Monday, 22 January 2007

It's all in the sauce

This is the third and last installation of my cabbage trilogy. Sniff sniff. (No, don't, if you know what's good for you! ;-) ) I couldn't think of anything more dignified than Okonomiyaki for the final send-off.

According to my Japanese brother-in-law, "okonomi" means "whatever you want", and "yaki" means "grilled", and I suppose it does look that way. The good thing about batter is its ability to disguise and surprise. If only he'd told me the meaning of the word before I made them and sent him the photos, because I sure would have preferred something bolder than the minced turkey I had on hand, I just didn't want to err.

Actually, the problem was not so much reticence towards my other options as the dreadful realisation that I was down to my last pack of flour mix and last half-bottle of okonomiyaki sauce, so I had to get it right (if there's a right and wrong to such things)!

How to: If you don't have an okonomiyaki flour mix like I did, don't despair. 250g or so of plain wheat flour with a bit of cornflour and salt or a few drops of Japanese soya sauce easily do the trick. However, if you don't have the sauce, scrap your plans. :) The only "Western" sauce to my knowledge that tastes really close is Marks & Spencer's Brown Sauce, which the label recommends for bacon sandwiches. Do not follow the crowd.

To make 5 single servings, finely slice about a third or quarter of a cabbage and set aside. Mix flour with its weight in water, add 3 eggs and beat to kill off all lumps. Chop whatever meat or seafood you wish to add, and start heating some oil. Fry the cabbage until it wilts and loses some of its volume, then add the meat and cook through. Pour enough batter to just cover the base of the pan and scramble, then press down the pancake with the back of the spoon/spatula/cooking utensil. When batter is crisp, flip the pancake over and cook the other side until it is charred and crisp, too.

Slather with a generous amount of Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise and sprinkle shredded roasted seaweed, bonito flakes and dried young ginger.

I ran out of the squeeze-bottle Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise and had to use French mayonnaise, which as you can see is yellower, due to the addition of mustard. Just as delectable! Had no bonito flakes and dried ginger, unfortunately.

Variations: Halve the amount of cabbage and replace with onions, add octopus and/or ham and/or bacon and/or shrimp and/or pork, etc. Anything goes! I ran out of turkey for the 5th pancake and it was just cabbage and batter. Tasted just as good!

Body count: 1/2 turkey breast.


tigerfish said...

At first glance, I thought it looks like a gigantic satay. Then I took a closer look and realized it's chopsticks and not skewers...LOL!
This is like savory pancake!

Claude-Olivier said...

Je ne connais pas mal cela a l'air bien sympa !!!! Je prends! ;-)


Shilpa said...

Pas de pb! En plus c'est assez facile à faire! Alors, tu as déjà essayé la recette de nouilles? :)

Keropok Man said...

it's my sis fav!

she will definitely order this when we go to a jap place.

here's something to tempt you too.

Shilpa said...

Wah keropok man, your picture looks nicer!! And that macha sundae is a killer! Looks like 7-11's Softee!

Sandeepa said...

Hi Shilpa,
First time to your blog through TRS's . Liked your writing, shall come back and read prev posts in leisure

Shilpa said...

Hi Sandeepa,

Thanks for the compliment! :) Do come back, I usually cook on alternate days but take longer than that to write about it! :) I'm still new to blogging so am trying to improve my flog.

emu said...

Very happy to see this recipe as completely failed to have this when visiting my sis in Tokyo - yes, that one!

Shilpa said...

Hi emu,

Tell me how it turns out! :) thanks for writing!

Melting Wok said...

ooh, shilpa, this korean pancake's quite expensive here u know :( I luv it..yums, haven't had them a while now, hmm, can use leftovers for bread somemore yumyum :)

Shilpa said...

Hi Melting Wok, now that you know what it's made of, don't waste your money buying it from outside, make your own! :) Just invest in a good bottle of sauce!