With babies running or crawling around, it is tough for us moms to get some peace in the kitchen. When my friend, Omi and I get together in our apartments, I noticed how busy our babies are with each other and how much leisure we have while we chat. So, cooking together seems like a great idea.
One day I bought an okonomiyaki flour mix and decided that cooking it together with Omi would be fun. We invited her friend Mie as well. The more the merrier for okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is largely translated as Japanese pancake. It’s main ingredients are batter and thinly shredded cabbage. Usually raw toppings such as bacon, shrimps and octopus are cooked together with the batter. Japanese mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, bonito flakes and seaweed flakes are spread on top of the cooked okonomiyaki before consumed. You can find out more about this delicious goodness on Okonomiyaki World.
There are many different versions of okonomiyaki. Luckily both of the ladies are Japanese. Mie is from Osaka and Omi’s father is from Hiroshima. I got to eat two different versions that day.
The first one we cooked is Osaka-yaki. This is the most well known style. My first okonomiyaki is Osaka-yaki, and it is the type that we make at home. If you buy a ready make mix, the instructions it comes with is for Osaka-yaki.
After the flour is mixed with water and eggs, the thinly shredded cabbage is added. The raw toppings are placed neatly on the grill/pan then the batter is poured over them.
Flip the okonomiyaki once when it firms up and cook the other side. When it is cooked through, serve with condiments on it. Voila! Nom nom nom.
Chloe was a bit fussy and asked to nurse at this point. It was contagious. So we ended up taking turns to nurse and tending to our babies. When we started Hiroshima-yaki, Omi’s daughter was still fussy. She ended up placing her in the ergo carrier and I was her assistant.
Hiroshima-yaki is very different than Osaka-yaki. It is better described as a layered cabbage pancake.
First a thin layer of batter is spread out in a circular shape. When it hardens, stack a bunch of shredded cabbage, toppings on top of it and a slather of batter, then flip.
Once the toppings are cooked, place the stack on top of soba noodles cooked over a sunny side up egg. Press the stack with spatula so it will be sturdy and condense. Serve with the condiments.
Hiroshima-yaki has a crispy consistenty. It’s thick and heavy. It was interesting to try it, but Osaka-yaki is still my favorite.
I had a great time cooking with the ladies. I love how the children entertain themselves together while the moms cook and chat. We vow to do it again, at least once a month!
-14 June 2013 Addition-
Bridget requested that I put up the recipe for my favorite Okonomiyaki.
Osaka Style Okonomiyaki
Eggs & Water according to package direction
250gr thinly sliced cabbage, 1cm (you may cut the long ones in half)
4 Strips of Bacon, cut the length in half
3-4 Shrimps, sliced around 1 cm wide (optional)
1.4 cup Tenkasu/Tempura bits (optional – sometimes I put in more)
Vegetable oil to fry
Katsuoboshi (Bonito Flakes)
Aonori (Seaweed Flakes) – I don’t always have this in hand, but it still tastes good 🙂
1. Mix flour and water well.
2. Add eggs, do not over mix. Then mix in cabbage, shrimps (optional) and tenkasu (optional).
3. Heat your griddle/ Frying pan and oil it.
There are two ways on how to cook this. This is how I used to make it.
1. Pour in half of the mixture (one serving) and flatten to around 1.5cm-2cm. Cook for 3 minutes.
2. Arrange 4 bacon slices on top of the okonomiyaki and flip it. Cook for 4 minutes.
3. Flip it again and cook for 3 minutes.
This is how Mie-chan cook hers and how I am going to cook it in the future, since the bacon turns out crispier.
1. Arrange the bacon slices on the pan.
2. Pour in half of the mixture (one serving and flatten it to around 1.5-2cm.
3. Flip when the bacon is cooked. Cook until the bottom is golden brown (around 4-5 minutes).
How to serve:
1. Pour okonomiyaki and mayonaise to taste
2. Sprinkle katsuoboshi and aonori to taste
3. ENJOY!! Best serve immediately.
A note on okonomiyaki flour. There are three brands that I have tried.
When I lived in the US, Nagatainen is the readily available one in my neighborhood Japanese store. It is good and very aromatic. I remember seeing long thin red strips, which I suspected to be dried shrimps.
Sometimes they also have the Otafuku Okonomiyaki package which comes with katsuoboshi, aonori and tenkasu. It makes 2. It sold out real quick.
However, the one that they sell in Jakarta is by nissin. It is good and smells good as well as Nagatainen, without the thin red strips. I do prefer this one :).
I hope my instructions are clear. Please don’t hesitate to ask me anything!