Tired of the same old tired orange chicken and California rolls? Want to venture beyond the standard suburbian-stale take-out? Here comes Chop PHX, with the Valley's rarer Asian offerings.
The Basics: Okonomiyaki is one of the staple dishes of casual dining, often serving as an accompaniment to a long line of stiff, after-work drinks. Extremely popular in the Tokyo, Hiroshima and Osaka regions of Japan, the dish is essentially a savory Japanese pancake.
The base batter is usually made with egg, flour and mountain potato or yam. Cabbage, seafood and meat (often pork) is then added to the mix, with everything being grilled into its iconic pancake form. Finally, the dish is topped off with tangy Japanese mayo and okonomiyaki sauce (think a thicker, sweeter Worcestershire sauce), along with additional choice ingredients, including aonori (seaweed) and shaved bonito, though it's important to remember the batter and toppings vary upon region
Okonomiyaki is an easy to make, yet tasty and filling meal, a prime example of "Osaka soul food."
Hit the jump to see okonomiyaki done by Nobuo
Nobuo's Okonomiyaki: Chef Fukuda's okonomiyaki is done Tokyo-style, meaning the sauce is less sweet, more savory, and mountain potato is added to the batter for give a starchier taste and chewier texture. It is browned and crunchy on the outside, yet possesses a melt-in-your-mouth center with a juicy crunch from the cabbage.
The pancake is packed with tasty pork belly, as well as octopus, squid, shrimp, clam, and dried shrimp. The pleasant fishy flavor is further brought out by the addition of aonori and shaved bonito, so fresh and sliced so thin that it was still moving from the hot air in the room.
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Additionally, the Japanese mayo and okonomiyaki sauce adds a refreshing tang to this hearty, gourmet take on the Japanese bar food classic.
The Process: First the batter is made from a mixture water, flour, egg and mountain potato. Then cabbage and the dishes various proteins are added to the mix, and everything is put into a frying pan with light oil until cooked and sides are sufficiently browned. Afterwards, the pancake is topped with Japanese mayo and okonomiyaki sauce, then aonori, pickled ginger and extremely thinly sliced bonito and served hot.
Ying and Yuck: Good okonomiyaki is thick and starchy. If is watery, it's undercooked. Aside from that, the key lies in using the freshest ingredients possible and serving the dish while still hot.