Friday, 30 January 2015

Savory pancake (okonomi-yaki)


Have you seen this week´s `Master Chef´?
Wow, I was so impressed with the participants who had to make Japanese dishes that they had never tasted, and probably never seen, before.  Namely they were `dango (mitarashi dango, correctly)
and `okonomi-yaki´.
I make both dishes at home and particularly okonomi-yaki is a regional dish where I come from.
So here is my version of okonomi-yaki recipe.  One needs special ingredients to make the taste right but it´s possible to obtain them in Oslo.

Serves 4

500 g cabbage  
4-5 spring onions
4dl flour (fint malt)
4ss potato starch (potatmel)
2ts dashi powder 
1ts baking powder
2 pinches salt
4 eggs
3-4dl water
Vegetable oil
300g non-smoked thinly sliced bacon (or pork belly)

okonomi-yaki sauce
bonito flakes / powder (katsuobushi)
green-seaweed flakes (aonori)

1 Chop the cabbage and spring onion and put in a same bowl.

2 Conbine flour, potato starch, dashi powder, baking powder,  salt, and water well in a separate bowl.
Then mix in the chopped cabbage and spring onion (the flour mixture is just covering the vegetables).
And add the eggs well.

3 Heat generous amount of the vegetable oil in a frying pan.
Reduce heat to medium then pour the okonomi-yaki mixture on the pan and shape into a round pancake.
Top with the thinly sliced bacon or pork belly.

4 Cook until the bottom begins to brown then turn.  Put a lid on and cook further for 4-5 mins.
Keep medium - law heat!  I want to have a steam-cook affect here so the vegetables shall be cooked through.

5 Open the lid then turn the okonomi-yaki for last time.
Keep brown for 1 mins or the bacon looks crispy.

6 When cook through brush on a generous coating of the sauce and mayonnaise.
Then sprinkle with the bonito flakes and green-seaweed flakes.  Serve immediately!

As shown in the TV show, we don´t normally use carrot in the okonomi-yaki.  And instead of sprinkling chopped spring onion on the pancake, we mix it in the dough.  Point is that we enjoy the sweetness of cooked cabbage and spring onion!
One can also use raw prawns, squid… etc, in addition to the pork belly.
If you can obtain red vinegared ginger, chop finely and add in the dough.
I can´t emphasise the importance of dashi /  dashi powder here.

All in all, it was a very interesting program for me… I can try some carrots in the pancake and use milk instead of water.  Probably more nutritious and tastier?  Why not!
Dear Kjartan and Gregory, please invite me to the program as a special judge when you make okonomi-yaki again ;-)

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Sesame dressing salad with broccoli


This is a very simple recipe but always a success whenever I serve this :-)
It´s best to toast and grind sesame seeds yourself.
But of course you can buy toasted sesame seeds at supermarket and use a blender.

Serves 4

1 bouquet of broccoli

5 ss / tbs toasted white sesame seeds
1 ss / tbs soya sauce
1 ts sugar*
1 ts grated ginger

1. Cut the broccoli into bite size.
Cook them in lightly salted boiling water for few minutes (2-3 mins).
Then soak in cold water (stopping further cooking process).

2. Grind the sesame seeds by using blender.

3. Combine the sesame seeds and the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

4. Drain the broccoli, taking out the excess liquid as much as you can.
Add to the dressing and toss well, then serve.

*sugar can be substituted by 2 ts maple syrup

Monday, 5 January 2015

New Year soup with rice cake (Zoni)


A Happy New Year!

One of the dishes I´m always looking forward to have for New Year is a soup with rice cake, called `zoni´.
Rice cake `mochi´ is made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and moulded into shape.
`Zoni´ is an important part of New Year dishes in Japan and there are many varieties in shapes of mochi, in type of stock …etc. 
As I come from Kansai region of Japan, Zoni must have white miso, a round shaped rice cake and a couple of vegetables.
I tried to recreate the dish with the ingredients available where I live (Oslo!).

Serves 4

4 Rice cakes (mochi)**

8 dl / 800 ml Dashi stock (made of kelp and bonito flakes but powder type can be also used)
6 SS / Tbs miso paste (white type)*

4 slices of carrot (make it round.  symbolises sunrise!)
few slices of kohlrabi (kålrabi)
vegetables of your choice

1. boil the carrot and kohlrabi slices until tender.
2.  Put the miso paste in a pan.  Then pour the dashi stock into the miso little by little and mix well.
3.  Place the pan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil then lower the heat and add the rice cakes then cook until the rice cakes are tender.
4.  Add the vegetables.  Once the soup is warm, serve immediately.

*white miso paste can be bought at Helios Colosseum (Middelthuns gate 23, 0368 Oslo)
**rice cakes at Obento (Bernt Ankers gate 4, 0181 Oslo)