sweetness & lightning has been a consistently adorable show. I finish every episode feeling happy, content, and DYING FOR MORE. I'm going to have to start reading the manga because I sort of don't think I can wait for the next season, if there is going to be one. The last dish they made, Okonomiyaki, is one of my favorite Japanese foods, so I thought it would be appropriate to recreate it here for you.
The last time I had okonomiyaki was on my birthday, when I was in Hiroshima this summer. It was so amazing- the real fun of this dish is watching it be cooked right in front of you, or even getting to cook it yourself! I've done it both ways while in Japan, and both have their merits. The benefit of making it at home is that you get to control the fillings and the cooking entirely yourself, so you can have exactly what you want! If you're lazy and hate cooking- I recommend trying to find a restaurant that will make this dish. It is #WORTH IT.
In sweetness & lightning, Tsumugi's okonomiyaki is squid and pork. I decided to go with shrimp and pork (read: BACON) because I am not a huge fan of squid and didn't have an easy way to get my hands on it. That's sort of the beauty about this dish though- you can put as much or as little in it as you want. As long as you get the base batter down, you can put any assortments of meats or veggies in, and can mix and match to please a crowd.
This manga is great because it provides recipes at the end of each chapter. However, because the anime isn't faithful to this recipe, and because I thought I could do one better, I very, VERY loosely followed the recipe for this dish. I wanted to improvise a little, and I also wasn't interested in grating Chinese mountain yam into my batter (Where would I get such a yam in my small California town?!? As it turns out, I was too lazy to find the answer.). Having made this before for One Piece, I also knew that I could simplify the recipe for the average cook, so the recipe below is a mix of what the manga provides, what I saw in the anime, and what I thought would be easiest for the average home chef.
Making the Okonomiyaki!
First step is to mix the batter. Mix water and flour together with a healthy pinch of salt. Set aside.
Chop cabbage into cubes. First, half cabbage, and set the other half aside. Cut into strips, and then cut again on the opposite side to create cubes of cabbage. Set aside.
Prepare the fillings. One kind of okonimyaki will be shrimp and bacon. The other kind will have cubes of cheese in the batter, with bacon fried on top. That means I needed to defrost and roughly chop the shrimp, and then cube my cheese.
Also, finely chop green onion while you're at it.
When you're ready to start cooking, mix roughly half of your batter with half of your cabbage. Crack in half of your eggs, season with salt and pepper, and pour in the filling of your choice. For this one, I started with the shrimp.
Turn your range onto medium heat, and oil the pan with olive oil.
Ladle in a big scoop of the mixture, about 1/3 of the total batter, and push into a flat, round circle. Let cook for 3 minutes. While waiting, layer bacon slices on top.
After 3-4 minutes, flip this sucker over. Get two spatulas and just go to town. I can guarantee you some of it is going to fall out- this is ok. Just gently push it back together, and you'll be fine. Cover with a lid and let cook 4 minutes.
Take the lid off, and flip back over, so bacon is up. Allow to cook for another 3 minutes. If all the cooking tires you, just remember that this is a very thick pancake, and you don't want to serve up a meal that is raw inside. Even though it won't look like anything is really changing, be patient, and wait it out for this meal.
Finally, after the last cook, plate your okonomiyaki!
Spread the top with okonomiyaki sauce, and then drizle mayo over in thin strips.
Using a toothpick, drag the tip through to create cool patterns in your topping. I think my mayo wasn't warm enough to melt into the sauce, which made it hard to drag, so the lines didn't come out perfectly. At this point, though, I was practically savage with hunger, so I gave up a good looking meal to prioritize eating...and cooking the next 5 okonomiyaki for my friends who were over for dinner. If this is important to you, though, and you mess up, just scrape, very carefully, the sauce up and away, pour more out, and try again. I promise, though, it'll taste great no matter what.
And now it's done!
I really hope you can give this dish a try. Okonomiyaki is really good, and the sauce that goes on top is killer. If you stink at cooking, this is the sauce that will save your dish. If you're great at cooking, this sauce will elevate it to new heights. The only problem is getting your hands on it- I would suggest visiting an Asian supermarket. This is, incidentally, also where I got my Kewpie Japanese mayo, which is a bit sweeter and thinner than American mayo. If you don't want to buy the special mayo, just spoon some regular mayo into a plastic baggie, snip the tip, and drizzle mayo to your heart's content. Most notably, enjoy as much as you possibly can, because this stuff is delicious. Better yet, with all the extra cabbage, you could eat this for days.
I hope you enjoyed this post! To check out more anime food recipes, visit my blog for more anime and manga themed food. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I recently got a twitter, so you can follow me at @yumpenguinsnack if you would like, and DEFINITELY feel free to send me food requests! My tumblr is yumpenguinsnacks.tumblr.com. Enjoy the food, and if you decide to recreate this dish, show me pics! :D