Wednesday, April 7, 2010



I was in college when one of my friends took me to this tiny place in the East Village of New York called Otafuku. It’s really small, so you can’t eat inside, and it has a limited menu. But when it comes to food, I always pick quality over quantity. We went to this place for one thing: okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake.

I fell in love with okonomiyaki with my first bite. The pancake itself is very flavorful and filling, but I think what makes the dish so amazing is the sauces. It’s topped with Japanese mayo and Okonomi Sauce, which is kind of like a sweeter Worcestershire sauce. I would never think to combine those too condiments together, but it’s really magical.

We always avoided making our own okonomiyaki because we thought it would be complicated, but after finally giving it a try, we realized it’s pretty easy to make. We consulted two different recipes, which were basically the same except for the number of eggs. One recipe called for only one egg while another used four. I preferred the version with four eggs because I thought it imparted more flavor, but Davneet thought it became too omelet-esque. We’ll have to experiment and find the ideal number of eggs.

We also have to try fillings other than pork, such as shrimp, squid, and octopus. Davneet's excited about the octopus, since that was his favorite when I took him to Otafuku.

Okonomiyaki Recipe
Makes 4 pancakes

1 cup flour
1-4 eggs depending on your preference
¼ tsp of dashi powder in ¾ cup of hot water
¼ cabbage, finely chopped
2 tbsp scallion, finely chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
6 slices of thinly sliced fatty pork, chopped
Okonomi Sauce
Kewpie Mayo
bonito flakes

Combine flour, egg(s), and dashi in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in cabbage and scallions. Heat sesame oil in nonstick pan over medium heat. Add a quarter of the pork and cook for a few seconds. (It’s thinly sliced so it cooks very quickly.) Pour a quarter of the batter over the pork to form a 6” pancake. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Then flip it, and let it cook for another five minutes. Remove from pan. Cover pancake with Okonomi Sauce in a zig-zagging pattern. Rotate the pancake 90-degrees, and repeat the zig-zag with Kewpie mayo. Finally, top with bonito flakes. Repeat entire process 3 times. Eat and enjoy!

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