Monday, May 3, 2010

Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki

Note: My friend Craig shared this delectable Japanese recipe with me and I have confirmed its deliriousness. Craig has his own recipe blog here.


  • okonomiyaki sauce
  • yakisoba sauce
  • japanese noodles
  • dashi soup stock
  • thin strips of meat: chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or whatever
  • green onion sliced thin
  • thin strips of carrot
  • fresh mushrooms sliced thin
  • eggs

1) Cook japanese noodles according to package. Then stir fry with some yakisoba sauce.

2) Mix together
2 c flour
1 1/2 C water or water with dashi soup stock
1 egg
1/3-1/2 head of shreeded cabbage
3) pour some batter on a griddle, let it cook for a little, then add toppings (meat and vetetables) and flip over.

4) Meanwhile, cook an egg on the griddle, break yoke and swish it around so that the egg is about the same size as the pancake.

To serve:

Layer on the plate in the following order
  1. some stir-fried Japanese noodles
  2. fried egg
  3. okonomiyaki pancake
Drizzle okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise on top

  • I cheated and bought a package of thinly slice cabbage (intended for use in cole slaw).
  • I used pork when I made it.
  • I used an electric griddle to cook everything.


Note: My friend Craig shared this delectable Japanese recipe with me and I have confirmed its deliriousness.  Craig has his own recipe blog here.

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 to 2 ¼ cup shredded white or Napa cabbage
  • 4-5 scallions, finely diced
  • 1½ T grated, minced fresh ginger root
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 T tamari dark soy sauce
  • 1 to 1 ½ t sesame oil
  • 1 ½ T oyster sauce
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • slosh or two of mirin
  • 50 gyoza wrappers, or as needed (also wonton wrappers, basically anything that is round and small)

1) Chop cabbage fine, sprinkle with coarse salt, let sit for 20 minutes then squeeze out as much water as you can with a cheese cloth or clean tea towel

2) Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl, adding meat last.

3) Place 1 1/2 teaspoons in the center of each gyoza wrapper and use your finger to put water around the edge.

4) Fold the sides up to form a semicircle, and then pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the rest of the gyoza wrappers until the filling is gone. (Or, cheat like I did and use a wonton press)

5) To cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add some of the Gyoza, don’t crowd the pat too much, and cook for 2 minutes, or until medium golden brown on the bottom.

6) Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover the dumplings and cook until the water is absorbed (5 to 7 minutes). Repeat with the remainder of the gyoza dumplings.

Prepared Tamari Soy Sauce

½ C Tamari dark soy sauce
½ C Katsuobushi (dried bonito tuna flakes)
¼ C dried seaweed (nori)
3 T mirin

Put all of the ingredients in a small sauce pan, bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat, remove from heat and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the bonito flakes and seaweed with a very small sieve or spider, being sure to squeeze as much liquid out as possible, and then discard.

Gyoza Dipping Sauce

1 C prepared Tamari sauce (see recipe above)
1 C rice vinegar
1 t sesame oil (or to taste. You may also use rayu - spicy sesame oil)

To be added at table and/or to taste. When preserving left over sauce in the fridge, do not add the following ingredients. They do not keep long. Add them fresh to the sauce before serving, and in this way, the sauce will keep in the fridge longer.

1 teaspoon minced/grated ginger root
1 scallion, minced


1-2 T fresh grated daikon radish
¼ teaspoon roasted, crushed sesame seeds
dash of lemon juice

  • I cheated and bought a package of thinly slice cabbage (intended for use in cole slaw).
  • I used shrimp when I made it.
  • It made more Gyoza than would fit in my frying pan. So, I got my bamboo steamer out and steamed the rest on top of cabbage leaves.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sweet & Sour -whatever-

Sweet and sour is a very versatile dish.  You can use a variety of meats, such as chicken, shrimp, or pork (not sure beef would be good - but, to be honest, I've never tried it).  It's also a good way to use of vegetables as just about anything can go into a sweet & sour dinner.

 Living on a gulf coast state, we regularly get shrimp on sale in our local grocery stores.  This week, our local Tom Thumb had shrimp for $2.99/lb (in 2 lb bags).  It was the small (51-60/lb) shrimp - but that's perfect for a sweet & sour.

I found a good sweet & sour recipe in a Thai cookbook recently - which I, of course, have modified to my own tastes.  The trick to a good sweet & sour is to have a variety of colors in the vegetables.  I like to include the following colors:  red, green, yellow, orange, white

  • Rice
  • 1 - 1½ lbs of meat (chicken, pork, or shrimp)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • oil
  • 1 cup cashews (optional)
  • Variety of vegetables cut into bite sized pieces, such as
    • pineapple chunks, 1 can *
    • onion *
    • bell pepper *
    • carrot *
    • water chestnuts, 1 can
    • bamboo shoots, 1 can
    • snow peas
    • sugar peas
    • cucumber
    • celery
    • mushrooms
    • tomato
* a 'must have' vegetable - in my own most humble of opinions
Sweet & Sour sauce ingredients
  • 1 cup stock (see note 1)
  • 6 Tbl vinegar (nothing fancy, cider vinegar is just fine)
  • 6 Tbl sugar (I prefer brown, but white will suffice)
  • 4 Tbl ketchup (or catsup, whichever name you prefer)
  • Tbl juice from pineapple chunks (if using shrimp, can substitute with 2 Tbl Thai fish sauce, if desired)
  • Tbl oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbl corn starch
  • Tbl chili sauce (see note 6)
  • 1 Tbl grated ginger
  1. Start cooking rice.  While rice is cooking, cut up vegetables
  2. If using shrimp, peel and devein it and save the shells (see note 1). If using chicken or pork then cut into bite sized cubes.
  3. Mince garlic and mix with meat and let sit until ready to cook (can even be done a few hours ahead of time)
  4. Add a couple Tbl oil to wok and saute the vegetables.  Different vegetables require different amounts of cooking time; so, I suggest adding them in the following order, sauteing each for a minute or so until adding the next (if not using a particular vegetable then just skip it).  That way, the first vegetables added get cooked longer
    • carrot
    • celery + bell pepper + onion
    • mushroom + cucumber
    • tomato + snow peas + sugar peas
    • water chestnuts + bamboo shoots + pineapple chunks (just enough to heat through)
  5. Remove vegetables to a serving bowl
  6. Add a bit more oil to wok and saute meat until cooked through
  7. Add sweet & sour sauce and cook until thickened
  8. Add vegetables back to wok and stir until all is coated
  9. Remove to serving bowl
  10. Service with rice
  11. Go vegetate on the couch after having eaten too much because it tasted so good
  1. If using chicken or pork then use 1 cup chicken stock. If using shrimp, put shrimp shells in a small sauce pan along with about 1½ - 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Then let simmer for a bit to reduce (and concentrate the flavor).  Turn off and let cool with shells in water (which will maximize the amount of flavor in the water).   Strain and add 1 cup of the shrimp stock to the sweet & sour sauce.
  2. Don't skimp on the vegetables - use a cup or two of each.  Makes it more healthy.
  3. I prefer canola oil, but any vegetable oil will suffice
  4. Personally, I don't like the taste of green bell peppers; so, I always use red, yellow, or orange.
  5. A trick I learned from Rachel Ray (Food Network) is to buy fresh ginger, peel it and then freeze it in a small ziplock baggie.  You can then just take it out of the freezer and just grate however much you need.  Being frozen, it grates up nice and fine.
  6. For the chili sauce, I use Sriracha sauce - which my children refer to as "rooster sauce" because of the picture of a chicken on the bottle.