“…At my restaurants I serve takoyaki, a ball-shaped version of okonomiyaki. …” – Iron Chef Morimoto
I’ve been wanting to make okonomiyaki for a while. Most videos of the preparation that I’ve seen involved a teppan or rectangular griddle. That sort of put me off a little bit. It made me wonder why I couldn’t do this round ‘pancake’ in a round skillet? Why did the okonomiyaki have to be so wide? Why did flipping the okonomiyaki have to be such a tricky step?
Recently, I remembered Iron Chef Morimoto referring to his Lobster And Foie Gras Balls (Morimoto: The New Art Of Japanese Cooking ,p 218) as kind-of-a-okonomiyaki (( see https://firstwefeast.com/eat/2014/06/masaharu-morimoto-career-changing-dishes ) The batter for his version of, essentially takoyaki, is:
2 c dashi
1 T milk
2 c all purpose flour
(compare this with my American breakfast pancake batter of
1/2 cup+1/8 cup flour
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of Rumford’s baking powder
1 large egg
5 oz milk
The eggs are lightly beaten and then the dashi and milk are whisked in. When that’s blended the flour is added and mixed well to form a batter.
A half batch of this batter was:
1 c dashi
1t + 1/2t milk
1 c all purpose flour
and Food And Wine’s version ( https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/okonomiyaki ), less the cabbage and bonito flakes was:
1 c dashi
1 c all purpose flour
These two batter formulations seemed very similar (F&W claiming it would make 4 portions), so I gathered I was on the right track. As far as the other fillings went, I decided to opt for the:
4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (10 ounces – emphasis on the weight)
1 1/2 T of minced scallions
4 oz of the protein of my choice (it’s called okonomiyaki, right?)
In preparing the cabbage, as I did in previous posts, I tried to carefully pull off whole leaves of cabbage. I would then stack then in alternating directions, roll the stack into a cylinder and do a thin chiffonade to reach that shredded condition.
Since I was doing this for breakfast, the protein I chose was a Smithfield ham steak that I would dice up and put into the batter.
I was pretty much thinking of doing a Kansai-style okonomiyaki with the ingredients I had to make the preparation easier.
Now it was time to make the batter. As it turns out there was a video of Iron Chef Morimoto at NYC Japan Society regarding okonomiyaki (video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=961-p8iq1Nw ). The first interesting observation is Chef Matsumoto in the video starts the
batter with the water/dashi (see time index 7:38), and then the flour.
Following that experience, once my batter base was made
I thought that would be a good time to add the egg, whisk that in and then add the milk.
At time index 15:15-15:30 of the video, Iron Chef Morimoto makes the point that he pre-cooks his cabbage in his home microwave to drive off excess moisture when making his okonomiyaki at home! Chef Matsumoto tends to agree and suggests pre-steaming. So I decided to quickly pan fry my shredded cabbage.
The implicatio, here, is that you could use leftover cooked cabbage to make okonomiyaki.
So while I let the cooked cabbage cool a bit, I started to add the fillings to the okonomiyaki batter. Yes, I was now making my
okonomiyaki, Kansai-style using Iron Chef Morimoto’s batter.
Whisking all the ingredients together, the batter was now complete.
So I got two 8″ skillets out, got them really hot, then added some grapeseed oil and added 2 ladlefuls of batter to each pan (the ladle
could hold 1/4c of liquid). Once I could tell the edges were slightly browned, I used the spatula to gently loosen the okonomiyaki so
they could freely move around in the pan. I lowered the heat to medium and cooked them for about 3-4 minutes more on that side
(probably for a total of 4-5 minutes), and then flipped them over with the spatula and wrist snap to cook for the same amount of time.
on the other side. My wife chipped in and prepared two over easy eggs to top each okonomiyaki. At the end of cooking, plating the okonomiyaki was a breeze since they slid right out of the pans onto their respective serving dishes. The portions were garnished with the bonito flakes I had in the pantry.
I’d forgotten to buy okonomi sauce. But that really didn’t seem to matter much. My wife thought simple soy sauce was perfectly acceptable for this breakfast and she thought the okonomiyaki was tasty as it was. It’s my understanding Chef Izard has okonomiyaki on the menu at her restaurant and she uses eel sauce to top her version. Since I know how to make Nobu’s kabayaki sauce, I could whip up a batch of that when I make okonomiyaki next time.