When someone asks what your favorite food is, I think there are three factors that should be considered:
1) high frequency and intensity of craving for said dish
2) sentimental/memory attachments
3) strong desire to make everyone you care about eat it
So given these self-made qualifications, my favorite food is okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki roughly translates to “cook/grill it the way you like,” and it’s pretty much a Japanese savory pancake whose basic ingredients are cabbage, flour, water, and egg, topped with various garnishes: red pickled ginger (“benishoga”), seaweed flakes (“aonori”), shaved bonito (“katsuobushi”), mayo, and okonomiyaki sauce (pretty much sweet soy sauce). These garnishes are pretty standard across Japan, but the ingredients you put inside it AND the way you cook it varies by the region. You can make it vegetarian but it’s standard to put pork, shrimp, scallops, clam, etc. in it.
You can of course search for your own recipe, but here’s my rough one below which I typed up following a potluck. I eyeball most of the ingredients and steps but I tried to describe it as best as I could.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- Cabbage, chopped into about 1 inch pieces (3 cups or about 5 leaves depending on the size of the cabbage)
- Green onions, chopped small (1/2 cup or about 4 stalks)
- Flour (1 cup)
- Baking powder (1/2 teaspoon)
- Eggs (2)
- Water, with veggie/chicken stalk stirred in (3/4 cup)
- Protein (pick 1~3)
* Grated mozzarella (1/2 cup)
* Meat: thinly sliced pork, chicken, or some other animal
* Seafood: shrimp, squid, scallops (1 in pieces)
- Moyashi sprouts
- Corn (1/2 cup)
- Kimchi (1/4 cup)
- Grated mountain potato (watery slime. so adjust water input accordingly)
…the possibilities are endlesssssss
- Aonori (seeweed flakes)
- Mayo (the one I like is kewpie mayo)
- Okonomiyaki sauce (If you don’t have this, you might be able to substitute with mixing ketchup and soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce or even A1 sauce and ketchup. Never tried either of these but it could totally work.)
- Beni shoga (red ginger)
- Katsuobushi (shaved bonito flakes)
1) Combine chopped cabbage, chopped green onions, flour, eggs, water, and your proteins and mix.
2) Heat pan to medium. Once heated, oil pan with canola, vegetable, or some other gentle-flavored oil.
3) Scoop batter into the pan, each should be about the same size as a regular pancake.
Some people like to make bigger ones but they’re harder to flip.
4) Cook for about 5~7 min or until the underside starts to brown. While waiting, sprinkle aonori on one side.
5) Flip. Wait another 5 min or so, or until it browns on that side.
6) Serve with mayo (stripe it for cool design), okonomiyaki sauce, beni shoga, and katsuobushi on top.
* If you have leftovers, they can be frozen and are perfect when heated up in a toaster oven.