Hi I’m Emi and I’m a recovering ice cream-aholic. Kev and I have been on a serious late night ice cream streak lately, although delightfully delicious it’s probably not good for the hips. Thankfully our friend started having evening boot camps sessions, so it’s lessen our ice cream binge sessions on the couch… but I couldn’t help but make these mini ice cream dorayaki (どら焼き). Pancake (check), anko (check), ice cream (check, check and triple check). YUM-O! What makes this little Japanese treats even better is that the pancakes are made of a castella type batter. Castella is a sponge cake, which has been my FAVOURITE snack for as long as I can remember. This is why the pancakes are so good just by themselves!
If you were to ask me what my favourite winter dish was growing up, I would definitely say nikujaga (肉じゃが). Nikujaga (meat and potatoes in Japanese) is a homey dish made of simmered potatoes, onion, shirataki, and surprisingly just a bit of meat for flavour. Just like most Japanese simmered dishes (nimono 煮物) the ingredients are simmered in a sweetened broth flavoured with dashi, sake, and soy sauce. The taste of nikujaga varies from household to household, but the flavours are never forgotten by those who grew up with their mom’s cooking. Typically as people get older, they reminisce about their mother’s cooking, which is why dishes like this are considered ofukuro no aji (おふくろの味) meaning the taste of mother’s home cooking. I personally do this all the time, I tell Kevin about all the amazing food my mom would make, he usually responds with “You talk about all this delicious food, yet you never make me any of it” (insert sad puppy face). Hey what can I say, sometimes I get hung up with our weekly meal prep and I forget to fit in yummy dishes like this.
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a savoury Japanese pancake that is an instant favourite with anyone who eats it. It consists mainly of batter, lots and lots of shredded cabbage, and a multitude of additional ingredients which suits its name perfectly – “grilled as you like it”. Depending on the region in Japan, ingredients can range from shrimp, squid, octopus, oyster, pork belly, mentaiko, nagaimo, bean sprouts, mochi, konnyaku, tenkasu, noodles, cheese, and the list goes on. You’ve may have also heard it being referred to as Japanese pizza or Japanese pancake. It’s definitely not a pizza, but maybe in the sense that you can add a variety of toppings to your liking.