Years ago, when my children were in high school, they had an opportunity to visit Japan on a school trip. Both enjoyed the trip immensely and I believe it extended their palate. Amongst the experiences they related back, one was a love for Japanese food and this simple savoury street food snack called Okonomiyaki. I had no idea what it was at that time and we did try some not so tasty versions. However this one is inspired by Japanese food blogger Just One Cookbook and here is my version.
120 grams plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
180 ml water or dashi (stock)
4 large eggs lightly beaten
half large cabbage finely chopped
¼ cup pickled ginger
8 large tiger prawns cut
Vegetable oil for frying
Spring onions finely chopped
Togarashi (Japanese spice powder)
Mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk in the water or dashi. Cover and set aside in refrigerator for an hour. Then mix in the eggs, pickled ginger and cabbage making sure everything is mixed in well.
Heat a flat non-stick pan or fry pan. Spread a teaspoon of oil. Add a few pieces of prawns and pour in about a cup full of your okonomiyaki mixture. Spread it out to make it half centimetre thick and 12-14 centimetres wide. Make sure your flame is medium high. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes until the bottom starts to lightly brown. Using two spatulas or a fish spatula turn the okonomiyaki. Cook for a couple more minutes.
While on the stove, spread a thick layer of the okonomiyaki sauce. Transfer to a serving plate. Squeeze out the mayonnaise in a crisscross pattern. Sprinkle the bonito flakes, sea weed powder, spring onions and the togarashi. Serve immediately.
Makes about 8 okonomiyaki.
Chef’s notes: I chopped the cabbage using a cleaver and let it rest to let moisture evaporate. It took me about half an hour. If you add right away without resting and squeezing out the liquid, it will dilute batter.
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 tablespoons store bought tomato ketchup
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Mix all together until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.
Normally kewpie mayonnaise is used but if you don’t have it you can make a similar tasting one by using the below:
½ cup Best or other store bought mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients and fill a squeezie bottle and keep ready.