Saturday, January 04, 2014

Recipe:  "Osaka-Style Okonomiyaki" from "Japanese Soul Cooking" by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat
Rating: Great!
Status: Made several times.

This is the recipe that I bought "Japanese Soul Cooking" by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat for since T. Susan Chang named it one of her best 12 recipes of 2013. We also loved this recipe! The recipe is available at T. Susan Chang's site, "Cookbooks for Dinner".

I like to freeze my dashi (recipe here) in an ice cube tray, which makes it easy to melt a few cubes anytime we want to make this recipe (or any other Japanese recipe which calls for a small amount of dashi).

We've made this with thinly sliced pork belly (often available at Japanese markets) and with bacon. I greatly prefer the pork belly because I like the taste of the sauces and toppings best, and these stand out more with the more delicately flavored pork belly. Since bacon has a stronger flavor (it is cured pork belly) it tends to make most of the pancake taste like bacon. However, on days when I don't have time to run to Japantown for pork belly, bacon will work as a substitute. Safety note: Preferably use thinly cut pork belly or bacon. Thickly cut bacon or pork belly (the kind that is a millimeter or so thick) can be used, but since it can render lots of fat, if there is a thick coating of fat, pour off any excess oil (or mop it up with a paper towel) after you cook the meat side of the pancake before you flip the pancake. Otherwise, you may burn yourself if the hot oil splatters when you flip the pancake.

We like to cook these either in a cast iron pan (any size larger than the pancake is fine, since the pancake doesn't spread out) or on a griddle. Our griddles make this especially fast to cook since they are large enough to cook multiple pancakes at the same time. If you make the pancakes about 6 inches wide, then it is easy to flip them with a spatula since the ingredients bind together as the pancake cook (our cast iron pans are too heavy to use the inverted pan onto a large plate technique that T. Susan Chang mentions).

We like to top our pancakes with Kewpie mayonnaise, Bulldog tonkatsu sauce, bonito flakes, and aonori (powdered seaweed). Since one pancake per person isn't quite enough for a full lunch or dinner for us, we may try topping it with a fried egg next time before adding the other toppings.

We also found that if you make extra pancakes, it is easy to reheat them (and they will still taste great) if you leave off the toppings. Re-pan fry to heat them up and then add all the toppings.

This book also has another great Okonomiyaki recipe, a Hiroshima-style one which has pan-fried ramen noodles in it.
Recipe:  "Hiroshima-Style Okonomiyaki" from "Japanese Soul Cooking" by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat
Rating: Great! This is "man food"--meaning that it is very filling, and messy in a good sort of way.
Status: Made twice.

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