Japanese Cooking Blog with Asako Nonaka #10
Asako Nonaka ◆ September 7, 2015
This summer was incredibly hot! Until just a few days ago it felt like I was in a sauna but now I feel the cool autumn air.
In the old calendar, 24 Sekki, it has already been autumn. According to the old calendar, the period from September 8th to 22nd is called Hakuro（白露, which literally means “white dewdrop”. It expresses the morning dewdrops on leaves made from the cool night air. Actually I have felt chilly fresh air on recent mornings and I can’t do without my blanket.
September 9th is the Chrysanthemum Festival called Choyo-no-sekku（重陽の節句. People have sake infused chrysanthemum and rice cooked with chestnuts. They celebrate the autumn harvest and eat them to drive away the evil spirits and pray for longevity.
The popular phrase to express this season is “Autumn Appetite”. When the hot summer has past, we recover from the summer fatigue and regain our appetite. Many seasonal delicacies are cropped in autumn; chestnuts, taro, matsutake, pear, and persimmon.
I want to suggest letting picky eaters try new vegetables in the autumn. Many children don’t like vegetables and my 4-year-old son is the same way. But, the vegetables contain important vitamins to develop a child’s body and prevent disease so of course, mothers want their children to eat them. For kids it is hard to eat vegetables as they are but if their appearance is changed and they are eaten with delicious sauces, it makes it easier to eat.
Recipe: Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancakes)
This time, I am going to introduce how to cook easy and healthy okonomiyaki or “Japanese pancakes” for picky eaters! From this dish, you can eat 3 vegetables; cabbage, carrots and yams. How to cook it is a little different from the authentic okonomiyaki but this way is easier to make and eat.
[one_half]a half cabbage
1 Japanese yam
1/2 lb of pork
1 – 2 eggs
1 cup of okonomiyaki flour (or, all-purpose flour)[/one_half][one_half_last]1 teabag of dashi powder (to your liking)
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup of water
dried bonito shavings
green laver (aonori)[/one_half_last]
- Grate the carrot. Fry it with the pork.
- Grate the Japanese yam.
- Chop the cabbage roughly and add the grated Japanese yam and the egg and mix.
- Add the okonomikyaki flour, the powder of the dashi teabag and water and mix. Adjust the amount of water to your liking.
- Add the mixture of the fried pork and carrot and mix well.
- Fry on both sides on an electric griddle or a pan.
- Add thick and sweet okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito shavings and green laver.
You can enjoy the process to make okonomiyaki with children because they like to mix, cook, and paint. They are confident to cook by themselves and seeing the process increases their appetite. Drawing a smiley face with the sauce and seeing the bonito flakes dancing on the hot okonomiyaki is lots of fun. And, you can put the leftovers in the next day’s bento box.
Please feel free to try it and have fun in the autumn season!