Sunday Supper – Okonomiyaki

This is one of my favorite easy Japanese meals. Okonomiyaki means, as you like it. Truly, except for cabbage, the ingredients are what you like. I eat mine with just veggies. Hubby-san likes it with either bacon or shrimp. You can use cabbage, green onion, shredded carrots, squash, shredded kale, shrimp. cooked chicken, shrimp, eel, chopped ham…

Sometimes you will hear this dish called “Japanese Pancakes” or “Japanese Pizza” over here. Call it by its traditional name: Okonomiyaki – it’s fun to say.  It is easy and forgiving. If you don’t want to use dashi, use vegetable broth or water. It will not have the same depth of flavoring, but will still be good. One of the ingredients (I am giving you a warning on this), Nagaimo, can be found in many Asian food stores. I have a sensitivity to the raw yam so I make sure I keep plastic wrap on it while I grate it. Also, it turns to pure slime. Ugly stuff but it is great in this recipe – holds the batter together and tastes good.

You can make the batter into two 8 inch pancakes or several smaller ones. “As you like it!”. I use an electric griddle on the table to prepare and to even, eat it on. In restaurants in Japan, you will find the hot plates in the tables for this purpose.

Douzo meshiagare, y’al

lIngredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Dashi (fish broth)
1 egg
3-4 Tbsp Nagaimo (long yam), grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cabbage (about 12oz), chopped fine
3-4 green onions, chopped fine
2-3 Tbsp pickled red ginger (Benishouga, not sushi ginger), chopped fine
1 Tbsp oil
6 pieces thinly sliced bacon
Okonomiyaki sauce or Tonkatsu sauce (I mix Worcestershire, ketchup and bit of sugar)
mayonnaise (I use Kewpie)
dried bonito flakes (Options)
dried green seaweed (Aonori) (Optional)

Instructions
1.In a big bowl, slowly stir together, to avoid lumping,flour and Dashi together until smooth. Stir egg and yam to flour mixture. beating well at this point. Season it with salt and soy sauce.
2.Add cabbage, onions, and ginger to the batter and mix. Also other veggies, chicken, seafood, if you like.
3.Heat oil in a skillet, pour half of the pancake batter into an 8″ circle, and lay 3 pieces of bacon on it. Fry at medium heat until the bottom becomes golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
4.Flip to fry the other side until the bacon becomes crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
5.Flip one more time, bacon side up, and spread Okonomiyaki sauce and mayo on the pancake.
6.Sprinkle dried green seaweed, then dried bonito flakes over the pancake. Serve hot. I top ours with finely chopped green onion and sesame seeds, omitting the bonita flakes.

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Ninny’s Crabcakes

My ancestors, while being descended from the wild Vikings and Celts, ended up on the coast of North Carolina, specifically Snead’s Ferry.   This is the recipe my grandmother (Ninny) used for her crabcakes.  You can use some kind of sauce with it if you wish: tartar, spicy mustard, wasabi….I prefer to eat with just a simple sprinkle of fresh lemon juice.  If any are leftover, they’re good for breakfast too tucked into a hot homemade buttermilk biscuit with a cup of strong coffee with lots of cream.
 
Crabcakes
1 pound lump crabmeat
1/3 cup finely crushed saltine crackers
3 green onions (green and white parts), finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise (Dukes for diehards, Hellmans for others)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
A couple of dashes of hot sauce
Flour, for dusting
1/2 cup vegetable oil
 
Pick over crabmeat to remove any shell or cartilage.  In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except for the flour and oil. Shape into patties and dust with flour.  Refrigerate for several hours before frying.Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat (I use my great grandmother’s cast iron skillet). When oil is hot, carefully place crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Serve warm with preferred sauce.  Makes 6 cakes.

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