Japanese FOOD!

I was recently invited by my friend Akira San to attend a Japanese dinner party. He had arranged it for his Girlfriend who had come from Japan to England to visit him. I was so excited as this would be my first time eating authentic home cooked Japanese food as opposed to ‘Conveyor-belt Sushi’.

 おいしですね!
おいしですね!

Why was I so excited about this invitation? After all it’s just another dinner party? WRONG! Japanese food is prepared with great artistry. As  well as the aesthetics aspect of Japanese food, it also focuses on highlighting the balance and harmony in nature. This will probably help explain why a lot of traditional dishes are eaten ‘raw’.

Nigiri-zushi is a type of sushi that has raw or cooked fish slices on rice
Nigiri-zushi is a type of sushi that has raw or cooked fish slices on rice

There are many different types of sushi. As well as sashimi, at the dinner party I also had norimaki, this has fish and vegetable pieces rolled with rice in dark green coloured nori (dried seaweed).

Nori is about one-third protein and one-third dietary fiber, and contains high proportions of iodine, vitamins A, B, and K, and iron.
Nori is about one-third protein and one-third dietary fiber, and contains high proportions of iodine, vitamins A, B, and K, and iron.

Okonomiyaki!! You what!!?? I first tried Okonomiyaki back in 2012 at the Hyper Japan festival in London. I instantly fell in love with its unique delicious taste. I helped prepare some Okonomiyaki for the dinner party. Japanese food never fails to impress me with its combination of simplicity and wholesomeness or should I say awesomeness! Another aspect that makes Japanese cusuine interesting is that each food has its own regional variations and Okonomiyaki is no different. there are many different ways to took this. below is a slight variation of the recipe extracted from www.okonomiyakiworld.com (Yes there’s a whole website dedicated to it!)

INGREDIENTS:

INGREDIENTS (To Make 2) Metric Imperial
Okonomiyaki Flour 100g 1 cup
Water (or Chicken stock) 160ml 2/3 cup
Eggs (or Egg substitute) 2 (or 120ml) 2 (or 1/2 cup)
Cabbage, cut into 3cm x 2-3ml strips 300g 4 cups
Green Onions, thinly sliced diagonally 2 stalks 2 stalks
Tenkasu (Tempura bits) 30g 1/4 cup
OPTIONAL
Raw shrimp cut into approx 1cm (1/2″) chunks 100g 1/2 cup
TOPPINGS
Kewpie Mayonnaise 
Okonomi Sauce
Aonori (Seaweed Flakes)
Katsuobushi (Bonito Flakes)

PREPARATION:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together Okonomiyaki Flour and Water until smooth
2. Add Eggs, Cabbage, Onions, Tenkasu, Ginger, Shrimp and mix, but don’t over mix.
3. Oil a griddle that has been heated to 200C (400F) and add Okonomiyaki mixture divided into two pancakes.
4. Using a spatula flatten and form pancakes until around 1.5cm (3/4″) thick – approximately 30cm (12″) across.
6. After about 3 minutes, flip over pancake and cook for 4 minutes.
7. Flip pancake again and cook for 3 minutes or until firm and well browned.
8. Remove to plate and drizzle with Kewpie mayonnaise, okonomi sauce and sprinkle with Aonori and Katsuobushi.Eat quickly before someone near you takes your portion!
Delicious Okonomiyak Batter
Delicious Okonomiyaki

Guys and Gals! just bare in mind that the above ingredients are not set in stone so don’t worry if your missing some! be adventurous and try different toppings and even different sauces if you can’t get hold of the authentic stuff!

Now for the tricky bit! to form a nice round shape! remember presentation is very important….

Out of the bowl and in to the pan!
Out of the bowl and in to the pan!

Time for the fun bit! round up all your additional toppings and sauces and start to layer them on! this bit is so fun!

Otafuku Okonomi Sauce
Otafuku Okonomi Sauce

If you can’t get hold of this bad boy Otafuku Okonomi Sauce then you could always try HP Brown Sauce!

A little goes a long way!
A little goes a long way!

Once you’ve added your remainder toppings you should have something that looks like this!!

Lip-licking Japanese style 'pancakes' !
Lip-licking Japanese Fast Food!

So next time you hear someone say ‘okonomiyaki whaaaaat!?!?‘ you can tell them it’s a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”

いただきます! Thank You for the Meal!

いただきます!!
いただきます!

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