find eggs used in many ways in Japanese food, from the savory
egg based okonomiyaki "pancakes" to the delicate
chawan-mushi "egg custard". Egg dishes are
eaten for dinner as well as breakfast and eggs are found
in eveything from soups to stews, even pickled in miso!
literally means "cook what you like," and so there is no
set recipe for these egg based pancakes. You can choose
whatever ingredients you prefer or even use left overs with
which to make okonomiyaki. The pancakes are tasty, filling,
simple to make as well as being inexpensive, so they're
particularly popular with people on a tight budget. Feel
free to alter the following recipe to include ingredients
that you enjoy. I suggest trying shrimp, squid, natto, noodles,
seaweeds, remember... cook what you like!
1 1/2 tablespoon of flour (I like using whole wheat,
but white flour works just as well)
1 pinch of baking powder
3 tablespoons dashi
for preparation method)
1 tablespoon white miso
1 small handful of fresh bean sprouts
2 leaves of fresh cabbage (chopped fine)
2 shiitake mushrooms (stemmed and chopped fine)
4 snow peas (chopped fine)
1/2 small carrot (chopped or grated fine)
the eggs into a bowl, add the dashi and miso, beat well.
Add the flour and baking powder, beat well to blend all
a small frying pan, add a little bit of vegetable oil and
fry the thicker vegetables first (cabbage, carrots, etc.).
When these vegetables are limp and translucent add the more
delicate vegetables (bean sprouts, etc.) and continue frying.
the egg mixture over the frying vegetables and place a cover
on the pan. Turn down the heat to low and allow to cook
for two or three minutes. When the surface of the "omelet"
has set, use a spatula to carefully flip the pancake over.
Fry for another minute of so until cooked and then serve!
delicious, silky custard can be served as a side dish with
grilled and deep fried foods, or as a main dish all by itself.
The secret to making this dish is in allowing it to steam
until the egg just barely sets, giving the custard a silky,
2 cups dashi (see
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 tsp sake
1 1/4 tablespoon mirin
3 onces of fresh spinach leaves (parboiled)
4 small uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 shiitake mushrooms (stemmed and quartered)
8 snow peas (parboiled)
the eggs into a bowl, add the dashi, salt, shoyu, and mirin,
beat well. Allow the mixture to stand for a few minutes
and then strain through a fine strainer (the objective here
is to remove all air bubbles and lumps from the egg mixture).
In 4 individual heat proof custard cups with lids (or heat
resistant coffee cups with saucers or foil for lids), place
a shrimp, some snow peas and a shiitake mushroom.
the egg mixture into each cup until two-thirds full and
cover with the lid. Place the cups in a preheated steamer
and steam over high heat. When the surface of the custard
turns white (about three minutes), reduce the heat to low
and steam for an additional 15 minutes.
you are able to stick a bamboo skewer into the custard and
have the liquid flowing from the puncture run clear, the
custard is ready to eat! The custard surface should be moist
and slick, not cracked and parched). Carefully remove the
hot cups from the steamer and serve.
Japanese make beautiful ceramic cups with lids especially
for steaming this type of custard, if possible pick up a
set from a local merchant or Asian food store. Also, chawan-mushi
is excellent when served chilled as a summer dish!
Japanese make special rectangular shaped pans called tamago
yaki nabe that are used for skillet frying omelets.
These are wonderful pans to own and if you're an omelet
lover who wants to do things the Japanese way I highly recommend
getting such a pan. If you're unable to find a Japanese
skillet, a regular Western style frying pan will also work.
1/4 cups dashi (see
for preparation method)
1/2 tablespoon shoyu
1/2 tablespoon mirin
1 sheet of nori, cut into strips
the eggs into a bowl, add the dashi, shoyu, mirin, and beat
well. Heat the square skillet or Western style frying pan
and add a little vegetable oil using a swab of paper towel
(the pan is ready when a test drop of egg sizzles). Pour
in 1/3 of the egg mixture, tilting and rotating the pan
so that the egg spreads across the pan's bottom in an even
When the surface of the egg sets and it's dry around the
edges, use a pair of chopsticks (or a spatula), to roll
up the omelet to one side of the square pan. Wipe in some
more vegetable oil on the empty part of the pan. Add another
1/3 of the egg mixture and tilt to cover the surface of
the pan. Add the strips of nori. When the surface of the
egg sets use the chopsticks to once again roll up the omelet...
this time rolling the already cooked egg pushed to one side
of the pan over the newly cooked egg. Cook the omelet for
just a few more moments and then remove from the fire and
allow to cool.
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