Discover Japanese Food #8: Atsuko’s "Okonomiyaki" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Atsuko’s Kitchen)

Okonomi means ‘favourite’, as you can choose your favourite toppings to put onto the pancake. It is a well known regional speciality of the Kansai area, which includes Kyoto and Osaka.
It is a very popular Japanese street food, commonly eaten at festivals as well as restaurants. Here the customers can cook their own okonomiyaki at their table, and eat it straight away from the hot plate.
The ingredients are very simple and one of my friends named it “economy yaki”… That make sense! But you can always select a good quality topping if you make at it at home. 

Make a small size so that it is easy to turn over, and add a variety of toppings. Serve it while it is hot, to watch the katsuobushi (bonito
flakes) dancing on the top of okonomiyaki! This is fun at the party.

400g cabbage, 4 spring onions, 4 eggs

For frying:
4 tbsp vegetable oil

For the mixture:
2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 300ml dashi, 20g yamaimo (fresh Japanese yam potato available in the Japanese grocery shop in London)

For toppings:
4 thin sliced pork belly, 4 prawns, 1 squid (sliced), 200g grated cheese, A cup of sweet corns

For the sauce:
okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, ainori (green nori powder), katsuobushi (bonito flakes)

1. To make the mixture, mix flour and baking powder in a bowl and add dashi slowly to break any lumps of flour, and blend well. * don’t stir too much as it will become a doughy texture.
2. Grate yama imo finely ( or use powdered yama imo ) and add to the mixture. It will be very slimy to touch, but gives it a soft texture.
3. Chop cabbage and spring onion finely.

1. Add the eggs to the cabbage and spring onion in a large bowl, mix well.
2. Add the pancake mixture to the cabbage mixture then mix gently.
3. Heat the large frying pan with high heat. When hot, spread the pan with oil. Spoon the mixture into the frying pan.
* make small portions, so it is easy to turn over. Repeat to make about
12 okonomiyaki. (3 per person)
4. Reduce the heat to medium, put your favourite toppings on the surface of the mixture then wait until the bottom turns brown.
* don’t press down on the okonomiyaki or they will become hard and may not cook well.
5. Turn the okonomiyaki, and cook for a further 4-6 mins.
6. When the topping is cooked well, turn it over again.
7. Spread the top with okonomiyaki sauce, and mayonnaise, then sprinkle with katsuobushi and enjoy it dancing. Add aonori for extra flavour.

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