In Which Okonomiyaki Fuels a Writing Fit…

Ahh, okonomiyaki! *hearts*

About a couple weeks ago, just as Puck and Ginger was going into chapter three (Tossed Salad), I had to go clear my head and went out to Fukuya to grab my favorite Hiroshima okonomiyaki (the kind with noodles, of course).

I could have opted to go with the noodle-less Osaka version (the choice of the carb-conscious) or I could’ve gone for the new Buta-Tama okonomiyaki which has more sliced pork than the original and has the added charm of a sunny-side-up fried egg on top (the choice of protein fanatics).  However, there’s just something about the Hiroshima that fuels me up whenever I’m writing.  I’m not sure if it’s the extra carbohydrates from the noodles or the fact that Fukuya doesn’t scrimp on the brain-powering seafood (prawns, cuttlefish, bonito shavings, and nori seaweed), but it’s the best meal I can recommend for people who are trying to write or are smack in the middle of a writing project.

Hokkaido-style Okonomiyaki!

For something different, I also recommend the Hokkaido-style okonomiyaki over at Okini’iri No in Las Pinas.  This particular okonomiyaki doesn’t have noodles; instead, it gets extra oomph from the addition of creamy cheese to the filling.  Savory, rather umami, it won’t be replacing the Hiroshima as my personal fave anytime soon, but it’s still quite a treat.

Now, just in case you haven’t the time to head over to your regular okonomiyaki joint, you may want to give making your own okonomiyaki at home a bash.  It’s a bit fiddly, but it becomes spot-on easy once you get a hang of it.

Okonomiyaki 

1 8 x 7-inch sheet nori

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup catsup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp sake/red wine
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Okonomiyaki:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp  sake/vodka/white wine
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (1 1/2 inch strips)
  • 4 spring onions, cut in half lengthwise and into 1 inch strips or 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup your choice of filling (crabsticks, shrimp, lean pork, bacon, octopus, various fish, strips of steak, mushrooms, etc.)
  • 1 packet instant noodles, prepared without the seasonings and drained (optional)

Toast the nori by waving it over a flame until it stiffens slightly, but be careful – it burns easily. Crumble into little pieces and set aside.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the flour and water and continue beating until you have a batter the consistency of pancake batter. Add the sake. Fold in the cabbage, and scallions. Be sure to mix the batter and vegetables together evenly. Each okonomiyaki will use 1/4 of this mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a standard 10-inch skillet. Spoon 1/4 of the batter onto the hot skillet (like a pancake) making sure the vegetables are evenly distributed. Then sprinkle 1/4 of the fillings and half the noodles (if you’re using them) on top. Cook each side on medium heat for 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered for another 5 minutes, occasionally turning and gently pressing the okonomiyaki with a spatula.  Prepare three more okonomiyaki as above while keeping the finished pancakes warm in a low oven.  You may also choose to use two skillets and make two okonomiyaki at the same time.

Brush the top of the finished okonomiyaki with the sauce and sprinkle 1/4 of the toasted nori over each pancake.  Drizzle with Kewpie mayonnaise if desired before serving.

Serves 4 as a main course; 8 as a starter.

Incidentally…

Puck and Ginger as drawn by my wee sister Issa!

For those of you who are currently reading (or have yet to read) Puck and Ginger, here’s a recap of the chapters so far:

  1. Amuse-Bouche http://twistedtwinset.tumblr.com/post/6541405454/amuse-bouche
  2. The Soup http://twistedtwinset.tumblr.com/post/6541750986/the-soup
  3. Tossed Salad http://twistedtwinset.tumblr.com/post/6687600144/tossed-salad
  4. A Palate Cleanser http://twistedtwinset.tumblr.com/post/6786283829/a-palate-cleanser
  5. L’Entree http://twistedtwinset.tumblr.com/post/6896918497/lentree
  6. The Main Course http://twistedtwinset.tumblr.com/post/7115950275/the-main-course

I’ve also posted two short stories set in the same world as the main tale for your enjoyment:

Chapter Seven – Just Desserts – goes online this weekend.  😀