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by Bob Kerstetter
A friend in Japan gave us a bag of okonomiyaki mix. Okonomiyaki reigns as a city-specific food throughout Japan. While you hear it described in many ways, okonomiyaki sits someplace between an omelet and a pancake, from a Western point of view. Every city makes okonomiyaki its own way. When many cities claim it as their own invention, they all speak the truth.
This is one way to make okonomiyaki from a mix.
The ingredients come in a bag—a present from a friend in Japan. Of course we cannot expect this, so we also have a recipe from scratch.
Reading Japanese is easy—when you have pictures to help.
The batter is flour, a thickening agent and good old Texas water.
Add sliced cabbage, green onions, seasonings and a couple of eggs. Mix very gently. Over mixing makes it tough.
Place okonomiyaki on the griddle. While there are no instructions about oiling the griddle first, doing this is a good idea as becomes evident later.
Cover while cooking. Japanese restaurants do not necessarily do this, but the griddle we use is electric and needs to be hotter for non-covered cooking. We crank it to 400°F, more or less 205°C. Directions call for 200°C on side one, 250°C on side two and 250°C back on side one. The 250° exceeds the max of our electric griddle by 50°C.
What is missing? Mayo! Bonito flakes are optional. Eat with chopsticks.
Oh, oil the griddle before cooking. No instructions on this, but you get the point. If you have a seasoned steel griddle, then oiling is not necessary.