One of my friends, who had spent 10 months in Hiroshima, had the idea of cooking Okonomiyaki. It consists of a batter cooked like a crepe, but with soba noodles, cabbage and eggs plus whatever people feel like adding (cheese, bacon, etc.) with Japanese mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, green onions, and katsuobushi (the dried fish flakes) on top. My friend bought all of this stuff at this Japanese grocery store in his home town.
To begin, we started off by chopping up the cabbage, green onions and making the batter. Since my flat did not have a large enough bowl, we ended up making the batter in a cooking pot. It was quite difficult stirring the batter while adding in the flour without everything spilling. Chunks of flour would always get stuck on the side of the pot too. Once we finished the batter and cut up the veggies, we took out the teppanyaki grill.
At first, we didn’t oil up the surface before we started using the batter for the crepe layer, so it ended up sticking. We couldn’t separate it to flip it either. When we tried, we tore up the entire layer so bad that we didn’t try to proceed with that one. We poured on some more batter and tried again, and the second time around, it worked slightly better – at least not so bad as the one before.
We added the cabbage on a vacant part of the grill and let the cabbage and crepe cook for a while before flipping the crepe over the cabbage. We learned later that it was better to throw the cabbage directly onto the crepe and let both parts cook together. Afterward, we started frying the Soba noodles. We took the entire slab of noodles and spread it out as best we could on the grill.
Once the cabbage was sufficiently cooked, we moved the whole slab of cabbage and crepe and stacked it on top of the noodles and let that cook for a while. Next came frying the egg. We cracked the egg over the grill, popped the yolk, and swirled it around for a little bit to spread out the leaking yolk. In the end, the egg just looked like a badly scrambled egg. Then, we scooped up the stack of noodles, cabbage, and crepe and placed it on top of the egg. After letting the egg cook until it was done, we took the entire stack off the pan. We added okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, katsuobushi, and green onions. As we added the katsuobushi on to the okonomiyaki, we could see the individual flakes shrivelling up due to the heat.
Between the layer of egg and crepe was soba noodles and cabbage. We made others with different ingredients like cheese and bacon. It was probably super fattening, but it tasted so good. The sauce made it taste 10 times better. I don’t know how Japanese mayonnaise is different from regular mayonnaise, but it’s definitely better. We had enough ingredients to make 10 of them, so that each person could have two each. As we kept cooking them, we got better and better at lifting the stack and flipping it. The end product tasted so delicious and eating two of these filled me up real good. I’m totally going to try and find a restaurant that makes these in Vancouver or if I’m feeling up for it, I can make it myself!