Inspired by a craving and the recent Noodle Markets, one dinner project was to recreate okonomiyaki - the Japanese savoury pancake with almost the heart's desire of ingredients within. From foggy Japanese class memory back at school, I remembered there was cabbage and egg, but the rest of the ingredients happened to be what was fridge-handy. And that's the beauty of okonomiyaki - you can really put whatever you like in it.
Aside from the cabbage, we've thrown in corn kernels, enoki mushrooms, spring onions, ginger, chilli, onion, and was that some leftover grilled salmon? In it all went into the batter mix of flour, water and egg and with a quick mix with a fork, we're cooking with gas.
And a well-oiled frypan. And being a pancake, it just inspires attempts at pan flipping which I'm still yet to master. Traditionally, it's flipped with spatulas anyway.
This attempt is slightly thicker than what I've had in restaurants and about six times thicker than the version at the Noodle Markets. Nonetheless, it's a pretty good looking dinner and we've got the key condiments to go with and go a little psycho decorating.
The Bulldog brand tonkatsu or okonomiyaki sauce is a must-have; a sweet, slightly tart brown sauce not too much unlike BBQ sauce. The other necessity is the Kewpie, or QP, mayonnaise; a very creamy mayo that's distinctly different to the one we know from the normal supermarket aisle. The mix of the two sauces makes the okonomiyaki.
It would be that much better with bonito flakes wafting above the heat of the cooked okonomiyaki, except we didn't quite source them till a few days later. Another fridge review finds coriander sprigs that will do just nicely - no swaying in the steam, but another, fresh flavour addition.
The preparation takes longer than the cooking which takes longer than the plating - which all take infinitely longer than the consumption of the okonomiyaki. The freshly cooked pancake is also infinitely better than some of the pre-cooked versions available in takeawy stores. I really like how easy it is to prepare - it's convenient and quite the comfort food too. There'll be no more leftover cabbage in my fridge, I'll be eating it with what I like.