese. It can be replaced with vegetable broth or you can omit it.
(If you want to simplify everything, on Amazon you can directly buy the special flour for Okonomiyaki where you just need to add only water and cabbage)
That said, it’s time to cook! The version we have chosen to make include seafood, but you can easily replace them with the topping you prefer (bacon, chicken, eggs …).
- 100 gr cup of flour
- sugar and salt
- half grated medium sized potato
- 1/2 cup of Dashi (or vegetable stock)
- 1/2 head of cabbage
- 2 eggs
- Ginger Red (optional)
- Okonomiyaki Sauce
- Aonori (optional but recommended)
- 1 cup of seafood (or slice of bacon)
In a bowl, add flour, a pinch of salt + sugar and baking powder. Mix everything.
Cut the potato and grate it (make sure that no pieces remain). Add the grated potato to the flour, cover them with transparent paper and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
Meanwhile, cut your cabbage into small pieces.
Take out your dough from the fridge, add the egg, red ginger, seafood, and eggs. Add the cabbage and mix together. If it seems like there’s too much cabbage, you’re on the right track: the final result is not a liquid mixture since the % of cabbage must be greater than the % of flour + water
Oil a pan and add part of your dough (choose the size you prefer).
Cook about 5 minutes on one side. (If you have chosen bacon as a condiment, this is the time to add it to the side that is not yet cooked). Turn your Okonomiyaki and cook the remaining 5 minutes with the lid.
Once the time has passed, mash it slightly on the surface and on its sides so as to give it a more regular shape and cook it again for 2 minutes on the other side.
Season it with your sauces and voila, your Okonomiyaki is ready!
Something interesting to know:
- This street food is like a flag of the different areas of the country as it differs from north to south in the various prefectures. The most famous? Without a doubt, Hiroshimayaki where all the ingredients are not mixed together but cooked separately and then pressed one on top of the other to form a single pancake.
- It’s not just street food. There are restaurants where sitting around a hot plate, you can cook your own Okonomiyaki.
- The original recipe states that the Okonomiyaki is first sprinkled with its sauce, then with the Aonori seaweed and finally Katsuobushi.
- It is also a great idea as a tasty meal to take to work or a picnic!