In 1991 a new store came to Melbourne. A challenge was mounted to the department store duopoly of Myer and David Jones by the Japanese company Daimaru. With much fanfare it opened and offered the locals a new way to shop. No expense was spared it seemed, with Paul Bocuse coming out to oversee his name-sake restaurant and café in the complex.
Actually there were a few interesting eateries within the store - one in particular where you could watch the chefs making Okonomi-yaki - the savoury pancakes made with cabbage. In a matter of a few minutes it would be ready, it's top painted in a dark fruity sauce, and garnished with Japanese mayonnaise and bonito flakes. The bonito was especially mesmerising as they seem to come alive from the heat of the pancake, wiggling and waving, urging us to indulge.
Alas, all good things come to an end and Daimaru closed it's doors in 2002. All these thoughts came back to me as I flicked through the pages of Hideo Dekura's book "Cooking at Home" and stopped upon the photo of the much loved Okonomi-yaki. I decided it was time to re-visit those memories and make them for myself.
Japanese Savoury Pancake (Okonomi-Yaki)
(Makes 1 large or two small pancakes)
50 grams self-raising flour
¼ cup milk
¼ cup dashi (made with dashi granules)
pinch of salt
1 spring onion, sliced
80 grams thinly sliced cabbage
4 fresh prawns, peeled and thickly sliced (you can use other types of meat, fish or vegetable)
dried bonito flakes, to serve
Japanese Mayonnaise, to serve
Tonkatsu sauce, to serve
Place the sifted flour, milk, dashi and salt in a bowl and gently stir. Add the egg and mix to combine. Finally, add the spring onion and cabbage and stir through.
Heat a non-stick pan with a little oil - to make two I used two 10cm rings. Pour the mix into the rings - it may leak out a little but don't worry, that's normal. Dot the surface with the prawn pieces and allow to cook over a low heat.
Turn over when the mix appears to be firm and bubbles rise to the surface. You should remove the rings before turning. Continue to cook, pushing down on each pancake with the spatula until the mixture has cooked through - this should take about 4 or 5 minutes.
Flip them over and brush the surface with the tonkatsu sauce before placing them on your serving dish.
Drizzle over with a little Japanese Mayonnaise and finally, sprinkle over with Bonito Flakes.
Serve and eat immediately.
If you can't find Tonkatsu sauce or feel like making your own, then this simple recipe is for you:
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Soy sauce
1 teaspoon caster sugar
To make - just mix the ingredients together in a bowl.
Tagged with Savoury Food