Cook, Eat, Repeat: Revisiting Japan through Food- Okonomiyaki

When I went to an okonomiyaki restaurant for the first time with a friend of mine, Imroz, it was an interesting experience for sure. It had been a very tiring week where my days at the school began at 7.45 in the morning and I would come home after 8 in the evening. It was a Friday and we were heading into a long weekend and I was able to come home by 6.30. Imroz’s apartment was one stop on the subway and we decided to meet for dinner along with Rika, who I later went to become great friends with! It’s strange how one remembers such details even from years ago while things from yesterday often slip from our minds. The restaurant was a modest one as many Japanese places tend to be and every table had the teppan (metal plate/hot plate) and we were given the option of cooking the okonomiyaki ourselves. Rika was a native and Imroz had been in Japan for a long time and much more attuned to things that often took me by surprise! How was I supposed to cook okonomiyaki? And why would I have to cook it myself when I have come to a restaurant to precisely not wanting to have anything to do with cooking! Little did I know at that time that it was/could be also a part of eating okonomiyaki🙂

Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake where other than flour and eggs, cabbage is the primary ingredient. Dashi (fish stock), eggs, other vegetables, meat are added and a cooked okonomiyaki is usually topped with bonito flakes (shredded dried tuna..like flakes of dried tuna), seaweed, pickled ginger, Japanese mayonnaise. We opted to cook it (and by we I mean Rika and Imroz) and it was fun though a bit scary at first. To begin with, I found sitting at the table a little uncomfortable as one would have to be very cautious with the hands with the hot teppan right in front! But you get used to it soon, to be honest. That was the scary part. But the cooking part was fun and a bit messy but when you are with good friends, making memories you could care less:) And they made delicious okonomiyaki-s and I have been a fan ever since. It did get a bit warm at the table with all the cooking being done but we had some very cold iced tea to help with that and it was a wonderful dinner that we finished off with some matcha ice cream.

The good man has come to love Japanese food and it makes me very happy! And he has taken it a step further by cooking it from time to time and when he made okonomiyaki for the first time, I was on top of the moon:) The recipe he followed was from here and it was oishi, hontoni! (delicious, really). It is not very involved, this recipe, and tastes great. You could surely give this a try and you won’t be disappointed.

 

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Do you have stories that involve your adventures with Japanese food? Have you ever tried okonomiyaki? Did you have it in Japan in an okonomiyaki restaurant? Did you have it in the Kansai area, like Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto or in the Hiroshima area? Those of you who did have it in Japan , how was your experience? Did you get to make one for yourself or was one made for you? How has your experience with Japanese food been where you live? Are you someone who is open to all kinds of food or is there something that you would never even try?

Please share your stories, experiences, photos, recipes, links to recipes you have tried, bloggers who you follow for making special dishes…anything that you wish to! It is always exciting to read about our collective experiences and find out ways in which we are more connected and what makes us unique!

 

Here’s how to participate:

  • Create your own post with your recipe, photos, story anything that you might want to share, representing this month’s theme
  • Create a pingback (link to this post) or leave a link in the comment section
  • Join whenever you can!

 

 

Thank you for stopping by!

 

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Coffee Conversations

This week Sandy invites us for ‘coffee conversations’ and while I would ideally really like to have coffee with quite a few of you wonderful people, I have come to know a bit about through here, for now those wishes have to be put on hold. And maybe someday, somewhere we would share a drink or two…who knows. Am I a tea person or is coffee my preferred drink is something even I can’t answer with certainty. And so you may see me answering different things…but please believe that it’s a  conflict I often deal with within my tea-coffee loving brain! However,  plain black tea (and sometimes that cha I fondly remember from the bygone days) and plain black coffee are almost equally loved and always my go to version from among all the many available variations!

Now, I am someone who rarely takes photos of food when  eating out or in, but a bit of that has changed since Cook, Eat, Repeat. But taking photos of food while at a restaurant- I am still a little uncomfortable with that. However, I do have these 4 ( one was taken Sunday afternoon!) that can be shared for this week’s prompt… yayyy!

 

Taken at one of our favorite brunch places, The Turning Point in Princeton,NJ. It was also one of those handful of times when the good man and I both indulged in something other than the good old black coffee! I guess that’s why the photo;)

 

 

 

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We welcomed our darling baby girl in Nov 2018 and it was beautiful but obviously exhausting. We were saved by the love and care that my parents showered on us, while putting their lives on hold so we could feel better, eat better and sleep better and be there for the kids. And one such day, they encouraged us to go take a little break and so we did! We went on our first ‘coffee date’ after a very long time and though it was very brief and we worried for the little one for the duration of the date, it was still wonderful:)

 

 

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It was a gorgeous sunny day on Sunday;) We went out for lunch to one of our favorite places. And a bad cold made me order coffee, instead of something deliciously cold, that I was happy to take a photo of! And while our ‘conversations’ were mostly about how much fun the baby girl was having dropping things on the floor and how her big brother had started liking different kinds of food, it was still wonderful to be able to go out as a family and enjoy a meal together. We have been going to this particular place for the last nine years and while a lot has changed since, the food here has always been comforting!

 

Thanks for stopping by!