Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/52)


For once it was not raining this morning, meaning that the Missus was in a fairly good mood and accepted my requests for today’s bento!


“Today’s bento might be a bit small. Is that ok?”
“No problem!”. Actually it looked as there was plenty.


“How many musubi/rice balls do you want?”
“Three will be enough!” (I know how big they come…)
“I include dry nori/seaweed in a separate pack for you to wrap them in!”
“Three different kinds: one with sweet seaweed, one with minced red cucumber pickles and one with salmon furikake/seasoning powder!”
“Very fine!”


“As you requested, I put edamame tamagoyaki! Is that enough?”
“Sure, as I have already eaten two pieces!”


“As for the garnish, gyuniku saikoro/beef dices, beans salad, mini-tomatoes and celery!”
“For dessert, nectarine!”
“Thank you so much, dear!”

I wonder how long this fine weather will hold,…

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Okonomiyaki: Osaka/Kansai Style


As promised to Tom and other friends, here is a basic recipe for the (modern) Osaka/Kanasai-style Okonomiyaki (Osaka is the name of the city, Kansai means Western Japan). This particular recipe includes soba that you may discard and replace with more vegetables:

(All ingredients might not be available in your country. Improvise!)

-Batter (enough for at least two large okonomiyaki):
Mineral water: a small amount
Salad oil: a little
Soy sauce (“thin taste”): 50 ml
Mirin/sweet sake: 50 ml
Japanese Cooking sake (or sake): 50 ml
Salt: a pinch
Pepper: 1 tablespoon
Dashi powder/Stock powder: 10 g
Flour: 1 kg

-Filling (quantity according to preferences. Experiment!):
Shredded cabbage
Dry fish stock powder
Grated taro root
Egg: 1
Chopped leeks
Soba noodles
Tenkasu/tenpura crumbs
Bacon slices

Okonomiyaki sauce can be bought at specialized stores, bu I make my own with worcester sauce, bulldog sauce, ketchup, hot mustard and pepper.


-Dry seaweed powder



-Mix all batter ingredients to gether in a large bowl.


In a separate large bowl, drop egg, dry fish stock powder and tenkasu/tenpura crumbs.


Add Grated taro root.


Add chopped leeks.


Add batter.


Mix well.


Add shredded cabbage.


Mix well.


Oil large hot plate (or large frypan).


Place 3 large pork/bacon rashers parrallel to each other.


Pour okonomiyaki batter on top.


Shape the okonomiyaki into a circle.


Put the soba onto the hot plate.


Add sauce and ketchup to soba and fry.


Flip the okonomiyaki over.


Brush with some sauce.


Place soba on top.


Pour some batter onto the noodles.


Flip the whole over with pancake on top.


Flip over again after a while.


Add sauce all over the noodles.


Add mayonnaise as in picture.


Sprinkle with dry seaweed powder. The okonomiyaki in front is a double decker, the one at at the back a single decker!


Et voila!


Cut and serve as shown on the picture.

I will look around and see if I can find more variations!

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Okonomiyaki: Hiroshima Style


As I mentioned to Tom and other friends, there are two basic styles for Okonomiyaki: Hiroshima-style and Osaka-style.

Here is a basic recipe for the Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki:
(Note that I have written this recipe step by step. Copy it for better reference as I skipped the usual Ingredients introduction)


First make a batter.
In Hiroshima, they mix flour with grated taro tuber mixed with bonito or seaweed stock. If you cannot find the latter, just mix an equal amount of flour and lukewarm water and add a little salt.


Heat a hot plate well. Pour some oil (in Hiroshima they use leek-scented oil). Make a pancake as shown on picTure.


Add shredded cabbage and beansprouts/moyashi. You can use any herb/leaf vegetable instead of beansprouts but cabbage is a must. Quantity is up to you. The more vegetables you add, the more skill you need for flipping over later.
Sprinkle with some ground black pepper.


In Hiroshima, adding “tororokonbu/type of dried seaweed is popular. If you can’t find it just skip!


Add pork/bacon rahers. Keep in mind that their length should be less than the the diameter of the pancake.


With a large metal spatula (or two small ones as in Japan), flip over the whole onto the hot plate. No hesitation here! Close your eyes if necessary (LOL) but do it as fast and smoothly as possible!


Tuck anything that comes out back under the pancake.


On another part of the hot plate drop some noodles. Keep in mind that some noodles have to be lightly boiled beforehand. Preferably use ready-bolied noodles. You can use yakisoba-style noodles. This is one step where you may use an ingredient of your choice according to avaibility!


Fry the noodles for a while. Form a disc with them about the same size as the pancake.


Place the pancake, cabbage, moyashi and bacon on top of the noodles. This is not as difficult as it sounds as the bacon will give a solid base to slide the spatula under. If the Japanese can do it, you can do it! (LOL)


Havimg tucked everything under the pancake again, press on top for a while (press hard) with the spatula to help cook all ingredients.


Besides the okonomiyaki, break an egg, spread it into a circle and fry according to taste (break the yolk!). Don’t overcook the egg!


Slide the okonomiyaki on top of the egg. The noodles should have a solid crispy surface by now, making the operation easy.


Immediately after, flip the whole over so as to have the pancake at the bottom and the egg on top.


Turn the heat down to lo or slide the okonomiyaki onto a cooler part of the plate.
Place plenty of finely chopped leeks on top of it all.


Prepare the okonomiyaki sauce.
You might obtain it ready-made at specialized stores.
As for myself, I prefer to concoct it myself: Worcester sauce + bulldog sauce + hot mustard + ketchup and pepper.
Make it beforehand as you might need to experiment!


Pour sauce on top. add mayonnaise, dry seaweed powder, tempura crumbs, whatever you fancy!
Enjoy with plenty of beer!

Osaka-style okonomiyaki coming soon!

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Okonomiyaki: The styles


Okononomiyaki, Kansai/ Osaka Style

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”. Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region.

Kansai/Osaka area
Kansai (Osaka)-style okonomiyaki is the predominant style of the dish, found throughout most of Japan. The batter is made of flour, grated yam, water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, meat (generally pork or bacon), octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, kimchi, mochi or cheese.

In Osaka (the largest city in the Kansai region), where this dish is said to have originated, okonomiyaki is prepared much like a pancake. The batter and other ingredients are fried on both sides on either a hot plate (teppan) or a pan using metal spatulas that are later used to slice the dish when it has finished cooking. Cooked okonomiyaki is topped with ingredients that include okonomiyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce but thicker and sweeter), aonori (seaweed flakes), katsuobushi (fish flakes), Japanese mayonnaise and pickled ginger (beni shoga).


Okonomiyaki/Hiroshima style

Hiroshima area
In Hiroshima, the ingredients are layered rather than mixed together. The layers are typically batter, cabbage, pork, and optional items such as squid, octopus, and cheese. Noodles (yakisoba, udon) are also used as a topping with fried egg and a generous amount of okonomiyaki sauce. The amount of cabbage used is usually 3 to 4 times the amount used in the more common Osaka style. It starts out piled very high and is pushed down as the cabbage cooks. The order of the layers may vary slightly depending on the chef’s style and preference, and ingredients will vary depending on the preference of the customer. People from Hiroshima claim that this is the correct way to make okonomiyaki. This style is also called Hiroshima-yaki or Hiroshima-okonomi.

Other areas
In Tokyo, Tsukishima town is popular for both Okonomiyaki and Monjayaki. Monjayaki is a liquid, runny variant of okonomiyaki. The main street of this town is called Monja Street.

In Hamamatsu City (Shizuoka Prefecture), takuan (pickled daikon) is mixed in okonomiyaki.

In Okinawa, okonomiyaki is called hirayachi (ヒラヤーチー) and is thinner than in other areas. People cook it at home, so there are no hirayachi restaurants in Okinawa, although okonomiyaki restaurants can be found in a few places.

Don’t worry, Friedzen, I’m coming up with a recipe soon!

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Sashimi Plate at Tomii (’09/07/31)


Visited Tomii last night for the first time in three weeks. It was about time I sampled one of their sashimi plates!

No fussing needed, will just explain:

Top: Amaebi/sweet shrimps

Center: Hirame/Sole. Kanpachi/Amberjack, Toro/Tuna fatty part

Bottom: Akami/Tuna lean part, Hirame engawa/Sole “verandah” (actually this is the border flesh that is usually thrown away abroad!), Aka Ika/Red squid, Sanma/Mackerle pik-Saury

Notice the shiso/perilla flowers!

What did I drink with that?
Hakuin Masamune Yamahai by Takashima Shuzo in Numazu City, a sake getting national recognition these days!

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