Okonomiyaki has sometimes been called the ‘Japanese pizza’ but, though the appearance is similar (and occasionally cheese is used) the resemblance is superficial at best. Rather, this particular specialty is more closely similar to the Korean savory pancake known as ‘Pajeon’. Basically, the Okonomiyaki (which means ‘cooked as you like it’) consists of a pancake base made from cabbage, and sometimes other shredded vegetables, in a batter. This maybe cooked on both sides (or one only in some styles) and then toppings are added along with a sweetened Worcestershire type sauce and (commonly) mayonnaise. Seafood or meat can be included in the pancake and shaved Bonito flakes are a common topping.
I ate the one you see pictured above at Wasabi, in Ottawa, and, though it wasn’t the prettiest I have seen, it was very tasty indeed. The batter contained both cabbage and scallions and was well cooked through. It was a little dark in places but this did not ruin the flavor at all. The topping, in addition to more scallion, included shaved bonito and little strips of toasted nori. The bonito flakes were still fluttering when I received the dish, meaning it came straight from the griddle, and the nori added a nice nuttiness.
The one thing that made this particular variety different was that cheese was used in place of mayo… I was a bit leery of this but, in fact, it turned out to be very nice indeed. I have had Okonomiyaki a few times before this (some not very good) and I am looking forward to trying many more to explore the different structures and styles I’ve heard about.
Regular readers will know that I love trying new foods and my interest certainly includes some of the less revolting-sounding snack concoctions that appear from time to time. Today’s product is manufactured by the Calbee Corporation which is headquartered in Japan but has a North American division as well.
The Snapea Crisps are simply snap-pea pods that have been lightly salted and baked. The ingredients list on the package includes rice and I rather think that this might be manifested in the whitish coating on the individual pieces. The package and the company website hints at a certain healthiness to the product, specifically mentioning high fiber and vitamin benefits but, as usual, I will avoid commenting on this as I always view such claims with a jaundiced eye. I will say, however, that the ‘low salt’ claim didn’t really spark much enthusiasm in me as I tend to like peanuts, chips, etc., to be liberally salted and I found the salt a little lacking in this case.
Overall, I can’t say that the crisps tasted of anything in particular, and certainly didn’t suggest snap pea pods. The closest comparison I can make is with a certain brand of potato chip formed into French-fry shape that bear a close resemblance in flavor and texture. In all honestly, I probably would munch on these in that mindless way typical of snack foods if a bowl was set down in front of me alongside, say, beer, but, really, there was nothing to ‘wow’ me about these and I doubt I would buy them over the usual snack stand-bys …
After making a dish using Sea Cucumber, I had a little under half of one left and I thought it might make an interesting textural component in a dumpling filling. I decided to use ground beef as the main ingredient and that I would cook the dumplings as Guōtiē (鍋貼), more popularly known as ‘Pot Stickers’ … Continue reading “Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings”
The rather whimsical name of today’s feature comes from the fact that it is something like a cross between a Quesedilla and he lesser known mid-eastern/south-east Asian snack known as a Murtabak. I wasn’t actually planning this dish with a blog-post in mind (I was just hungry) but it began to get interesting as I worked on the idea and so I thought I would share…
Anyway, a proper Murtabak uses a raw flat-bread dough (of the Roti type) folded to enclose a thick filling of meat, eggs, or whatever you like, which is then griddle fried. This particular version, like a Quesadilla, uses a prepared Tortilla as the wrapper, but it incorporates cheese with a spicy beef mixture and is folded Murtabak style before being grilled… Continue reading “A ‘Murta-Dilla’ ?”
I often buy a commercially made pickle consisting of sections of gherkin, cocktail onions, and cauliflower florets with turmeric as a main flavor component. The cauliflower is my favorite part but I usually find that there are too few pieces in each jar and, with most brands, they are often just a tad too sweet. Accordingly, I made a batch of pickle containing nothing but cauliflower, just a little sugar, and a spice blend to suit my own taste… Continue reading “Cauliflower Pickle”
I accidentally came across this product while reaching for a jar of XO Sauce whilst shopping down south a while ago. The jar was on the shelf alongside several varieties of XO Sauce and it wasn’t until I picked it up and looked more closely that I saw I had chosen something rather different.
Salangids are, in the strictest use of the term, small fish belonging to the family Salangidae (sometimes called the ‘noodle-fish’ due to their shape and translucency) but I rather suspect that the term is used a bit like ‘anchovy’ and often applied to many sorts of similar fish. Suffice it to say though, the fish in his product, are very tiny, immature fish rather like the ‘Silverfish’ I highlighted in my post on ‘Silverfish Peanuts’. Anyway, biological quibbles aside, I was interested to see what this condiment might be like… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Chili Salangids”
For ages, I thought Souvlaki was just a Greek version of the Donair, except with grilled chunks of meat rather than the slices cut from those huge rotating cylinders of meat that always look rather like somebody stole a spare thigh from the local morgue. In fact, Souvlaki, in Greek cuisine are simply grilled skewers of meat and, while they can certainly be served Donair-fashion on pita bread with sauces and toppings, they may also be eaten out of hand as is, or come with fried potatoes, rice, or other sides. If asked, I probably would have guessed that lamb would be the most popular souvlaki meat in Greece but Wikipedia tells me it is actually pork and it is pork souvlaki I am making for today’s post… Continue reading “Recipe: Souvlaki”
I very much enjoy making my own dumplings but when I saw these commercially prepared frozen Potstickers in my local supermarket, I was curious to see what they might be like. This particular variety is produced by a company I have not heard of before called InnovAsian Cuisine and a visit to their website reveals that they do quite a number of similar Asian snacks and entrees. I don’t expect to be buying many of these on a regular basis, to be honest, but the Pork Potstickers definitely seemed worth a try… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Pork Potstickers – InnovAsian Brand™”
I have quite a number of Chinese cookery books printed in China that contain recipes for a small plate preparation consisting of peanuts fried with a type of tiny white fish. I actually have all the necessary ingredients to prepare this for you sometime but, just recently, I was fortunate to come across a commercially packaged snack that I just had to try… Continue reading “Notable Nosh: Silverfish Peanuts”
When I grill or fry Salmon or Arctic Char, I usually leave the skin on and cook it so it gets nice and crispy. A few times, I have even cooked the skin separately from the rest of the fish as it makes a lovely snack but, until I found this package at Kowloon Market in Ottawa I had no idea that a commercially packaged variety was available … Continue reading “Foodstuff: Crisp Fish Skin – Un Chi Brand™”