A Taste of JapanA Taste of Japan

A TASTE OF JAPAN

Tokyo, Japan

Even if you missed out on tickets to the Tokyo Olympics, your tastebuds can still travel. And this week those bad boys are on a first-class flight to Japan to chow down on okonomiyaki...

Sounds complicated but it’s basically a Japanese savoury pancake. The best bit? You don’t need a lot of time or ingredients to make this.

The History

Think we can all agree that WWII was a shitter…

But it did give okonomiyaki its big break. During the war this Japanese street food became super popular because it was cheap to make and rice was in short supply.

The dish had been around for ages before the war. Some think it might have been invented as far back as the Edo period (1683-1868). Back then it was a basic crepe served as a desert at Buddhist ceremonies. It got pimped and made even sweeter during the Meiji period (1868-1912) and finally in the 30s became a savoury dish called okonomiyaki.

Some guys in a restaurant in Osaka say they were the first to start adding mayo in 1946, but they could be telling massive porkies. What we do know for sure is that this standout Japanese street food is a salty, fried egg batter and it’s more addictive than Tiger King.

The Recipe

Okonomiyaki is perfect lockdown food. The name means ‘what you like’ (okonomi) and ‘grilled or cooked’ (yaki). So feel free to riff on this recipe and chuck in whatever mutated veg you have lying about.

The basics are a flour and egg batter with shredded cabbage topped with sauces. We’re giving you a veggie recipe so it’s even cheaper to make.

There are different versions of this dish but the main ones are the Osaka and Hiroshima styles. The first mixes everything up together and then grills, the second grills the pancake first then layers toppings after.

Obvs we’re serving up the simple steps because ain’t nobody got time for layering.

You'll need:

• 3 eggs
• 50g plain flour
• 50ml milk
• 4 spring onions trimmed and sliced
• 1 pak choi sliced
• 200g savoy cabbage shredded
• 1 red chilli deseeded and chopped finely
• ½ tbsp soy sauce
• ½ tbsp oil
• 1 tbsp mayo
• ½ lime juiced (if you have)
• Wasabi (if you have)

Method

1) Whisk eggs, flour, and milk together until smooth. Add half the onions, pak choi, cabbage, chilli, and soy sauce to the party.

2) Heat oil in a frying pan, pour in the batter and cook covered for 8 minutes on medium heat. Flip it and reverse it (jokes, just flip) and get it cooking on the second side.

3) Mix the mayo and lime (if you have) in a small bowl. Shuffle your pancake onto a plate and drizzle over the lime mayo. Sprinkle over the leftover chilli and spring onion (or your own toppings) and serve with wasabi.

Our Restaurant Pick

The Harry Potter of okonomiyaki restaurants…

Hiroki lives under the stairs, so you’ll have to look for the little lantern and perfectly groomed flower pot to find this secret pancake spot.

These guys coat their creations in sticky soy sauce that’s more like dark caramel. Then they sprinkle it with layers of bonito flakes (dried tuna) and spring onions.

Those in the know go to this Tokyo hotspot because the pancakes are extra fluffy and you can bulk up your meal by adding crispy noodles. Wash yours down with a beer. Then repeat.

This one’s a keeper - hit the Lucky button then save this trip for a happier time 💚