Okonomiyaki

I’m excited to post this Okonomiyaki recipe as I’ve basically been obsessed with okonomiyaki ever since I went to Japan three years ago. It’s a Japanese savoury pancake served with Japanese mayonnaise and Okonomiyaki sauce which is a bit like brown sauce and then some bonito flakes which are dried fish. There are 2 regional variations that are the most famous – the Osaka version and the Hiroshima version, the Hiroshima take adds noodles to the mix. I’ve had both and I have to say the Hiroshima version is the best so that’s what I’ve tried to replicate here with some success. In Japan they just have a large hot plate which they cook the okomiyakis all in a line. I’ve made this a couple of times before and this was the best it’s ever turned out. I think it’s to do with the ratio of ingredients to the pan. I was feeling a bit indulgent and it was the weekend so I had salmon, prawns and scallops but you can pretty much put whatever you want in an okonomiyaki. You can maybe get away with leaving out the bonito flakes and also even subbing the okonomiyaki sauce for HP sauce but I think the Kewpie mayonnaise is an absolute must.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 300g white cabbage (about half a cabbage)
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 fillets salmon
  • 6 small scallops
  • 100g raw prawns
  • 300g ready to wok noodles
  • bonito flakes
  • kewpie mayonnaise
  • okonomiyaki sauce

Method

1.) Cut the cabbage into shreds. Dice the spring onions. De-skin the salmon and chop into large chunks.

2.) Break the eggs in a measuring jug, add the flour and beat. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil.

3.) In a large oven proof frying pan, heat some oil and add the cabbage and fry for 3 minutes or so.

4.) Add the salmon and spring onion and fry for a couple more minutes. Turn on the grill to preheat.

5.) Add the prawns and scallops and cook for a few more minutes, flipping the prawns over so they start to become pink on both sides.

6.) Now add the noodles and break them up a bit with the spoon. Cook for a couple more minutes.

7.) Move the ingredients around the pan so that it’s all evenly distributed and then pour in the batter.

8.) Cook for about 4 minutes until the bottom is set.

9.) Put under the grill for 3 – 4 more minutes until the top is starting to brown.

10.) Sprinkle over the bonito flakes and then drizzle the mayo and the okonomiyaki sauce all over the pancake and serve.

Sushi Bake

For someone that deleted her facebook account as a self-birthday gift (self birthday gift – definitely using that one in the future), you can imagine my enthusiasm for Tik Tok. However, I found the recipe for this Sushi Bake on the blog ‘I am a food blog’ which had been trending on said social media platform. I am a food blog is a really great blog if a little too wordy for me and it’s obviously the first thing that comes up on a Google search ‘food blog’ so points for the name there. The sushi bake is assembled by cooking some rice, spreading it out into a casserole dish and topping with a mixture of cream cheese, crab and the Japanese seasoning Furikake (or togarashi – both work). Serve it with some seaweed on the side and the result is heavenly – I really think you could impress your mates with this one! I changed it up a bit by adding some crab paste to cheaply boost the crab flavour and fleshed it out with some fishsticks.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 225g sushi rice
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 225g crab meat
  • 1 tin crab paste
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 100g kewpie mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp furikake seasoning
  • 1 pack seafood sticks
  • roasted seaweed

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Boil the rice until tender. Drain off any excess water. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt to the rice and mix to dissolve.

3.) Spread the rice out into a casserole dish and sprinkle with half of the furikake.

4.) In a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, crab paste and mayonnaise and give it a good mix. Chop up the seafood sticks and add them to the bowl. Add the crab meat and gently stir.

5.) Spread the cream cheese mixture on the top and sprinkle on the rest of the furikake.

6.) Bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbling.

7.) Serve with some seaweed.

Furikake Devilled Eggs

Around the holidays, sometimes I like to make a few things to nibble on rather than a normal ‘meat’ and 3 veg meal. I clearly was taken with Asian food this year considering the Korean pinwheels and these Japanese flavoured devilled eggs. In case, like me, you were wondering why they’re called devilled eggs, to save you a google search, devilled was a word to describe anything highly seasoned back in the medieval times and the normal recipe does usually contain cayenne pepper or paprika. This version’s a bit more of an interesting take on the classic devilled eggs containing furikake and Kewpie mayonnaise which is a Japanese mayo and is well worth taking the trouble to find over normal mayonnaise. Furikake is a Japanese seasoning with a mixture of different things such as seaweed, dried fish and sesame seeds. I honestly can’t really tell the difference between this and togarashi so if you have that, use that instead. If you don’t have it, it’s also well worth finding as it makes anything you sprinkle it on delectable. I saw the recipe on BBC Good Food, I didn’t have wasabi so I subbed it with miso paste.

Makes 12 egg halves

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp kewpie mayonnaise
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 tsp miso
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp pickled ginger (I unfortunately had to omit this due to lack of stock at my local supermarket)
  • 3 tbsp furikake

Method

1.) Boil some water and pour into a deep pan. Put the eggs into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes until hard boiled.

2.) Leave to cool or put in some ice water if you want to speed up the process.

3.) Peel the shells off the eggs and chop the eggs in half.

4.) Scoop the egg yolks out with a spoon into a bowl. Slice finely the spring onions and add to the bowl. Measure in the mayonnaise, miso, sesame oil and ginger.

5.) Mash everything with a fork until you get a paste.

6.) Spread the furikake seasoning onto a plate and press each egg half lightly onto the seasoning so that it sticks. Sprinkle the egg yolk holes with the remaining seasoning.

7.) Spoon the egg mixture into the recess where the yolk was (or pipe if you want to be fancy and you don’t have 8 Harry Potter films to get through over your holiday break).

Watermelon sushi

It seems very festive to be posting a sushi recipe on the closing day of the Tokyo Olympics. I did used to be a bit sceptical of vegetarian sushi until I had some watermelon sashimi at Vegan Restaurant ‘The Allotment’ in Manchester. I always used to have sushi for lunch when working in London with 2 Itsus and a Wasabi nearby so I have missed it a lot when working from home. Home-made sushi is infinitely better than the horrible pressed rice sushi you get at the supermarket and also infinitely more adaptable. I tend to stay away from raw fish sushi just because I’m a bit wary of using sashimi-grade fish. I have tended to opt for smoked salmon and avocado in the past but some of my favourites were tempura prawn and the tuna-mustard ongiri you get from Wasabi which also avoid using sashimi. But anyway, back to this recipe as for this I used watermelon sashimi, sriracha mayo and cucumber.

Makes about 24

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup/400ml sushi rice
  • 7 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 sheets nori sheets
  • 250ml lukewarm water
  • 100g mayo
  • 1 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/3 watermelon
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • soy sauce and pickled ginger to serve

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 90 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray, chop off the watermelon peel and slice up the watermelon into 1 cm slices (thinner than mine below I think works better). Put the watermelon onto the baking tray, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.

3.) Bake for 1 hr 15, flip the slices over, then bake for another 1hr 15. Leave to cool. You could do this the day before and put the watermelon in the fridge as I did.

4.) Cook the rice with about 460ml/2 cups of water. When ready, add the sugar, some salt and pepper and 3 tbsp of the vinegar and let cool to room temperature. I find that this is the most important step in making sushi, if your rice is too hot or you haven’t used sushi rice, it’s not going to work! Even though you can see below I haven’t really spread out the rice as well as I could, my sushi have still been reasonably successful.

5.) The watermelon should have shrunk down a bit in the oven but you may need to slice it more thinly.

6.) Chop up the cucumber into sticks

7.) Mix the sriracha with the mayo in a bowl

8.) Make a water bowl with the rest of the vinegar and the 250ml water. This is really helpful for working with the rice as it’s so sticky.

9.) Get a sushi rolling mat and line it with cling film. Place on a sheet of nori then add 1/4 of the rice to the middle of the sheet. Spread the rice out with your fingers leaving a 1cm margin on the far side. Clean your fingers after with the vinegar water bowl. You can see I left margins on both sides which is probably why I ended up with 6 rolls. Also go right to the edge width ways.

10.) Spoon on a tbsp of sriracha mayo down the middle of the roll. On top of this, add sticks of cucumber and watermelon.

11.) Pick up the mat from the slide closest to you, roll it over to the other side and pull out the mat slightly so that the edge of the nori folds under the other edge. The join should be at the bottom and the moisture from the rice should stick it together.

12.) Repeat with the remaining nori and rice.

13.) Use a sharp knife to slice each roll into 6 pieces, trimming off the ends if they’re a bit scrappy. Dip the knife in the water vingear bowl between slices to stop it sticking.

14.) Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger/wasabi.