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Ever since visiting the Okonomi-mura (Okonomiyaki Village) in Hiroshima with my boys and sitting at one of the 26 stalls, all serving basically the same dish, I knew I wanted to cook it. (It was so good we went back the next night as well.) I like that one city cooks a dish differently to the rest of the country - and much better. The separate layers are much better than just one pancake full of all the ingredients (often called Osaka style, I believe). I've experimented with few different recipes and find it quite difficult to keep flipping the ingredients several times (as ingredients fly everywhere) so I've come up with this one which minimises the number of flips, but still achieves the same result. I cook it on the flat grill of the barbecue and also put a baking tray on the open grill side of the barbecue to act as a second flat grill so I can cook two okonomiyaki at once.
- 1 1⁄2 cups plain flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups lukewarm water (can substitute all or part of this with dashi or seaweed stock for more flavour)
- 1⁄2 head cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 250 g bean sprouts
- 8 slices shortcut bacon, rashers
- 4 (200 g) packets noodles (yakisoba or hokkien)
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- Cook the noodles and put aside (usually just have to drop them in boiling water for one minute).
- Mix flour and water/stock in a bowl 'til smooth.
- For one okonomiyaki pancake, heat the hotplate well and spread a ladle of the batter into a thin circle, brown on one side (only takes a minute or two) turn, and move it to side.
- Put two rashers of bacon side by side, cook a few minutes and then turn over. (Have them running across the hotplate rather than up and down as it makes it easier for lifting later).
- Put a handful of shredded cabbage on top of bacon rashers, followed by a handful of bean sprouts.
- Put pancake on top of sprouts/cabbage and press down firmly with the spatula.
- Drop one serve of noodles onto a different part of the hotplate, shape into a circle (about the same size as the pancake) and flatten a little with spatula. Cook for a few minutes.
- Slide a spatula (or two) under the bacon /cabbage /sprout pancake and carefully lift on top of the noodles. (Pretty easy as the two slices of bacon form a solid base.) Tuck any stray bits and pieces back under.
- Break one egg in a cup, add a little water, mix with a fork and then pour onto the hotplate and fry it. Try to keep it in a circle.
- Slide a spatula (or two) under the noodles and carefully lift the whole lot on top of the egg. (Pretty easy as the noodles should have crisped a little to form a solid base.) Again, tuck any stray bits and pieces back under. (So far so good, and no flipping required yet!).
- Time to put it on a plate, egg side up. Either flip it over with a spatula or two or do it my sneaky way - slide spatula(s) under the egg and lift the whole lot onto a plate, without flipping. Put a second plate upside down over the whole lot, hold them together tightly and then just turn the two plates over quickly so that the okonomiyaki is sitting egg side up on the second plate. Easy.
- Combine the barbecue sauce, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce together and spread thinly over the egg, or adopt the Osaka style of squeezing the mayonnaise and barbecue sauce out of squeeze bottles in a criss-cross pattern across the egg. Garnish with some chopped spring onions if you like.