Okonomiyaki and Mayuko’s little kitchen cooking class
The most delicious pancake, Japanese style
Mayuko’s little kitchen cooking class – Shibuya, Tokyo
Spending any amount of time in Japan and it inspires multiple stories. The longer you’re there, the more stories to tell. This being food blog week, I wanted to tell you about the cooking class I took in Tokyo where I learned to make simple, every day Japanese food, including Okonomiyaki. Referred to as a Japanese pancake, to me, it’s more like a delicious, stuffed, almost breakfast sandwich type, but not as heavy because the base is cabbage. Normally not a cabbage fan. or vegetables in general, to be honest, but when vegetables are prepared Asian style, I cannot get enough.
When I met Mayuko, the award winning cooking instructor, at the Sendagaya train station in the Shibuya Tokyo prefecture, I was early and had decided to get a coffee at a local shop and wait for her and the rest of the group. Showing up perfectly on time, she’s a lovely lady who appeared to be quite young, as most Japanese people do. She politely informed me that there would be 5 others joining us, but they had text her that they were running late. “They are from Brazil,” she said and in my mind, having given tours for years to Brazilians, I said “No shock there.” In my experience, clocks are secondary in Brazil, the good life always first. You can imagine my face as I watched these young women come running up, out of breath, all speaking English and Portuguese at the same time with the volume turned way up. Mayuko greeted them and it was a short walk to her apartment to begin our 5 hour class.
Mayuko’s little kitchen cooking class is far more than just a cooking class. The most gracious host in the world takes you into her home and instructs, while at the same time shares stories about her life, Japanese culture and language. It was a magical experience. Japanese cooking is really very simple and I hope you make this. Most ingredients can be found in the grocery store, including the aonori, seaweed flakes, which I found in the ethnic foods aisle at my local store. Bonito flakes, dried, fermented and smoked fish, are easy to order online, or if you live close to a Japanese food market, which we are blessed to have all over Los Angeles, are easily found there. Japanese mayonnaise, or Kew Pie, is delicious and different than the America’s version. I’ll add the recipe and if you have a food processor, it’s easy to make too.
Huge regrets that I don’t have a clear photo of Mayuko. I do, however have lots of video that the Brazilian girls took and sent to me through whatsapp, but, my editing skills are still lacking, so, not yet, hopefully soon. These pandemic weeks go by very quickly when you have a weekly blog with 2 segments due every wednesday. Not complaining, I feel blessed to have it and I love sharing all these incredible experiences I’ve had. I’ve altered Mayuko’s recipe slightly, just to add a little more spice. Pork belly, or Bacon is the standard but you can use any thin cut meat that you like, or even leave it out if you’re vegetarian. Enjoy!
Itadaki ma su! (let’s eat!)
For 3 pancakes
1 cup (100g) all purpose flour
1 tsp dashi stock powder (optional) https://www.amazon.com/Ajinomoto-Dashi-Soup-Stock-4-23/dp/B0002YB40O/ref=sr_1_1?crid=EG5Z6YW55AY8&dchild=1&keywords=dashi+powder&qid=1588229192&sprefix=dashi%2Caps%2C245&sr=8-1
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups (200g) cabbage, thinly julienned
8 slices of bacon or pork belly
1 Tbsp cooking oil (vegetable, canola)
1/4 cup okonomiyaki sauce https://www.amazon.com/Otafuku-Okonomi-Sauce-12-3-Ounce/dp/B07DW3M5CV/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1ZURKBRIXIE7&dchild=1&keywords=okonomi+sauce&qid=1588226704&sprefix=okonom%2Caps%2C242&sr=8-2
Japanese Mayonnaisse or Kew Pie (recipe below)
Bonito flakes https://www.amazon.com/Kaneso-Tokuyou-Hanakatsuo-Bonito-Flakes/dp/B0052BGLMS/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3F9E13P7U51TP&dchild=1&keywords=bonito+flakes&qid=1588226284&sprefix=bonito%2Caps%2C255&sr=8-2
Aonori flakes (seaweed)
dash hot sauce http://ogpeppersauce.com
- Mix hot water and dashi powder, let cool to room temp
- mix flour, baking powder, salt and dashi stock (using only water is fine) in a bowl
- add eggs, cover and let rest 15-30 minutes
- add cabbage and mix or fold thoroughly
- pour oil in pan over medium-low heat. add about 1 1/2 cups mix to pan. use spatula to form pancake
- place 3 strips of bacon, cut in half, over top of pancake
- cover, cook for 5 minutes
- flip over and cook 5 minutes
- Remove from pan. Brush top with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise and bonito flakes
- serve warm
Kew Pie Mayonnaise
250 ml (1 1/4 cup) canola or grape seed oil
75 ml (1/3 cup) warm Dashi stock
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon (or yuzu) juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard (preferably Japanese karashi, but I used dijon)
1 tbsp sugar
Put one Tbsp of sugar in a glass mixing bowl, with 2 Tbsp lemon juice and salt. add rice vinegar. Combine until sugar and salt dissolves
Add 1/2 tsp mustard, combine in food processor until well mixed
switch on the processor again add egg yolks, blend at full speed for 20 to 30 seconds
with the processor on low speed, gradually add the oil a little at a time, in a continuous stream, allowing it to be gradually incorporated into the mixture
now gradually add the dashi stock until the correct consistency is achieved. more stock = thinner
The Herb Garden update – week 4
4 weeks and the basils and dill are totally out of control. I prune and the next day it’s bigger! The parsley, thyme and mint are fighting for their lives with the ever growing jungle of herbs. Making pesto and dips, herb pizza is next.
What’s your favorite Japanese food?