My friend and I have been missing Japan lately…the friendly people, beautiful surroundings and the food! To squelch our saudade (Portuguese word meaning a feeling of longing or nostalgia) of Japan, we decided an evening of cooking Japanese food and catching up was in order! Sushi, o-nigiri, gyoza, curry, ramen, okonomiyaki, takoyaki – what to choose?!
We have eaten such good food in Japan, we knew we would not be able to recreate the same level ourselves, so we chose some simple ‘comfort food’ recipes. After I returned from Japan I purchased a great cookbook filled with Japanese ‘soul cooking’ recipes, and found some good recipes online.
Onigiri: while in Japan we ate onigiri pretty much every day! We tried every flavour from the convenience stores. For those who don’t know what onigiri is, it’s a rice ball or triangle with filling – a rice sandwich! We improvised our recipe, as we had been a little lazy during shopping (oeps!). We used:
- Sushi rice prepared according to the instructions
- Rice flavouring (bought in Japan, but you can buy it at an asian supermarket)
- Spicy chicken: we chopped chicken thighs very small, added garlic and paprika powder and lots of sriracha hot sauce and put it in the oven for 15 min.
I’ve found these super plastic forms that help you get the triangular shape and make it easy to pop out the onigiri. Using this, it’s so simple to make! Wrap a piece of nori (seaweed) around it, and you’re done!
With two girlfriends we prepared some sushi (salmon, avocado and cucumbers) and gyoza (store bought). We had a chilled sake and some champagne (#fancydancy) and sat on the floor around my coffee table. It was a perfect night of fun conversations, good food and many laughs <3!
Okonomiyaki: We had initially planned to have okonomiyaki (japanese pancakes) as well, but had prepared too much food! After our delicious matcha cakes from Round & Round (more on this cafe soon!) there was no more space for pancakes. However, they were perfect for lunch the next day!
I used the base recipe from this Simon & Martina episode and adapted the added veggies a little:
- Okonomiyaki flour (little less than 1 cup)
- 2 eggs
- 180ml water
- white cabbage (about half)
- green asparagus (I love the bite they give)
- grated cheese
- shredded carrots
- Spring onion rings
- bacon slices (but you can also add extra veggies, shrimp, etc)
- Finishing it up: tonkatsu sauce, kewpie mayo and nori strips (we left off the bonito flakes as they weren’t available in stores)
We cooked it as in the video link, covered it with some tonkatsu sauce and kewpie mayonaise – super quick and easy! There are endless variations and many different types of okonomiyaki – if you like Japanese food why not give it a try yourself?