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A West Coast spin on a Japanese Classic! Smoked salmon and pickled chanterelle mushrooms add a distinctively Pacific North West feel to this savoury Japanese pancake.
Pickled Chanterelles – These are easy to make on your own! Visit Diversivore.com for an easy recipe and how-to. If you’d rather, feel free to substitute! Substitution options include other pickled mushrooms, beni shoga (red ginger), and even kimchi. These will of course change the character of the okonomiyaki, but they all share similar sour, salty, and textural characteristics.
Dashi – This savoury stock is made with kombu (kelp) and other dried ingredients. Making your own dashi from scratch is quite simple, but you can also purchase dashi powders and sachets (akin to tea bags) from Japanese stores. If you can’t make dashi, you can substitute 1/4 cup of vegetable stock plus 1 cup of water in this recipe.
Cabbage – The actual amount of cabbage you’ll need can be a bit tricky to characterize. There should be quite a lot of cabbage in okonomiyaki, but exactly how much can vary with personal tastes. I like to use a large but loose handful with each pancake. Also note that the cabbage can be directly stirred into the batter if you prefer. This is easier, though it doesn’t allow you to brown the cabbage against the griddle in the same way.
Thickness – Okonomiyaki should be made to be fairly thick when cooked (around 1 inch/2.5 cm), with cabbage contributing significantly to this thickness. You can go thicker too, but it can make cooking the pancake through a bit more complicated.
Toppings – Okonomiyaki can be topped with a wide variety of ingredients, but okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayo are virtually essential! Feel free to mix and match the remaining ingredients to your tastes – ao-nori (seaweed) and a little extra smoked salmon are great options. All toppings (with the possible exception of smoked salmon) can be found easily at Japanese grocery stores. Okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayo are often found at well-stocked Western grocery stores as well.
Vegetarian Variation(s) – Any number of okonomiyaki variations are possible, but for a vegetarian variation with a PNW characteristic, try subbing in 150-200 grams of diced and butter-sautéed lobster mushrooms. Note also that many store-bought dashi mixes are made using some fish! Scratch-made dashi can be made with or without fish.