Okonomiyaki

30th August 2016

Okonomiyaki

My husband and I are headed to Japan this October so we’re currently in the midst of researching where to go and what to do – but most importantly what to eat!

One of our destinations is Osaka, Japan’s second largest city located in the Kansai region (also home to Kyoto). Known as the “nation’s kitchen” there is so much food to discover and taste! Koen and I were even more excited to visit once we learned of the saying “Kyotoites are financially ruined by overspending on clothing, Osakans are ruined by spending on food.” This is our kind of city.

Osaka is known for a lot of different dishes, but one of its most famous is okonomiyaki. It’s mostly described as a savory pancake and is so delicious! Of course I can only vouch for the okonomiyaki I’ve made at home, but it’s definitely worth trying if you want to venture further into Japanese cuisine! This recipe is a favorite of mine from Food 52.

 

Okonomiyaki

The sauces: okonomiyaki sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise, and sriracha (extra hot!)

 

Okonomyaki

Okonomiyaki, makes 12 pancakes (perfect for dinner for 2 (4 pancakes each), and lunch the next day (2 pancakes each))

Sauce

Traditionally it’s with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and a spicy sauce if you like it hot. I’m lucky to have a great Asian supermarket closeby, but if you can’t find the sauces, you can make your own!

  1. Whisk together the ingredients and your sauce is ready!

Okonomiyaki

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt. Gradually add the flour until incorporated. Fold in cabbage, scallions, and shrimp.
  2. Warm a couple glugs of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until glistening. Ladle the batter into the skillet as you would for regular pancakes, about the size of saucer. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Keep pancakes covered in a warm oven as you make the rest. Scatter sesame seeds on top of pancakes and serve with lots of sauce!

Beghrir, aka The Pancake with a Thousand Holes

25th October 2015

BeghrirI was in the Netherlands in May – in Rotterdam to be exact – and I tried beghrir for the first time at a North African restaurant. On the menu beghrir was listed as a “thousand holes pancake” served with honey and butter. My interest was peaked and in the end I order a big breakfast with a little of everything. The Moroccan beghrir was my favorite part!

So now back in Belgium I wanted to try and make them. The pancakes are very easy to make, although I did make a mistake when making my first beghrir. Normally to help cook my pancakes thoroughly, I cover my pan. But if you cover the pan when making the beghrir, you’ll have no bubbles!

Holes form from adding yeast to the batter. The yeast causes the batter to bubble, and once the pancakes are on the stove, the heat causes the bubbles to burst. Beghrir is cooked only on one side, making a very beautiful breakfast!

Rather than topping the beghrir with syrup, on the stove you melt roughly 1 part honey with 1 part butter to pour over the pancakes right before serving. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and added a little bit of powdered sugar on top!

BeghrirMoroccan Beghrir, makes 16 pancakes

  1. Mix the flour, semolina, salt, sugar and baking powder in a mixing bowl. In a blender, measure lukewarm water to just over the 3-cup line. Add the yeast and process on low speed to blend. Gradually add the dry ingredients.
  2. Increase the processing speed and blend for a full minute, or until very smooth and creamy. The batter should be rather thin, about the same consistency as crepe batter or cooking cream.
  3. Pour the batter into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 10 minutes or a bit longer, until the top of the batter is light and a bit foamy.
  4. Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Stir the batter, and use a ladle to pour batter into the hot skillet. Pour carefully and slowly into the center and the batter will spread evenly into a circle. (Do not swirl the pan; the batter should spread itself.) Make the beghrir as large as you like.
  5. Bubbles should appear on the surface of the beghrir as it cooks. Don’t flip the beghrir. It only gets cooked on one side.
  6. Cook for about two minutes, or until the beghrir doesn’t appear wet anywhere on the surface. It should feel spongy, but not sticky or gummy, when you touch it lightly with your finger.
  7. Transfer the beghrir to cool in a single layer on a clean kitchen towel. Once they are cool, they can be stacked without sticking.

Honey Butter Sauce

  1. In a small sauce pan heat the butter and honey together until mixed.
  2. Pour on top the beghrir and enjoy!

Peking Duck Inspired Pancakes with Scallions

9th October 2015

Peking Duck Inspired Pancakes with ScallionsOn Sundays I tend to make Asian dishes because the supermarket in Chinatown is the only one open. My husband and I are fond of duck and really enjoy Peking duck pancakes with scallions dipped in hoisin sauce. This recipe comes from the Smoky Wok. The duck is prepared in much easier fashion, because as the website says, “recreating an authentic Peking Duck at home is almost impossible – the ducks are not roasted in regular ovens, they are supposed to be roasted over open flame lit with a special kind of wood that is also infused with fruits and some dates.  For the duck to get that gorgeous crispy skin characteristic of a true Peking Duck, the ducks also have to be rotated and turned at precise times.” This recipe uses only the duck breast which is marinated in hoisin sauce and other spices. Mmm!

And if you want to serve this with guests, you can let everyone make their own pancakes and just create a spread with the pancakes, sliced duck, and scallions. Everyones loves a little DIY!

Peking Duck Inspired Pancakes with Scallions

Peking Duck Inspired Pancakes with ScallionsPeking Duck Inspired Pancakes with Scallions, serves 4 (makes about 20 pancakes)

The Pancakes

  1. Sift flour and cornstarch into a large bowl.  Whisk together eggs, milk, water and sugar together in a separate bowl.  Make a well in center of flour mixture earlier and add in egg mixture gradually and beat well until mixed.
  2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat, add about 2 tablespoons of the batter to form pancake.  Cook for about 1 minute on each side or until golden.  Remove from pan and place on serving dish.  Continue until all the batter is used up.

Pancake Filling

The Marinade

  1. Marinade the duck breast in the marinade above for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2 hours or more (covered in fridge).
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Roast duck breast after oven is pre-heated for at least 15 minutes for about 25-30 minutes or until cooked.  Allow to rest for about 15 minutes, slice thinly and place on serving platter.
  3. You can create the pancakes yourself by adding a slice of duck and a scallion, then tying it together with the stalk of another scallion. If having guests, let them serve themselves by making the little pancake rolls at the table. Make sure to have enough extra hoisin sauce for dipping!

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Basic Pancake Recipe

27th January 2015

Pancakes

Every Sunday my husband and I like to sleep in and start our day in the kitchen preparing a delicious brunch. One of my favorites is pancakes. The combinations and toppings are endless. Sometimes I will mix fruit into the batter, like blueberries and raspberries, or even blend it into the milk, a favorite when making banana pancakes (they come out so smooth and sweet).

Today I’m happy to share with you my favorite basic pancake recipe. I don’t use any sugar in the batter because I always top my pancakes with syrup – maple, apple, pear – and fresh fruit. That’s enough sweetness for me. Depending on your tastes, you can use different flours – spelt, buckwheat, whole wheat – or milks – almond, oat, buttermilk. It’s always fun to experiment and find new favorites!

Pancakes

Pancakes

Basic Pancake Recipe, makes 4 big pancakes

  1. In one bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt and in another bowl whisk the milk and egg together.
  2. Add the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  3. Heat up a frying pan and add the oil. Make sure your pan is hot enough before adding the batter!
  4. Pour the desired amount of pancake batter into the pan and then cover. After about 3-4 minutes*, check to see if the top of the pancake is still liquid. If it’s become stiff, flip it over and cover again. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. If you’re preparing a lot of pancakes, it’s a good idea to set your oven to the lowest possible temperature. Then once a pancake is ready you can place it in the oven until they’re all finished. That way everyone can enjoy hot pancakes!
  6. I like to top my pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup. Enjoy!

*The 3-4 minutes is an estimation – if you’re making thin pancakes, maybe check after 2 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn.

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