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!

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).


  • 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. 🙂

Souvenir from Japan

Posted January 6th, 2009 in Japan | 6 Comments »

These are souvenir we got from Japan.  Because it was around New Year, there’re so many New Year products in the shops.  The top right things are like Christmas wreath (called shimenawa): a decoration for Japanese New Year’s Day.  (We got them from Seria 100 yen shop)  At the centre there are few round-red ornaments; they are called daruma.  Daruma are round Japanese wish dolls with mustache and beard, but no arms or legs.  The eyes only contain the color white. Using black ink, one fills in a single circular eye while thinking of a wish. Should the wish later come true, the second eye is filled in.  On the photos there are few daruma with 2 eyes already; they are just daruma-looking toys.  The real daruma is the one with no black eye balls.

We also got some Japanese thong sandals, kokeshi (Japanese wooden doll), doraemon backpack, hachiemon (a character of Kansai Telecasting Corporation) cup, etc…

For my office, I bought this Osaka flavor cracker. (because everyone in the office is from Tokyo side)  These crackers are supposed to taste like okonomiyaki, a typical Osaka food, and they come with mayonnaise and special Okonomiyaki sauce in the box!  You can let your friends enjoy Osaka food without taking them to Osaka …  funny stuff 🙂

At the airport

Posted January 4th, 2009 in Japan | 6 Comments »

On my last day in Japan, we left home early morning and headed to Osaka Kansai airport.  We took a break at a rest stop by the freeway and arrived at the airport on time.  When I was at the check-in counter I was told that the flight has been delayed from 11:00 to 18:30!!  OMG…

The airport staffs were very nice though, they gave us a 2000 yen worth meal coupon and 5000yen cash each.  It’s like almost A$200.00!!  Sugoi…  :p

My family, fiancee and I went to have lunch at one of the restaurants at the airport and stayed there for about an hour.  After we said good-bye to my family, we started exploring Kansai airport.  There are so many restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, etc inside, so we didn’t get bored at all 🙂  We bought so many things there…  2 extra big shopping bags! :p  Killing 7 and half hours there wasn’t difficult 🙂

But a tough night started after we proceeded to the boarding gate!!  (>0<)  The flight was again delayed from 18:00 to 19:15.  Because we had to transit the plane at Bali airport, we started to worry… do we still have time to transit??  

Once the plane landed at Bali airport we ran to the transit gate.  Then we noticed that the place was delayed as well!  First, they said 2:00 am, then 3:40, 4:15 and finally 5:00am…  We had nothing to do at the Bali airport;  it was very early morning so no shop was opened.  No air-conditioner either :p  We waited and waited for about 3 hours, sitting down on the chairs.  

We got back home in Perth at 10:30 am.  It’s been 24 hours since I saw my family off at the airport.  Already miss them… 🙁

Anyway, this 18 days-holiday in Japan was wonderful!  Good to be with family 🙂  The food is nice, been with family is nice, tv shows are nice…  The time passed really quickly.  I hope I can spend the next New Year’s Eve in Japan too!

Osaka Food

Posted December 29th, 2008 in Eat out in Japan | 6 Comments »

In Japan every area has its speciality food, but I believe that Osaka food is very unique.  The famous ones are Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki.  In Osaka you can find takoyaki / okonomiyaki shop everywhere!

They use this special grill plate for takoyaki; pour mixture into the grill, and make them into ball shape.  You will need a skill to do it!  In Perth you can only get deep-fried takoyaki from Japanese restaurants (they just deep-fry frozen pre-made takoyaki) but originally takoyaki is supposed to be “grilled”.

Takoyaki means octopus balls, but nowadays you can get many flavors (not just octopus); cheese, mochi (rice cake), corn, meat, fish etc…  So fun! 🙂

If you go to okonomiyaki restaurants you will grill okonomiyaki by yourself.  Waitress brings the mixture to your table, and you grill the mixture on the grill plate (which is attached on your table).  All the condiments (sauces, bonito flakes, nori powder, beni shoga, mayonnaise etc) are prepared at each table, and once okonomiyaki is cooked you eat them straight from the grill plate.  Yes it’s hot, but very nice (>v<)!

It’s snowing!

Posted December 26th, 2008 in Japan | 4 Comments »

It’s been 10 days since my partner and I arrived at Osaka Kansai airport.  Everything is great here, some of the things are changed and some are not.

Food is amazing, I keep eating a lot everyday… but I can’t help it!  (>0<)  I don’t care if I put on weight… :p

Today it was snowing.  That was the first time to see snow since we got here.  No wonder it was so cold last night 🙂

I’m not a good driver in snow, but I did try driving this Kei- Truck car (used for our rice fields) to shopping mall.

I’ve been shopping a lot!  Hope I can bring all the stuff I bought here back to Perth…  or maybe I have to send some of them by mail :p