Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Okonomiyaki... Waffles!

This was a bit of an experiment. I was thinking of making an Okonomiyaki - that is to say, a savoury Japanese pancake who's name translates as "grilled as you like it" - when I wondered if I could cook it in my waffle iron. A little searching showed that there are lots of people doing that; and I would think it would cook very nicely on most electric grills. You can always cook it in a skillet instead, but I would allow 20 minutes to cook it, since it will require turning to get both sides done.

This is not the world's most authentic recipe; I put more weight on local ingredients rather than traditional ones. I can't compare it to the real thing, but we enjoyed it very much, and I'll be making it again as long as the cabbage supply holds out.  I didn't put any meat or tofu in mine, I just served a little pan-fried tofu on the side but most recipes call for some to be added. You can switch the vegetables around for other ones too... they call it "as you like it" for a reason.

The actual pancake is fairly plain in flavour; if I was not putting on sauce I would certainly add salt to it. However, the sauce is very salty and it is an integral or at least very traditional part of the dish. You should use it (and the mayonnaise)! I would have served it with pickled ginger, if I could have found any that didn't contain aspartame. Ugh! I guess I need to make it myself. (I've done that before, using the brine recipe and technique for dill pickles.)

I remember there was a restaurant in Toronto that served nothing but Okonomiyaki back in the days I lived there - a long time ago now. I never went there; it was not within my budgetary constraints. I wonder if it is still there? (Yes! A little searching shows that it is. It seems quite inexpensive now; was it always less expensive than I thought, or have their prices dropped or at least failed to rise? I wonder. But now I will have to try to go on my next trip into the big smoke.)

2 servings - 6 "waffles"
40 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Grilled as you like it... savoury Japanese pancake in the form of waffles

Make the Sauce:
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce OR oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sherry OR mirin

Whisk the above together in a small bowl.

Make the Okonomiyaki Batter:
1 1/2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 medium carrot
3 green onions OR 1 medium onion
1 cup soft unbleached flour
1 tablespoon arrowroot OR corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Trim and shred the cabbage, then peel and grate the carrot and trim (peel) and chop the onions. Set them aside. Turn the waffle maker on to heat.

Mix the flour, arrowroot or corn starch, and baking powder in a fairly large mixing bowl - it will end up here at some point - then whisk in the eggs and the stock.

Mix in the vegetables and any optional ingredients. Yes, there is a lot of filling in proportion to the batter. That's fine.

Add Optional Ingredients & Finish:
1 sheet toasted nori (optional)
225 grams (1/2 pound finely chopped chicken, tofu, OR white fish
OR 125 grams (1/4 pound) bacon
a little mild vegetable to brush the waffle iron

I just added a sheet of toasted nori, cut with scissors into shreds. You could also put in finely chopped chicken, tofu, or white fish. If you want to use bacon, I would chop it and partially cook it before mixing it in. I've seen it placed in the skillet then the batter poured over it, but we aren't (or at least I didn't) using a skillet here. I would be dubious about that working in a waffle iron.

Brush the heated waffle iron with oil, and spoon in enough batter to fill the waffle iron, once it is evenly spread out. For me, that was about half of it. Close the waffle iron and cook until lightly browned over most of okonomiyaki waffle, and it should feel fairly firm to the touch - about 15 minutes. Keep the okonomiyaki warm in a 200°F oven while you brush the waffle iron with a little oil again and cook the remaining batter.

Drizzle the ononomiyaki waffles with the brown sauce and with mayonnaise to taste before serving.

Last year at this time I made A Basic Korean Style Marinade.


Claudia said...

I love Okonomiyaki! Thanks for this idea although I don't know if my partner will be jazzed if I use the waffle iron for it (she doesn't really get the okonomiyaki thing). I don't know if you have a sourdough starter going, but I've used the overage from feedings to make savoury pancakes as well. I wonder if your recipe and my recipe (okay, Sandor Katz's recipe) could work together. Hmm.

Ferdzy said...

Well it really didn't stick at all, if that helps! And yeah, I could see a little sourdough tang livening these up and reducing the need to apply sauce. Good luck!