Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hiroshima Okonomiyaki

 After posting my first Osaka Style Okonomiyaki Recipe, one of my friends asked me, "How about the okonomiyaki with noodles in it?"  
She may have been referring to this, Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki, (also known as Hiroshima-yaki ) which has a layer of yakisoba noodles.  The other main difference between Osaka Style Okonomiyaki and Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki is, while in Osaka style Okonomiyaki the ingredients (or at least, the cabbage) are mixed together into the batter, in Hiroshimayaki, each ingredient is added separately in layers.

Coming from a Kansai background, I had grown up on Osaka style Okonomiyaki.  So, to add Hiroshimayaki to my blog, I first had to master it.  That journey has been quite delicious.

Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki Recipe (makes 6)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 3/4 ~ 2 cups water
1~2 tsp dashi powder (1 sachet)

1/2 cabbage, shredded
a large handful of moyashi (mungbean sprouts)
a small handful of sliced negi (shallots/spring onions)
2 Tbsp beni-shoga (pickled ginger), finely chopped
3 packet/servings of yakisoba noodles
200~300g thinly sliced pork belly*
6 eggs

Okonomi Sauce
Japanese Mayonaise
Ao-nori, negi and katsuo-bushi

 1.  Mix together flour, water and dashi powder to make the batter.  It should be quite runny, but not watery.  Adjust if necessary (I can't be bothered measuring on scales, so cup measurements are always approximate).

2.  Using a ladle, pour a little batter onto a preheated hotplate/teppanyaki plate/frypan, and swirl the bottom of the ladle around on it to spread the batter thinly.  Sprinkle with Katsuobushi.
 3.  Place a very large handful of shredded cabbage on the base,  followed by ginger, shallots and bean sprouts.

4.  Open a packet of yakisoba noodles and place them on the hotplate (if making just one okonomiyaki at a time, use only half a packet of noodles)
 5.  Place strips of pork on top of the mound of vegetables.  Sprinkle the pork and the yakisoba with a little salt and pepper.  (Even BETTER, if you have it, sprinkle the yakisoba with some of the yakisoba sauce powder packet that came with the yakisoba.)
 6.  Pour a little batter over the meat and vegetables, then using two spatulas, flip the whole thing over.  The base crepe now becomes a "lid" under which the vegetables can cook.

Don't worry if a little cabbage falls out the sides when you flip it, just sweep it all under the "lid".

Turn the yakisoba, which should now be getting crispy.
 7.  (When the pork is cooked through and a little crispy)
Spread the yakisoba noodles out into a circle the size of the okonomiyaki, then lift the okonomiyaki (using two spatulas) and place it on top of the noodles.
 8.  Crack an egg onto the hotplate in the spot where the yakisoba was.  Break the yolk and spread the egg out a bit.  Lift the okonomiyaki and place it on top of the egg.

 9.  When the egg is cooked, flip the whole thing, egg side up.
10.  Generously spread Okonomi Sauce on top, followed by mayonaise, ao-nori, shallots and katsuobushi.
*The pork is not paper-thin sliced pork as we would use in a nabe (hot pot), rather it is ideally medium-thin sliced pork belly (with a bit of fat on it) but a little thinner than Korean Samgeopsal pork.

Step 1: Batter "quite runny but not watery"??  The perfect batter consistency is similar to that of Osaka Okonomiyaki, it just takes a little practice, and you'll know what I mean...sorry.

Step 3: The vegetables will look like the hugest pile ever when you put them on raw, but when they cook at step 6 they flatten out.

Step 6: Don't overcook the cabbage at step 6, or you end up with the taste of... overcooked cabbage.

Okonomi Sauce: I've been asked about substitutes before, but for Hiroshimayaki, Okonomi Sauce doesn't really have any good substitute.  Even Tonkatsu Sauce (which my mother often uses for Osaka style Okonomiyaki) is just a little second-rate here, sorry.

My other Okonomiyaki Recipes:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sweet and Sour Pork (Su-Buta)

Sweet and Sour Pork (or Chicken) Recipe

Su-Buta (lit. Vinegar Pork) is a classic Japanese Chu-ka (Chinese style) dish, and many Japanese make it using a packet-mix for the sauce.  However there is really no need for a packet mix, as the ingredients for the sauce are probably already in your kitchen!
The meat is just coated with cornstarch and shallow-fried, so it's very easy.  Or if you're really lazy like me, sometimes you might make it by just stir-frying the meat along with the vegetables.

300g pork or chicken, cut into roughly 1cm thick, 2x3cm pieces
a few tablespoons cornstarch
1 large onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 large green bell pepper/capsicum (or 3-4 piiman), sliced

Sauce Ingredients:
4 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp vinegar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp chicken stock powder
2/3 cup water
3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with a little water

1.  Place all sauce ingredients in a cup and stir.  Set aside until the end.
2.  Place a few tablespoons of cornstarch with a little salt and pepper in a plastic freezer bag.  Add sliced pork or chicken and shake to coat well.  Shallow-fry with oil until browned and crisp.  Remove from oil and let drain.
3.  In a wok or large frypan, heat a little oil and stir-fry the vegetables, adding capsicum/piiman last so as not to overcook.
4.  Give the cup of sauce ingredients another stir, then add it to the vegetables, continue stirring over medium heat until the sauce thickens.
5.  Add the cooked pork/chicken and stir to combine.

Serve with rice.

I often make this dish with chicken just because chicken is much cheaper in Japan, however if you make it with pork, you'll know why the dish is called "Sweet and Sour Pork", as the unique taste of pork goes amazingly well with the Sweet and Sour.

Although it is best fresh and hot, left over Sweet and Sour can even find a place in your bento lunch the next day!