Okonomi-yaki

Posted February 4th, 2009 in Food | 10 Comments »

Here is another Osaka food recipe.  After posting about Takoyaki , many people actually asked me “we don’t have a Takoyaki grill plate, but really want to try making them!”.  Indeed.  People shouldn’t have this special grilling plate at home.  As I said earlier, it’s pretty difficult to find one of those in Perth or elsewhere outside Japan.  Then, I thought I should post a recipe of Okonomi-yaki.  Okonomi-yaki uses almost same ingredients as Takoyaki, and you don’t need any special equipments to cook.  Here is the recipe.

<Okonomi-yaki> makes 4 x 15cm φ

  • 1/4 small cabbage
  • 2~3 tbs red ginger (40g)
  • 60g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 20g dried shrimps
  • 2tbs chopped spring onions
<Sauce> (same as Takoyaki)
  • 3 tbs Worcester sauce
  • 3 tbs tomato ketchup (tomato sauce)
  • 3 tsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tsp honey
<To Decorate>
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • ao-nori (green laver)
  • bonito flakes
  1. Chop up cabbage and dried shrimps.
  2. Place flour and water in a mixing bowl, and whisk.  Add cabbage, shrimps, red ginger, spring onions and eggs to the bowl, and mix together.   Add your favorite meat or seafood if you like.
  3. Grease a frying pan and heat up over medium heat.  Pour 1/4 of the mixture (about 1 ladle) into the pan, and cook until the bottom sets.  Once the bottom is set and golden, flip it over using 2 spatulas.  The trick to flip is the timing and the speed.  Make sure that the bottom is completely cooked, or it will break apart while flipping.
  4. Cook another side over low heat until cooked.  You can place a lid to make sure it’s cooked through – or flip around few times to cook both sides until it’s cooked.
  5. Mix the “sauce” ingredients.
  6. Move to a serving plate, and decorate with the sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes and ano-nori.  Repeat with the remaining.
I made 3 kinds of Okonomi-yaki:  with thinly sliced pork belly, with nori sheets, and with seafoods.

If you have an electric hot plate, I recommend to use it to make okonomi-yaki.  You can make okonomi-yaki while watching tv, and eat fresh made one straight from the hot plate.  You won’t even need to use a serving plate – simply spread the sauce over while sizzling and decorate with the toppings.  That’s how we eat okonomi-yaki in Japan anyway!


Spicy Seafood Japanese Curry

Posted February 2nd, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

It was another hot day…  Onece I stepped outside, I could feel that my body was getting cooked in this heat.  Japanese people tand to eat hot/spicy food in summer to overcome the heat, and today was the day for me.  I cooked spicy Japanese curry with seafood.  I chose Udon noodle to accompany the curry instead of steamed rice as I wasn’t in a mood for rice.  I prefer noodle to rice in such hot days.

It’s always easy to cook Japanese curry: you just need to buy Japanese curry roux which is available from Asian grocery shops or some supermarkets.  Then you can arrange any flavor: pork, beef, chicken, veggies and seafood.

The key for tasty curry is the cooking time.  Longer you simmer, deeper the taste develops.  I used Japanese curry mix “Hot” and added extra chili to make it really spicy!

<Spicy Seafood Curry> for 3~4 ppl

  • 1/2 Japanese curry sauce mix “hot” (about 110g)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 onion
  • squid, prawn about 250g
  1. Slice onion and squid.  Heat a sauce pan and saute onion.
  2. Add squid and prawn into the pan.  Saute until lightly browned.
  3. Add water and bring to boil.  Turn down the heat and add curry sauce mix.  Simmer over low heat for about 20~30 minutes.  Add chili (or chili powder) if you like.
  4. Enjoy with steamed rice, noodle, whatever you like.

The standard Japanese curry uses sliced meat (pork, usually), potatoes, onions and carrots.  They are the ingredients that you can see at the back of the Japanese curry mix package “how to cook Japanese curry”.  The standard curry tastes great, but why not try more varieties??  You can add any vegetables like cabbage, eggplant, capsicums, corn, and broccoli.  Or, add boiled eggs (shells off) into curry and simmer.  The egg absorbs the flavor of curry, and you can enjoy the different texture.

By the way, I also like eating pieces of bread dipped in Japanese curry too.


Grilled Octopus Balls (Takoyaki)

Posted February 1st, 2009 in Food | 6 Comments »

Since we got back from Japan my fiance and I have been craving for Takoyaki: octopus balls originating from Osaka Japan.  We saw Takoyaki grill plate at electric shops in Japan, but after a while of discussion we decided to not buy.  Now, however, we really think that we should have bought it!

It’s really difficult to find one of those in Perth.  Some Asian shops sell Takoyaki plates for stove top, but I’m after electric one.  Electric one cooks Takoyaki evenly and it’s more fun: you can just cook them before you, while watching tv.  eBay and other online shops sell Takyaki plates/machines, I know, but they are quite expencive.  It just costs 2000yen in Japan.  Obviously I needed to get transformer for voltage though if I bought it in Japan.  (Japan 100V, Australia 220~240V)

Luckly one of my friends here actually got an electric Takoyaki plate! 🙂  so I asked her to lend me.

It’s the second time for me to actually make takoyaki myself.  Besides, I don’t have packaged Takoyaki mix or Takoyaki sauce here!  I could go to Asian shop and look for them, but I knew it would be expensive.  so, I decided to make them from scratch.

I don’t think many people have chance to make Takoyaki at home, but I will show the recipe here anyway…

What I used: plain flour, 1 egg, Dashi powder, cabbage, red ginger, spring onion, octopus

  1. Crack one egg in a bowl, and add plain flour (about 2~4 table spoons).  Add water (about 3~5 cups) to create really runny mixture.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of Dashi powder (if you have).
  2. Chop up cabbage, red ginger and spring onion.  You won’t need them much, as Takoyaki is pretty small food and you can’t  make perfectly round Takoyaki if there are too many ingredients.  For 18 Takoyaki, you will probably need 1 leaf of lettuce, 1 tbs of red ginger and 1 spring onion.
  3. Cut octopus into pieces (small enough to be put in the Takoyaki grill holes).

<Sauce>

  • 1 tbs Worcester sauce
  • 1 tbs tomato ketchup (tomato sauce)
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp honey

Just mix them up, and done!  Set aside.

<How to make>

You will have to heat up the grill plate really well.  Once the grill plate is hot, pour the mixture into the holes (fill about 1/3 full)  Sprinkle the chopped cabbage, red ginger, spring onion and octopus into the holes.  Pour the rest of the mixture over.

Cook for few minutes.  Once the mixture starts to set, try to push the mixture into holes.  You can slowly try to turn them around and make them shape like balls.

Cook 360 degrees.  Once cooked, transfer to a serving plate and brush the sauce over.  Sprinkle Bonito flakes, Ao-nori and drizzle Japanese mayonnaise.  Enjoy!

p.s…  I found a Takoyaki grill plate on eBay and bought it straight away.  Now, we are enjoying making them at home anytime we want. 🙂