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Okonomiyaki- homemade or from a mix? [moved from Boston board]

Is there any benefit to starting from a mix? We've always just made our own batter, because the ingredients are so dead simple. Other than the Okonomi sauce, the seaweed shreds and the Kewpie, there's nothing in there that anyone wouldn't already have in their kitchen.

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  1. I guess the advantage is that the mix already has the powdered yamaimo in it, so you don't have to peel and grate it. (I find that kind of messy, and don't always have one on hand!!) Other than that, yeah, I think it's just basically flour and salt.

    When I lived in LA, sometimes if we were feeling super lazy we'd buy little prepackaged cups that came with the grated yamaimo, the slivered pickles, and probably some sort of salts and MSGs in it, so you could just add egg, cabbage, and your fillings-- but I've never seen those in Boston! I think they might have been a local innovation of our little market... I was also partial for a while to okonomiyaki mixes marketed for kids (Doraemon or Pokemon themed) Sadly, the contents aren't actually any different, though-- you're just supposed to put the Kewpie on in the shape of Pikachu.

    1. If you start with flour, adding bonito broth instead of water helps, plus, the mixes already have those little tempura crumbs and yamaimo root,as another adam said. I add dried shrimp to mine, too...

      11 Replies
      1. re: galleygirl

        Hey, dried shrimp sound like a great idea! Add some bean sprouts and you're moving towards a very sturdy version of filipino okoy. :) We usually go traditional with octopus, oysters, etc., or else we go with 'modern' combinations popular in LA (kimchi + natto, corn + bacon, shiso + umeboshi, etc.)

        Where do you find mix with the crumbs (tenkasu) already in it? The ones we get (e.g., at Kotobukiya) are just flour, salt and powdered yamaimo-- hence the need to discover that the Cherry market on Newbury carries them. Though now that I think about it, the tenkasu actually goes stale quite quickly and should be refrigerated, so maybe I prefer to get them separately anyway-- in fact, it was hiding out in the freezer case when I went to look for it at Cherry market.

        1. re: another_adam

          I got my recipe here;
          http://video.google.com/videosearch?q...
          I could watch that video over and over again, it's so funnY!
          The mix I got with tenkasu already in it came from Reliable Market. There's not enough for my taste. I actually bought the batter mix at the same time I bought all the ingredients, to try it out. Turned out, we were ahving people over, and I used the "mix" as tho it were flour, and pumped it up with my usual ingredients.
          The tenkasu was also from reliable. I buy it off the shelf, and keep it in the fridge. It doesn't seem to be a problem, refrigeration-wise, because, like Panko, those wild and crazy Japanese have found a way to create the crumbs without making the tempura!

          Another FYI; my recipe only calls for a little yamaimo, so I rewrap it, with a paper towel on the cut end, and it keeps for several months...

          1. re: galleygirl

            Haha that's very dramatic indeed :)
            There's a good guide to preparing alternative versions here, too: (But we usually stick with Osaka/Kansai version...)
            http://www.otafukufoods.com/recipes/o...

            And yeah, the potato "heals" itself, it's pretty cool-- but they don't last long in our house, since I love tororo, and especially since I learned that small raw sticks of it go extremely well with finely cut kimchi for a side dish! (You might want to soak it in water with a splash vinegar first, if you react to it raw). And this all reminds me of yet another reason to look forward to local Japanese goods--a place to grab frozen udon on the way home, for quick dinners of yamakake udon! yay.

            1. re: galleygirl

              Oops, I see that my reply to this got lost/orphaned in the shuffle, since it was partly about okonomiyaki, but mostly about Boston :)
              There's a guide to some variants here. We usually stick with Osaka style when we make it at home; the others are more complicated, and actually, I prefer the plain pancake anyway:
              http://www.otafukufoods.com/recipes/o...

              I find that when I use the mix with powdered potato, it is often a bit too dense-- but maybe I just have the ratios a little off? I'm never all that exact with them.

              The potato does "heal" itself, it's pretty neat :) (though we usually just use the rest for tororo, or julienned with chopped kimchi as a side, so it doesn't last long). For the tenkasu, in idle moments I've sometimes pondered the idea of trying out Rice Krispies for them, since small slices of yakimochi are good in it, and I've even seen rice embedded in one side to make a crispy "crust" (koge). I've never managed to act on this thought, though...

              1. re: another_adam

                Not a bad idea...This time of year, I put corn on my second side...

                1. re: galleygirl

                  galleygirl-- do you every make Hiroshima style?

                  1. re: globalgourmand

                    I haven't; can't afford the calories!

                    1. re: galleygirl

                      Quoi?? I've never heard of this before! What is this "calorie" you speak of?

                      You must put it out of your mind and make some!

                      1. re: globalgourmand

                        Got a recipe to follow? I never had them when I was in japan, so I never bothered trying...It's just a layer of soba before you throw everything else on, right?

                        1. re: galleygirl

                          You got it-- yakisoba. Hiroshima okonomiyaki was the best I'd had and of course I'm eager for any chance to have them again. But last time I made okonomiyaki it sucked! I was so desperate one night, I subbed powdered katakuri-ko for fresh yamaimo and used cheap American low-main noodles instead of soba. I didn't make a good okonomiyaki sauce and all I had was Vegenaise mayo. Good god! It was fine but not even close to the real thing! Ohhh...!

                          Oh god... I found a link!! "...nom, nom, nom..."

                          http://www.hiroshimaokonomiyaki.com/

                          1. re: globalgourmand

                            Oishii!